LEGAL NUGGETS (46): Powers of the National Security Adviser And How It Must Be Exercised.By Adedotun Habeeb Adetunji LL.M (M.IoD), FCAI.


ISSUE: PUBLIC POWER-Powers of the National Security Adviser and how it must be exercised

"It is of common and general knowledge in Nigeria, of which this Court can take judicial notice thereof, that there has been an alarming increase in the use of IEDs - Improvised Explosive Devises - in Nigeria by insurgents and militants, particularly in the North East, leading not only to threat to national security but also to needless loss of lives and property of the citizens on account of terrorism and militancy and thus the powers of the National Security Adviser, particularly in the light of the increased use of IED by the insurgents, appear to be and is indeed enormous in issues of national security though the use of such enormous powers by the NSA, I must state must be within the confines of the rule of law. However in such times of increased insurgencies or militancy and the resultant threats to public peace, lives and property, it appears, but regrettably so in my view, that the rights of the individual takes the back seat in preference for the public good! See Asari Dokubo V. FRN (2009) Vol. 37 NSCQLR 1146 @ P. 1184. See also Chief of Defence Staff & Anor. V. Modu Alhaji Tijah (Makama) (2016) LPELR-40818 (CA).
My Lords, because in the exercise of his enormous powers the National Security Adviser, as I have stated earlier in this judgment, must do so within the confines and dictates of the rule of law, thus notwithstanding the enormous powers of the National Security Adviser and the undeniable fact that National Security is of utmost importance to both the Government and the Citizens, for without it there can be no safety of lives and properties of the Citizens, yet the Court would not remain silent where there is proved brazen breach of the right of the citizen not even in time of war or insurgency or militancy, for indeed amidst the resultant clash of arms, they said and quite aptly too, the Court will not be silent. See Attorney General V. De Keyser's Royal Hotel (1920) AC 508 per the House of Lords. See also Margaret Stitch V. AG. Federation & Ors. (1996) 5 NWLR (Pt. 46) 1007 @ P. 1026 per Aniagolu, JSC." Per GEORGEWILL, JCA.(Pp.82-84,Paras.E-D).

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