Image

UK Visit: PDP, SANs Fault Buhari’s Refusal To Write National Assembly, Handover Over To Osinbajo

Buhari lands in London

Olusola Fabiyi, Eniola Akinkuotu, John Ameh, Leke Baiyewu and Ade Adesomoju

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has described as illegal President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘private visit’ to London and his refusal to inform the National Assembly.

Falana said this during an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday

The senior advocate said Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution stated expressly that whenever the President was travelling out of the country on vacation, he must transmit a letter to the National Assembly.

The activist said, “No doubt, the President is entitled to embark on local and foreign trips to attend the engagements of family members and friends like other citizens.

“But the President is not permitted by the constitution to abandon the enormous responsibilities of his office for 10 days on account of a private visit to the United Kingdom or any other country whatsoever.

“Since President Buhari’s current private visit to the UK for an undisclosed mission has made it impossible for him to preside over the meeting of the Federal Executive Council and perform other functions of his office, he should transmit a letter to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives in compliance with Section 145 (1) of the Constitution.”

He said as long as the President could not fully carry out the functions of his office, he ought to inform the legislative arm of government.

Falana stated, “Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the controversial private visit, President Buhari is deemed in law to be on vacation or leave of absence for 10 days.

“Whether the President is on vacation or not is not in dispute, but that he is unable to discharge the functions of his office for 10 days. To that extent, the President has to comply with Section 145 (1) of the Constitution which states that, ‘Whenever the President is proceeding on vacation or otherwise, unable to discharge the functions of his office, he shall transmit a written declaration to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to that effect, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, the Vice President shall perform the functions of the President as acting President’.”

He wondered why the Presidency refused to inform the nation of the President’s mission to the UK as Buhari remained the chief public officer.

Falana said, “The official claim that the President is not on vacation has failed to address the constitutional implications of the privacy of the visit of the Head of the Federal Government which is administered on the basis of accountability and transparency.

“Under the current democratic dispensation, the movement and activities of the No 1 Public Officer in the country cannot be shrouded in secrecy.”

Also, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, another human rights activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome, said the President’s decision to travel out on a private visit was not only unconstitutional but immoral.

The senior advocate said the President, as the number one public office holder, had no right to embark on a private visit without informing Nigerians of the purpose of the visit.

He wondered why the President, who had been informing the National Assembly of his previous travels and had been delegating power to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo as acting President, would suddenly change.

He said, “The entire journey is not only illegal, it is also unconstitutional and immoral. It is immoral in the sense that the President travelled with the tax-payers’ money.

“The day the President was sworn in, he ceased to be a private citizen and he became a public figure whose public outings must be known, especially when he is outside Nigeria.

“The visit is illegal and unconstitutional because he did not transmit a letter to the Senate that till he returns, the Vice-President will be the acting President and perform the duties of the President.”

Also, another SAN and Queen’s Counsel, Prof. Fidelis Oditah, said although the trip might not be illegal, it violated constitutional provision that required the President to transfer power to the Vice-President whenever he was on vacation.

Oditah, whose QC title is the England’s equivalent of the Nigerian SAN, said the President’s “private” trip abroad qualified as a vacation.

He added, “How is the trip illegal? I think it is better to say that the President violated the provision of the constitution which requires him to transmit a letter to the National Assembly transmitting power to the Vice-President.

“I don’t know if that, by itself, makes the trip illegal. But I suppose it’s a matter of semantics.

“I think the Constitution is clear that whenever the President wishes to go on vacation, he is required to inform the National Assembly and to transmit a letter that he is transferring the reins of power to the Vice-President.

“I am not sure of what the President says he is doing, but if the President were to be on an official duty outside the country for five or six days, he would not be required to transmit a letter. But here he says he is making a private visit to the United Kingdom for 10 days, and I think that will count as a vacation, whether he says it is a vacation or not.”

But another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Paul Ananaba, said the trip was not illegal, stating that every issue should not be politicised.

He said, “The trip is not illegal. Transmitting letter has to do with whether the Vice President should act or not. We should not politicise every issue in the country.

“Transmitting letter or not has to do with which role the Vice President will play when the President is on a foreign trip and not the illegality or otherwise of the trip.”

When contacted, the spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), said he was not competent to speak on the issue but the President’s spokespersons.

Expect more ‘I don’t care’ attitude from Buhari –PDP

In its own reaction to Buhari’s trip, the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, said Nigerians should expect more daring actions from the President in coming days.

It said this was one of the many reasons why the President and the All Progressives Congress were making moves to install their cronies as the heads of the two chambers of the 9th National Assembly.

The National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, said the President and the APC were planning to undermine the 9th National Assembly.

Secondus stated, “We now see one of the reasons why the President and his party are desperate to force their cronies on both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“The President wants a National Assembly that will not ask him questions. He wants a leadership that will pass bills as presented without subjecting them to public hearing and debate. The President wants to leave the country without anyone asking him his whereabouts.

“That will not be possible in a country like Nigeria. How will he leave for 10 days without informing the National Assembly and also hand over to the Vice President? This is wrong.”

Secondus asked Nigerians to get ready to confront the President in the coming days, wondering why he (Buhari) would not show commitment to end the killings in many states, including Katsina.

Buhari can rule from anywhere within short absence –Presidency

But the Presidency said on Saturday night that Buhari could govern the country from anywhere in the world.

It stated that so long as the President’s absence was for a short period, he did not need to inform the National Assembly.

The Presidency also said Buhari, while in the UK, was exercising authority as the President since his absence would be for 10 days and not up to 21 days.

In a response to an enquiry on the issue by Sunday PUNCH, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, made a reference to Section 145 (1)(2) of the 1999 Constitution to make a defence for Buhari.

When asked why Buhari did not inform the National Assembly of his trip, Shehu replied that it was not necessary.

He stated, “No, that is not necessary. The President can exercise authority from wherever he is as he is currently doing.

“This is a relatively short absence. If you check Section 145 (1) and (2) of the Constitution, you will see that the law is only infringed upon when such absence extends to 21 days.”

The President had jetted out of the country on Thursday, last week.

Meanwhile, both the presidential liaison officers in the National Assembly and officials in the offices of the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives could not confirm the transmission of a letter by Buhari notifying the legislature about his trip as of Saturday night.

When contacted on Saturday evening, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), Mr Umar el-Yakub, declined to speak to one of our correspondents.

The SSA on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, also did not confirm transmission of the letter. “I will be able to speak about it on Monday. Right now, I’m home for family and political matters. When I return (to Abuja) I will officially speak next week; I will officially speak on Monday,” he said.

Also, the Special Adviser to the President of the Senate on Media and Publicity, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, could not confirm receipt of the letter by his principal as of Saturday night.

Olaniyonu, however, noted that the letter might have been transmitted to his principal after the plenary on Thursday and might be made public to members at the next sitting on Tuesday.

Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +2348189650279, +32497220468, +32466100102.

https://twitter.com/RNNetwork1, https://instagram.com/therepublicannews1, https://facebook.com/TheRepublicaNews

Continue reading

Advertisements
Image

BREAKING NEWS: Buhari Returns From London After 10-Day Vacation |RN

Buhari-Returns11

Muhammadu Buhari at the airport on his return

By Ike A. Offor

President Muhammadu Buhari who left for London today Saturday returned from his 10-working-day vacation to London

His Vice, Yemi Osinbajo, acted as the president while he was away in London.

Here are some photos from his arrival and Bashir Ahmad shared this tweet about his return too.

Buhari-returns-from-London

 

 

Buhari-returns-from-London1

Buhari-Returns11

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

BREAKING: Buhari Heads Off To London For Medicals, Says Presidency |RN

Buhari-boarding-aircraft

 

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari will Tuesday, undertake a four-day trip to the United Kingdom. Buhari off to London for medicals.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement said the trip will be for four days and that he is expected back on Saturday, May 12th.

The Presidential Media Aide explained that “In the course of the technical stop-over for aircraft maintenance in London on his way back from Washington last week, the President had a meeting with his doctor.

“The Doctor requested the President to return for a meeting which he agreed to do.
“On his return, the President’s two-day State Visit to Jigawa, which was postponed because of the All Progressives Congress, APC’s Ward Congresses, will now take place on Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th May.”

He had spent over 100 days in London for medical reasons and only returned to the country on August 17th, 2017.

President Buhari had left the country on Sunday, September 17th to attend the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, had returned to the country on September 25th after a stop over in London. (The Sun)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

BREAKING: Buhari meets Osinbajo, Dogara ahead of medical trip to London

 By Ike A. Offor

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday night, May 7, prior to his medical trip to London, received Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate president Bukola Saraki and the Speaker House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.

Mr President shared some photos of his meeting on his Twitter handle and wrote: “This evening at home I received Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, ahead of my Trip to London tonight.”

He also said: “I have absolute confidence that Government will continue to function smoothly while I’m away. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Buhari meets Osinbajo ahead of his medical trip to London                            Buhari with Osinbajo prior to his medical trip to London

Buhari all smiles after a meeting with Osinbajo, Saraki, Dogara ahead of his medical trip to London

Buhari shares smiles with Osinbajo

Buhari meet Osinbajo, Saraki, Dogara, others ahead of his medical trip to LondonBuhari meets Osinbajo, Saraki, Dogara, others prior to his departure to London for medicals

Buhari meet Osinbajo, Saraki, Dogara, others ahead of his medical trip to LondonBuhari with Osinbajo, Saraki, Dogara and others before he left for London for medicals

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Buhari Will Return To UK To See His Doctors-Presidency

 BuharisickinAsoRock

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Presidency on Thursday said President Muhammadu Buhari has not changed his plan to return to his doctors in London, United Kingdom for check-up.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in an interview with journalists.

Shehu said it was not true that Buhari had decided to bring his doctors to Nigeria instead of returning to London.

The presidential spokesman however did not specify when Buhari would return to London.

He said, “It is false news (that Buhari is no longer going to London). We are not aware of the reported advance movements.

“The last time the President spoke about this, he said he would return to his doctors after some time. We are not aware that this has changed.”

Buhari had shortly after he returned to the country after his 49-day medical vacation in London admitted that he had never been that sick in his life.

He then gave an indication that he would return to London for further checkup.

“I am feeling much better now, there may, however, be need to have further follow-ups within some  weeks,” the President had said.           (Punchng.com)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Buhari Remains Indoors Since He Returned From The United Kingdom

buhari2

Olalekan Adetayo

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday remained indoors inside his official residence, 24 hours after he returned to the country from a 49-day medical vacation.

Buhari returned to the country in the early hours of Friday from London, United Kingdom, where he had been on medical sojourn since January 19.

Shortly after meeting some state governors and top government officials led by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the First Lady Conference Hall, Buhari retired into his official residence.

The President, who was conspicuously absent at the Jumat service held inside the mosque close to his office later in the day, has not been seen in public since then.

Our correspondent, who monitored events at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, for a few hours on Saturday reported that Buhari remained indoors throughout the day.

“The President is indoors. He is spending time with his family members. You know he has been away for a long time. There is the need for them to catch up on some issues since he travelled,” a source said.

Our corespondent also observed that the Presidential Villa was devoid of heavy vehicular movement that always characterises the visits of prominent politicians and top government officials.

A security source said but for a few family members and close friends, Buhari has not been receiving visitors since he returned on Friday.

The President had shortly after returning to the country urged those who might be considering sending delegations to welcome him to stay back and continue to pray for the country.

His Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, had said the President would on Monday transmit a letter to the National Assembly formally informing the federal lawmakers of his return from vacation.

Meanwhile, as Buhari formally resumes work on Monday, expectations are high that decisions would be taken on some national issues in the course of the week.

One of such issues, our correspondent learnt, is the posting of the nation’s career ambassadors-designate.

The President had on December 19, 2016 opened an induction course organised for the ambassadors-designate by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

About three months after, they have not been posted.

When our correspondent raised the issue with Adesina on Saturday, he simply said, “Please bring this up again after the President has resumed duty for a while.”

Another issue that the President will be expected to address urgently on resumption, it was further learnt, is the filling of two vacancies that currently exist in the Federal Executive Council.   (Punchng.com)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

BREAKING: Buhari Finally Returns To Nigeria After Prolonged Medical Vacation

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

buhariarrives3

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday returned to the country after after about two-month medical vacation in London, United Kingdom.

The presidential jet that conveyed Buhari landed at the Air Force Base in Kaduna at 7.40am.

He will be conveyed in an helicopter to the Presidential Villa, Abuja where top government officials are already waiting to receive him.

Those already at the helipad include Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari; Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello; National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; Director-General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura; Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.

DETAILS LATER………..

(Punchng.com)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

PDP, Others React As Buhari Says He Needs Longer Time To Rest

 e1775-buhari2b3

Niyi Odebode, Olusola Fabiyi, Olalekan Adetayo, Friday Olokor and Leke Baiyewu

The Peoples Democratic Party and major groups, including the Nigeria Voters’ Assembly and the National Association of Resident Doctors, on Tuesday, differed on the latest development on President Muhammadu  Buhari’s medical vacation.

While the NVA said the President’s statement on his health was a message of hope, the PDP said it wished the President well.

The NARD said his absence could create some gaps, which could lead to power play at the federal level.

Buhari had, on Tuesday, said the results of a series of checkups he carried out in the course of his medical vacation had shown that he needed longer period of rest.

He said this necessitated his staying back in London longer than initially planned.

The President said this in a four-paragraph statement made available to journalists by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.

Adesina did not disclose how long the President’s “longer period of rest” would take.

He, however, thanked Nigerians for their prayers and good wishes while assuring them that there was no cause for worry.

The statement read, “The President is immensely grateful for the prayers, show of love and concern.

“President Buhari wishes to reassure Nigerians that there is no cause for worry.

‘”During his normal annual checkup, tests showed he needed a longer period of rest, necessitating the President staying longer than originally planned.”

The President of NARD, Dr. Onyebueze Ugochukwu, urged Nigerians to pray for the quick recovery of the President.

He prayed that the Acting President would sustain the fight against corruption and insurgency.

Ugochukwu believed that the absence of the President would create some gaps in communication, decision-making and implementation.

“These gaps may lead to some internal bickering and power play. This is bound to happen when those in his management team depart from project Nigeria to pursue personal interest,” he stated.

Aso, the National Publicity Secretary of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Yinka Odumakin, said the cabal around the President would put pressure on the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

He said, “The implication of his long stay is that the country would technically pause for the period he is going to be away. There would be a lot of power play with the cabal around the President, breathing down the neck of the Acting President with  ‘the President said’ even when he did not say. They may even sign things in his name knowing that the Acting President does not have regular access.

“We are in for a season of dual Presidency as the power bloc around the President will maximise this season. The President should be commended for transmitting power to his deputy unlike Yar’Adua, who did not transfer power or possibly had his transmission seized by the cabal.”

In his reaction, the President of the NVA, Mashood Erubami, in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja, said Nigerians should be happy that the evil wishes of some unnamed enemies for the President had not come to pass.

He said, “We should thank God for the message from the President; a message of hope, which should be well managed to advance the cause of good governance.

“Hitherto, Nigerians were worried that the President was not communicating directly with them as they had to rely on good faith with third party information.

“Now that he can be quoted to have said he will stay longer to rest well before he returns, he is only being truthful and honest with Nigerians. We should all be happy that the evil wishes of the enemies of progress have not come to pass.”

Also, the Executive Secretary Anti-Corruption Network, Ebenezer Oyetakin, lauded the President’s statement.

He said, “I am sure that if the situation gets to the extent that he can no longer be the President, the Buhari that I know will obviously take the path of honour and be the first to so declare. Nevertheless, he has obtained annual leave legally; he has transferred Presidential power to his Vice-President as required by the constitution and has informed Nigerians.”

The national leadership of the PDP said it would continue to pray for Buhari.

The Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Bernard Mikko, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday.

Mikko stated, “The President’s request should be viewed in accordance with our statutes. Though the terms of his vacation have not been made clear to most Nigerians, most Nigerians wish him well. No patriotic Nigerian will wish his President otherwise.

“He can be excused within the ambit of the law. I don’t know the status of his health and can’t comment on his physical or mental suitability.

“From the age of 50, who is 100 per cent healthy?”

Saraki briefs Senate on visit to Buhari

Meanwhile, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday, briefed members of the Senate on his trip to the United Kingdom to visit Buhari.

Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara; and the Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, had on Wednesday, last week, met with Buhari, who is on leave in London, attending to his health.

When the lawmakers resumed from a three-week recess on Tuesday, the Senate President, during the plenary, first read Buhari’s letter to the legislature on the extension of his leave.

Saraki had received the letter during the recess. It was dated February 5, 2017, the last day of the President’s initial 10-day leave.

The letter read, “Further to my letter dated January 18, 2017, in which I notified the distinguished Senate of taking part of my annual leave.

“During my leave, I took the opportunity to have routine check-ups and consult my long-standing doctors in London.

“In the course of the routine examinations, certain test results indicated the need for a course of medications and further appointments have been scheduled for next week.

“I am, therefore, notifying the Distinguished Senate that I am extending my leave until the doctors are satisfied that certain factors are ruled out. In the circumstances, the vice-president will continue to act on my behalf.”

After reading the letter, Saraki said, “Further to the correspondence from Mr. President, let me also use this opportunity to brief my colleagues on the visit. I led a delegation of myself, the Honourable Speaker and the Majority Leader to visit Mr. President, Buhari, on Wednesday, February 15, to convey the greetings and best wishes of the National Assembly and I am happy to report that we met the President in good spirits; in good health; chatty as usual; and conveys his best wishes and hopes to be back very soon.”   (Punchng.com)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading