Femi Falana, Human Rights Activist, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of promoting corruption in the country.
Mr Falana who stated this at a public function organised to mark the 2019 World Press Freedom Day at the weekend also accused Mr Buhari of turning the country into a banana republic.
Tackling corruption is one of the major promises the president vowed to fight, but the war on anti-graft has been said to be selective, mainly targeted at opposition politicians and those who do not agree to the tenets of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
The activist also cited prevailing cases of banditry, insurgency and violence that has beclouded the country.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) accused Mr Buhari of substituting the rule of law for “the rule of the rulers,” thereby asking the Nigerian masses “to take their destiny in their own hands.”
“It thus seems that politicians and associates of those close to the seat of power in Abuja are protected, despite strong evidence of corruption and money laundering against them. Such abuse of the rule of law is subversive of law and order in a democratic society,” the activist was quoted by Thisday Newspaper to have said.
“Given these types of examples on the part of the leadership and the poor working conditions of most government workers, it is not surprising that civil servants across the ranks have turned to petty corruption, often simply to survive.
“The net impact of this systemic corruption is a serious erosion of the rule of law, by a government that is supposedly committed to good governance, transparency, accountability and anti-corruption,” he added.
He said the regime of the president under the military was far more better than what is obtainable now that he has been democratically elected.
“Buhari has refused to release or grant bail to several detained persons in complete defiance of court orders,” Falana said.
“Since the federal government claims to operate under the rule of law, it should be compelled to comply with section 287 of the Constitution which has imposed a duty on all authorities and persons to enforce the decisions of all courts of competent jurisdiction in Nigeria.
“It is so worrisome that provisions of the 1999 Constitution are conveniently sacrificed for political expediency or self aggrandisement of highly placed public officers. In the process, Nigeria is reduced to a banana republic where the rule of law is substituted for the rule of the rulers,” he added.
Among those detained despite court orders demanding their release are: Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (NSA); Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, an Islamic cleric whose members clashed with the Nigerian Army; among others.
Buhari had earlier said their release could endanger the country, saying national security should take precedence over the rule of law.