Activist-lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has backed the former Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd) on his call for Nigerians to defend themselves against killers.
Falana said the Constitution recognises the right to protect one’s self from violent attack.
He stated these at a training programme on libel organised by the Vintage Press Limited (publishers of The Nation Newspapers) for its reporters.
Falana was received by Vintage Press Managing Director, Victor Ifijeh; Chairman of the Newspaper’s Editorial Board, Sam Omatseye; General Manager Training and Development, Soji Omotunde and Managing, Editor Online and Special Publications, Lekan Otunfodurin, among others.
The lawyer, who noted that the media has been awash with suggestions that Danjuma’s comments are call to anarchy, said the retired army officer could sue critics of his statement for libel.
He said: “Some of the reactions on Danjuma’s statement could be libelous. What Danjuma said is accommodated under our Constitution.”
Falana observed 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 added: “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.”