The federal government has explain why it believes the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, would not be released despite being granted bail.
The attorney general, Abubakar Malami, accused Dasuki of being responsible for more than 100, 000 deaths.
He said Mr Dasuki’s personal right can be violated for the larger public good.
Malami’s comments came after a federal court recently granted Mr Dasuki bail, the latest of such orders.
The former NSA was arrested by operatives of the State Security Service in December 2015, accused of illegal possession of firearms. He was also accused of diverting $2.1 billion meant for the purchase of arms to fight the Boko Haram extremist in the northeast.
Since 2015, Dasuki has been granted bail multiple times by different courts. The latest bail was approved on July 2.
But the Nigerian government has refused to release him.
Speaking in an interview with the Voice of America, Hausa, Attorney General Abubakar Malami claimed allegations against Dasuk are a matter of public interest overriding an individual’s rights.
“What I want you to know is that issues concerning law and order under Muhammadu Buhari are sacrosanct and obeying court order is compulsory,” he said.
“However you should also know that there is a general consensus world over that where the dispute is only between individuals, then you can consider the issue based on the instant situation. But if the dispute is about an issue that affects an entire nation, then you have to remember that government is about the people not for only an individual.
“So you have to look at it from this perspective. If the issue about an individual coincides with that which affects the people of a nation and you are now saying the government did not obey a court order that infringes on a single person’s rights. Remember we are talking about a person who was instrumental to the deaths of over one hundred thousand people. Are you saying that the rights of one person is more important than that of 100,000 who lost their lives?
“Reports have shown that there was massive mismanagement of funds meant for military hardware which the military could not access and that led to the death of many, embezzlement of the fund and because of that many people have lost their lives. Obeying the court is not the issue per say. Are we going to take the issue of an individual more important than that of the people? The government’s main responsibility is for and about the people. The essence of governance is to better the lives of its people. So you have to weigh it based on that; the rights of an individual or the rights of the people.”
Mr Malami however said the government may decide to appeal the court order if it feels compelled to do so.