Justice

 

A Federal High Court, Osogbo, Osun State on Wednesday ordered the National Assembly to urgently initiate an impeachment process against President Muhammadu Buhari.

The court presided over by Justice Maurine Adaobi Onyetenu gave the order following a suit a lawyer, Kanmi Ajibola, and a rights activist, Sulaiman Adeniyi, urging the court order the national legislature to remove the president.

The two Nigerians had in April written to the two chambers of the National Assembly to consider an impeachment of Mr. Buhari over alleged breaches of the constitution.

However, when their request was turned down, the duo approached the Osogbo Division of the Federal High Court on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 and sought an order mandamus to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president.

The petitioners provided four grounds on why Mr. Buhari should be removed as president of Nigeria.

Going through a motion ex-parte, the petitioners insisted that the president contested and won the 2015 general election in violation of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

They claimed Mr. Buhari did not have the basic qualification prescribed by the law to contest the said election.

They further alleged that the 4th respondent, Mr. Buhari violated Section 137 (1) (j) of the 1999 Constitution by presenting a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the purpose contesting the 2015 presidential election.

They argued Mr. Buhari’s continued stay as the president of Nigeria without the requisite certificate as prescribed by the law is illegal.

The petitioners also accused the president of violating the orders of the court with and ultimately the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, particularly from the angle of the observance of the Federal character as contained in Section 14 of the Constitution.

A part of the motion reads, “The 4th Respondent on the 29th day of May 2015, took an oath of office, among others, to the effect that, he would rule in accordance to and protect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, particularly section 14 (2) (b) which stipulates that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.

“In the contrary, the 4th Respondent has proved to be unable to guarantee the security of lives and properties of the citizens of the federal Republic of Nigeria in fulfillment of his oath of Office.

“The herdsmen killings of the innocent citizens under the 4th Respondent have been uncountable, unbearable and unprecedented overheating figures in the globe.

“The 4th Respondent in contravention of the due process and sections 80 and 81 of the 1999 constitution spent about $496 Million on the purchase of Tucano Jets without the approval of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as required by the law.

“The 4th Respondent ordered to be withdrawn, money from the public fund of the Federation without the approval of the National Assembly or the authorization of its act and same used for the purchase of Tucano Jets.

“The 4th Respondent has committed several impeachable offences, that is, gross misconduct.

“By the provision of section 143 of the 1999 constitution, the 1st to 3rd Respondents (The Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly) have the statutory duty to impeach the 4th Respondent as the president and Commander in – Chief of Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on gross misconduct.

“The 1st to 3rd Respondents have closed their eyes to the gross misconduct of the 4th Respondent.”

On whether they have the locus to initiate the action, the duo argued they have the right under the law to compel the 1st and 3rd respondents to perform their statutory function of removing the president, whose offences bordered on the violation of the 1999 Constitution.

In their written address which was supported by a 44-paragraph affidavit, petitioners copiously cited constitutional authorities to show Mr. Buhari has violated the 1999 Constitution.

They noted in their written address, “Can the conduct of the 4th Respondent, particularly on the presentation of a forged certificate, be condone in America or great Britain unchecked?

“Can the 4th Respondent continue to benefits from his act of forgery and infraction of constitution?

“Definitely, an American president cannot be genuinely accused of presentation of a forged certificate and still be allowed to continue as the president, likewise the prime minister of the Great Britain.”

Based on the forgoing, Mr. Ajibola urged the court to compel the National Assembly to perform its constitutional to impeach Mr. Buhari duties without fear or favour.

After listening the petitioner, Justice Onyetenu ruled in their favour and ordered the National Assembly being the 1st ,2nd and 3rd respondents, to commence the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari”.

Further hearing on the matter has been fixed to October 30th, 2018.

Meanwhile, an online group, Citizengo.org had in April, started collecting signatures to back up a petition for an impeachment process against Mr. Buhari.

Thousands of Nigerians signed the petition which circulated like wildfire on social media platforms like WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and email.

The petition titled, “The Nigeria 8th National Assembly: Impeach Buhari Now,” is addressed to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, respectively.

The petition read, “The core rationale for the massive movement against the last administration was their alleged failure in security, economy and the curbing corruption which the incumbent president promised to fix but three solid years after this pact (social contract) with the citizenry, we have been plunged into the worst abyss in the history of our democracy.

“Nigeria has become a pariah state under this president and the number of deaths across the country is at an alarming rate as the Fulani militia has demonstrably been given license to kill Nigerians with impunity.

“The current ploy is to kill priests and parishioners with the hope of plunging Nigeria into yet another civil war right under the nose of our listless and impotent president.

“On behalf of Nigerians under siege by the lying treasury looters and supporters of killer Fulani militia and balkanized security system against the Nigerian state, we are demanding that the National Assembly commences the impeachment process of the president as the people have passed a vote of no confidence in his leadership, effective immediately.

“We earnestly expect your expeditious action before we shut down the country with protest across Nigeria,” the group had concluded. (Next Edition)