By Ajibola Abayomi,
March 28, 2018.
Renowned human rights advocate and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has thrown his support behind the former minister of defence, Lt Gen Theophilus Danjuma (retd), in respect to the latter’s call for Nigerians to defend themselves against killers.
The senior advocate stated that the former minister could sue critics of his statement for libel; as he pointed out that the comments were accommodated under the Constitution.
Citing various examples, Falana stressed that Nigerians have a right to defend themselves, if the government was unable to do so.
Falana made his position known at a training programme organized for reporters of the publication of The Nation newspapers.
He stated that the right to protect one’s self from violent attack was recognized by the Constitution.
The lawyer stated that Danjuma could sue critics of his statement for libel, as he noted that the media has been awash with suggestions that the former minister’s comments were call to anarchy.
He said: “Some of the reactions on Danjuma’s statement could be libelous. What Danjuma said is accommodated under our Constitution.” The senior advocate also noted that although Section 33(1) of the 1999 Constitution recognises the right to life, such right might be lawfully circumscribed in accordance with Section 33(2).
He continued: “Section 33(2) says a person shall not be regarded as having been deprived of his life if he dies as a result of the use, to such extent and in such circumstances as are permitted by law, of such force as is reasonably necessary – for the defence of any person from unlawful violence or for the defence of property.
“If the government is unable to save you as in the case of Benue, Kogi and Zamfara attacks, you have a right to defend and save yourself.
“So, if you insult Danjuma that he is inciting violence that could be a ground for him to sue you for libel.”
Gen Theophilus Danjuma (retd) was commended by Niger Delta activist, Annkio Briggs, over his call on Nigerians to rise and defend themselves.
The convener of the Niger Delta Self-Determination Movement (NDSDM) in a statement on Monday, March 26, said that Danjuma stood for equity, justice and truth by speaking against what she called ethnic and religious cleansing.