President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he decided not to hand over power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo when he travelled to the United Kingdom on a private visit from April 25 to May 5, 2019 because there was no constitutional requirement for him to do so.
The President further stated that the only time he needs to hand over to Osinbajo is when he is proceeding on leave or going to be out of the country for more than 21 days.
Buhari said this in a six-paragraph counter-affidavit deposed to on his behalf by one Mr. Friday Atu, a litigation officer in the Civil Litigation Department of the Federal Ministry of Justice.
The PUNCH had reported that a Lagos-based lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, had sued Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation over the President’s failure to hand over power to Osinbajo in April. The case, with suit number FHC/L/CS/763/2019, was filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Effiong asked the court to determine whether in view of the extant provisions of Section 145 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Buhari can validly proceed on vacation for any length of time without transmitting a written declaration to the National Assembly to that effect, which will empower the Vice President to perform the functions of the President in an acting capacity.
The lawyer asked the court to determine whether Buhari’s action in proceeding on vacation to the UK from the April 25, 2019 to May 5, 2019 without transmitting the written declaration envisaged in Section 145 (1) of the constitution to National Assembly is not in conflict with the provisions of Section 145 (1) of the constitution.
In his response, however, Buhari stated that the Nigerian Constitution does not make it mandatory for him to transmit a written declaration to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to enable the Vice President to act as President except when his vacation exceeds 21 days. The affidavit read in part, “It is a fact that the 1999 Constitution (as amended) regulates the performance of the duties of the President of the federal Republic of Nigeria in situations where the President is proceeding on vacation or is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of office.
“That it is a fact that where the President embarks on a vacation or otherwise is unable to discharge the functions of his office and fails to transmit a written declaration to that effect, he will be considered not to have complied with the constitution (as amended).
“That the time within which the President has to transmit a written letter to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is 21 days.
“That the President’s foreign trip lasted for nine days from April 25, 2019 to May 5, 2019. The President did not exceed the 21-day period required by the constitution. It is in the interest of justice to dismiss the claims of the plaintiff.”
Buhari equally asked the court in a preliminary objection to strike out the suit because the lawyer lacks the locus standi to institute the case. The case is before Justice A. O. Faji of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos and has been fixed for Monday, October 7, 2019 for hearing.
The PUNCH reports that in the past, Buhari had been known to hand over power to his deputy anytime he was travelling out of the country for unofficial engagements. For instance, when the President travelled to London on a working leave on August 3, 2018 and returned on the 18th, spending a total of 16 days, he handed over to Osinbajo.
It was while Osinbajo was acting President during the same period that he sacked the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura, a move that was said to have been vehemently opposed by those close to the President. Incidentally, since Daura’s sacking over a year ago, the President has not transferred power to Osinbajo
Ex-Senate President, Saraki Smiles Again
Senate President of the 8th Assembly, Senator Olubukola Abubakar Saraki, might currently be facing quite a turbulent time. First, it was losing his bid to return to the red chambers during the just concluded general election. Last week, the court declared interim forfeiture of his highbrow properties in Ilorin, alleging it was built with public funds when he was Governor of Kwara.
While the former Governor of Kwara state was still nurturing the verdict of the court injunction on his Ilorin property interim forfeiture, his creator gave him and his household a big reason to smile again.
He was blessed with a gift laced with a title money cannot buy. His eldest daughter, Olutosin Halima Saraki married to Adeniyi Olatunde Olukoya, delivered a bouncing baby girl, penutimate Friday, at a highbrow hospital located in the United Kingdom making him a proud first time grand father.
Society Rendezvous gathered that Dr Bukola and his wife Toyin, immediately jetted down to the UK the next day to see their grand child and also give moral support to the nursing mother. The name of the child is yet to be disclosed as mother and daughter, we gathered are doing good.
Sowore vs DSS: Atiku Blasts Buhari Government
Former Vice President and the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic party(PDP) in 2019 general election, Atiku Abubakar, has lambasted the President Muhammadu Buhari government over the treatment of Omoyele Sowore in court on Friday.
In a statement he signed, Atiku, who called for probe, said he was in extreme anguish of spirit having watched the unfortunate drama that played itself out at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
He lamented how Department of State Services (DSS) agents caused a commotion in court in order to frustrate a judgment of a court of competent authority.
He said: “Never in the history of Nigerian democracy has a judge been treated in such a disdainful and brazen attack on not just her person and office, but on the entire judiciary. This is unacceptable. It is a rape on the sanctity of the court.
“Nigeria is not a dictatorship. We are a democracy, no matter how inconvenient this fact is to the powers that have forced themselves on us.
“I call for an immediate inquiry to be set up to identify those responsible for the maltreatment meted out to Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu and the desecration of her court, and indeed the Nigerian judiciary. They must be sanctioned to the highest extent permissible by our laws.
“I further call for all law enforcement agencies in Nigeria to immediately respect not just the court order made by Justice Ojukwu, but the order of any court in Nigeria, on any detainee, be it Omoyele Sowore, Sambo Dasuki or Ibrahim Zakzaky, among others.
“We cannot have a situation where our government is quick to obey foreign court orders and even quicker to disobey domestic court orders. This is symptomatic of a mindset that is servile to foreign powers and brutal to Nigerians.”
Hadiza Usman Petitions IG, DSS Over Attack At NASS
Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; the Department of State Services (DSS) and others over an attack on her at the National Assembly.
Usman was attacked on December 3 by people suspected to be linked to the chairman of Ocean Maritime Solutions Limited (OMSL), Idahosa Okunbo.
In a petition addressed to the IGP, the Senate President, and DSS Director-General, Usman explained that she was at the Senate on the said date to honour the invitation of the Joint Committee on Navy, Marine Transport and Finance to its public hearing on the Safe Anchorage Area of the Lagos Ports.
Usman’s visit to the Senate followed a motion on “illegal security activities by OMSL at the Safe Anchorage Area of Lagos Ports and the need to investigate their excesses” moved by Senator George Sekibo during plenary on November 7.
She explained that the committee had invited other parties, which included the Nigerian Navy and the OMSL.
“In the course of the session, Captain (Dr) Idahosa Wells Okunbo of OMSL, having made his submission, stormed out visibly angry breathing fire and brimstone. Following Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo outburst and abrupt exit, the Chairman of the Joint Committee closed the session,” she said in the petition.
Writing further, Usman said: “On leaving the meeting room some hoodlums that accompanied Captain Okunbo to the hearing ambushed me at the exit door and tried to push their way towards me to physically attack me, raining abuses on me that I was taking food away from them and their boss, and that they will find me and destroy me.”
The NPA boss explained that it took the efforts of her security detail and the Executive Director, Marine and Operations of NPA, Dr Sekonte Davies, and security personnel deployed from the office of the Deputy Senate President for her and her entourage to leave the premises unhurt.
While calling for the full investigation of the incident with the intent of bringing the culprits to face the full wrath of the law, Usman said she takes the direct threats to her life issued by these hoodlums seriously.
She added that Okunbo should be held responsible if any harm should befall her or any member of her family.
Usman described the action of the hoodlums as the height of impunity and disrespect.
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