By Amin Kef Sesay
It can be recalled that in his bid to put the country back on a firm law and order footing, His Excellency President Bio on assumption of office in April 2018 vowed to wage war against corruption, lawlessness and indiscipline.
Whilst considerable headway has been made in the fight against corruption with the ACC, the Auditor General, Ministry of Finance, NRA, NPPA with the full support of Parliament leading the crusade; on the other hand, given the daily reports of lawlessness, indiscipline and violence here and there across the country, many people are of the opinion that the President and the security forces seem to be losing this particular war; especially when quite recently in anger, frustration and disgust the President dared to point fingers at the main opposition APC as terrorists fomenting trouble, lawlessness, violence and anarchy for the State and its people.
It brings us to the point where we want to ask several questions relating to obeying the law; starting with: Why should people obey the law?
Firstly, law is rule made by local or national Government. In democratic societies, Governments and those in power are subject to the law of the land. Power changes hands democratically according to the rules of the country’s constitution, not as the result of force or war.
Thus, people have a general duty to obey the law because it is democratically decided. As such, we have a legal duty to obey the obligations put upon us by the law. We also have a moral responsibility based on what we know is right and wrong.
The next question is why is it important to obey the laws of the land? Obeying the law sets a societal standard that if laws are made, citizens and Government will generally respect them. If nobody obeys the law, then they are meaningless and it results in lawlessness.
Why are we obligated to obey laws?
To disobey the law would be to mistreat or disrespect our fellow citizens. So a general obligation to obey the law is grounded in the principle of fair play – doing your part to sustain a community you benefit from by others doing theirs.
Should we obey unjust laws?
The general idea in favor of a moral obligation to obey the law is that in most cases we should assume that because law is generally good, we should follow individual laws unless they are particularly unjust or there are special moral circumstances for breaching it.
As such, citizens are justified in disobeying the law if and only if their disobedience to the law is supported by reasons which outweigh, all things considered, the reasons in favor of obedience to the law in question.
What does it mean to obey the laws of the land?
Bible instructs followers to obey the Government. Romans 13:1-2 says: “Obey the Government, for God is the One who has put it there. There is no Government anywhere that God has not placed in power. So those who refuse to obey the law of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow.
Why do we obey?
In everyday situations, people obey orders because they want to get rewards, because they want to avoid the negative consequences of disobeying, and because they believe an authority is legitimate.
Is civil disobedience a felony?
Civil disobedience occasionally occurs as an effect and while protest is legal, disobedience isn’t legal. Breaking the law is definitely a crime, no matter whether a person breaks it deliberately or unintentionally. It’s important to keep this in mind in case you decide to protest a law.