Daily Law Tips (Tip 717) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb(UK)

Obey the last command is a popular saying in military and other forces. This creates the air that a soldier has no choice or voice, rather a soldier must obey all commands. This is the premise for the popular song of Fela Anikulapo Kuti (Zombie in his 1976 Album), wherein he described soldiers as zombie (a will-less and speechless human. Well, does the “obey the last command” principle excuse a military or para-military officer from the punishments designed for a breach of law and human right? These and more are considered in this work.

Obeying the Last Command:
Military, para-military and other forces in Nigeria are all creations of law and they must obey laws. Greater than all forces, institutions, persons, governments and interests in Nigeria and outside Nigeria is the Constitution of Nigeria. Hence, every person and thing in Nigeria must obey the constitution of Nigeria.

The constitution of Nigeria of Nigeria contains the fundamental human rights of persons in Nigeria. As expected, the human rights of all persons in Nigeria must be obeyed by all persons (including, all forces in Nigeria) to avoid a violation the constitution of Nigeria. Aside the constitution of Nigeria, there are other laws in Nigeria that criminalizes certain actions and inactions of persons in Nigeria. Hence, all forces in Nigeria are also mandated to obey and respect such laws.

Obeying a command/order is not a permission to violate any law or to breach any human right. Breaking any law or violating any human right has its own punishment. Where there is torture in any security agency, the immediate commanding officer in-charge of the unit/department that committed such offence of torture will be held liable as an accessory to the crime, for any act or omission or negligence on his part that may have led to the commission of torture by his subordinates/colleagues. The punishment for torture is imprisonment for not more than 25 years and there is no option for fine.

Recommendation and Conclusion:
In obeying last commands in a force, the command must be lawful. Where a command or an order (whether written or verbal) is unlawful, no persons is expected to obey it. Any person that obeys an unlawful command has violated laws, must be prosecuted and punished. Also, the person that gave an unlawful order must be prosecuted too. Military, police and all other forces in Nigeria are not above any law in Nigeria. Report all unlawful commands. Soldiers and officers of other forces do not need to obey unlawful commands.

My authorities, are:
1. Sections 1, 2, 3, 33 to 46 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
2. Sections 2, 8 and 14 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017.
3. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndSarsNow: Punishment For Police (SARS) Torture” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 6 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endsarsnow-punishment-for-police-sars-torture/> accessed 18 January 2021.
4. Onyekachi Umah, “Being Present During Torture Without Participating In It, It Is A Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 25 November 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/being-present-during-torture-without-participating-in-it-is-a-crime-daily-law-tips-tip-464-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 18 January 2021.
5. Onyekachi Umah, “Command Officer of a Unit is Responsible for any Torture Committed by his Unit/Subordinates” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 24 November 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/a-commanding-officer-of-a-unit-is-responsible-for-any-torture-committed-by-his-unit-subordinates-daily-law-tips-tip-463-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 18 January 2021.
6. Onyekachi Umah, “Watching Torture But Not Participating In It, Is Torture” (LearnNigerianLaws.com,19 November 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/watching-torture-but-not-participating-in-it-is-torture-daily-law-tips-tip-460-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 18 January 2021.
7. Onyekachi Umah, “New Punishment For Security Officers Involved In Tortured In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 August 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/new-punishment-for-security-officers-involved-in-torture-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-401-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 18 January 2021.
8. Onyekachi Umah, “What Is The Punishment For Any Person Including Police Officers That Torture Another Person” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 18 December 2018) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/daily-law-tips-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-tip-251-what-is-the-punishment-for-any-person-including-police-officers-that-tortures-another-person/> accessed 18 January 2021.
9. Onyekachi Umah, “Flogging or Any Form of Torture Is Illegal, Even During COVID-19 Lockdown”(LearnNigerianLaws.com, 24 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/flogging-or-any-form-of-tortue-is-illegal-even-during-covid-19-lockdown-daily-law-tips-tip-555-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 18 January 2021.
10. Onyekachi Umah, “Blindfolding, Prolonged Interrogation, Denial Of Sleep, Solitary Confinement And Secret Detention Centers Are Illegal In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 22 August 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/blindfolding-prolonged-interrogation-denial-of-sleep-solitary-confinement-and-secret-detention-centers-are-illegal-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-397-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 18 January 2021.
11. Onyekachi Umah, “An Access To Criminal Laws In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 4 December 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/an-access-to-criminal-laws-in-nigeria/> accessed 18 January 2021.
12. Onyekachi Umah, “Can A Person With A Nigerian Flag Be Shot Or Killed?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 23 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/can-a-person-with-a-nigerian-flag-be-shot-or-killed/> accessed 18 January 2021.
13. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndPoliceBrutality: How To Sue the Nigeria Police Force and Police Officers” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 14 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endpolicebrutality-how-to-sue-the-nigeria-police-force-and-police-officers/> accessed 14 January 2021.
14. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndSarsNow: SARS Is Not A Creation of Law” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 12 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endsarsnow-sars-is-not-a-creation-of-law/> accessed 18 January 2021.
15. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndSarsNow: Nigeria Police Lacks Power To Punish.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 7 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endsarsnow-nigeria-police-lacks-power-to-punish/> accessed 18 January 2021.
16. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndSarsNow: Compensation For Police Brutality” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 5 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endsarsnow-compensation-for-police-brutality/> accessed 18 January 2021.
17. Onyekachi Umah, “Shooting Of Isolation Centers’ Escapees Is Unlawful And Punishable” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/shooting-of-isolation-centers-escapees-is-unlawful-and-punishable-daily-law-tips-tip-540-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 18 January 2021.
18. Onyekachi Umah, “Any Security Agency’s Manual/Protocol That Allows Torture Even For National Security Cases Is Unlawful And Its Officers Are Liable”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 11 September 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/any-security-agency-s-manual-protocol-that-allows-torture-even-for-national-security-cases-is-unlawful-and-its-officers-are-liable-daily-law-tips-tip-412-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 18 January 2021.
19. Onyekachi Umah, “What Is The Punishment For Any Person Including Police Officers That Tortures Another Person”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 18 December 2018)<https://learnnigerianlaws.com/daily-law-tips-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-tip-251-what-is-the-punishment-for-any-person-including-police-officers-that-tortures-another-person/> accessed 18 January 2021.
20. Onyekachi Umah, “Is Obeying “Orders From Above” A Defence For Torture In Nigeria”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com 7 September 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/is-obeying-orders-from-above-a-defence-for-torture-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-409-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 18 January 2021.

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