News Analysis

Disobedience To Court Orders

One of the most important powers of a court of law is to give orders, in fact, this power is strong to the extent that it regarded as the highest order in any country such that no president can upturn it except another court which is higher than the one that gives such order.

The court’s order is strengthened by a provision of the constitution that no pronouncement of court shall go in vain.

This is to ensure that the rule of law and proper dispensation of justice are established for a peaceful society.

Failure to obey the court order is called contempt of court.

Contempt of court, often referred simply to as “contempt”, is the offense of being disobedient to or disrespectful toward a court of law and its officers in the form of behavior that opposes or defies the authority, justice and dignity of the court.

In Nigeria, contempt is now becoming the norm as many individuals, government agencies and institutions have flagrantly flouted the authority of the nation’s court.

This attitude does not exempt government as any court order that does not suit their will is usually ignored and rejected.

Some government agencies, most especially security agents do not see court orders as anything serious making many of the court processes to be meaningless.

There have been instances where court ordered the release of a suspect, and such suspect was re-arrested immediately he got out of detention.

For instance, about ten percent of the petition written to the panel of inquiry on police brutality in Oyo state is on the failure of the police force to pay compensation ordered them to pay the complainants by court.

The worst part of this case is the involvement of lawyers who are supposed to uphold the integrity of the temple of justice but rather encourage and even instigate the contempt against justice  

No doubt, any nation where court judgments are not valued, anarchy will be the order of the day as the act tends to undermine the integrity and respect of the court.            

The rule of law means respecting the human rights of everyone, without the possibility of judicial protection and strict obedience to court orders, human right remain a fiction.   

To put an end to this situation, stakeholders must see disobedience to court of law as a serious cankerworm that could lead to total collapse of the judicial system.

Any political office holder who thinks he could use his power to suppress justice must be held responsible for his action after leaving office.

There should be a standing order to hold any lawyer whose client ignore court order responsible for the act .

Judges must uphold the sanctity of the bench by being upright, honest, transparent and uncompromising. a situation whereby courts judges bend laws for pecuniary gains from those ready to buy justice poses serious dent on the image of the judiciary.

 Sunday Ogunyemi

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