President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said his administration would always uphold the sanctity of the rule of law in governing the country. He said unity and harmony in every society could only be preserved by observing the rule of law.
This came even as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) condemned the president's earlier statement on the subject.
Buhari was quoted as saying this barely five days after he told a gathering of the NBA that the principle of rule of law must be subject to the supremacy of the nation's security and national interest. He also told the lawyers that where national security and public interest were being threatened, the individual rights of those allegedly responsible must take the second place.
A statement by Buhari's Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, quotes him as saying at a bilateral meeting with the visiting German Chancellor, Angel Merkel, at the Presidential Villa, Abujathat he would respect the rule of law and fully respect all agreements.
He also quoted Buhari as saying that Nigeria remained grateful to the German government for the fair treatment of migrants.
The president said Nigeria looked forward to improving its trade figures with Germany, which had taken a strong interest in investing in the country and supporting the government in providing effective services in security, education, and creation of jobs.
In her remarks at the meeting, Chancellor Merkel said Germany was prepared to further strengthen bilateral and business relations with Nigeria.
Chancellor Merkel said the three Memoranda of Understanding signed during the visit represented a starting point for a healthier and deeper partnership with Nigeria in areas of security, trade, immigration and education.
The federal government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Volkswagen of South Africa for the manufacture of Volkswagen vehicles in Nigeria, while the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Petkus Technologies GMBH for the supply of seed and grain processing machines.
The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the German African Business Association on fostering trade and investment.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has dissociated itself from the president's earlier statement. In a communiqué at the end of its weeklong conference yesterday, the NBA rejected and condemned the president's earlier position.
The communiquésigned by the outgoing president of the association, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN),restated that the rule of law is central to a democracy and any national security concern by the government must be managed within its perimeters and parameters.