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Sheikh Gumi Warns CJN: Don’t Force Sharia On Others, Talk About Restructuring |The Republican News

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammed, Top Islamic Cleric, Sheikh A. Gumi

The controversial but usually outspoken senior Islamic cleric addresses some torny political and religious issues in Nigeria. He explicitly asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria to stop trying to dominate other religions by forcing Islamic Sharia law on other religions in the country. He told him rather to focus on restructuring to usher in true federalism like it is practiced in the United States.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria recently called for the amendment of the Constitution to expand the scope of Sharia legal system. What do you think?

What I think we should do is to restructure Nigeria so that areas where Muslims are in the majority like Zamfara and Kano will have their system. Where Christians are more, allow them to have their way.

Law is what governs people and controls them. If there is Sharia law in Borno State, Boko Haram will end immediately because there will be nothing to agitate for. Saudi Arabia is running the Sharia system but that does not prevent them from developing. They have the best roads, hospitals and the latest technology.

They produce some of the highest number of PhD holders in all fields.

Restructuring Nigeria is the most important thing. Don’t talk about Sharia. Each state should have autonomy to do what suits the majority of its population. You cannot neglect religion. It is very potent. If it is used to manipulate the people, it becomes opium but if it is used strictly according to the scriptures, it is good.

In Islam, we are told that Muslims should love Christians. Clerics are not big-headed. Christianity inculcates humility. If your neighbor is a good Christian, you are safe. If your neighbor is a good Muslim, you are safe. A good Christian or a good Muslim will not chase your wife, he will not chase your daughter, he will not come home drunk, and he will not steal your money. We should not fight religion. We should rather embrace religion.

But it should be localized, not nationalized. Let states have their autonomy and rules. Muslim states that want Sharia should have it. If you do that, you will control crime. When Sharia was introduced in Zamfara, the crime rate was low. Go and check police records.

‘Intellectually capable’

I do not think it is for the Chief Justice of Nigeria to prescribe anything, it is for the National Assembly to restructure Nigeria, but I do not think we have the right caliber of people in the National Assembly to do that. They are not intellectually capable of restructuring Nigeria. Restructuring should happen in the next dispensation. Nigerians should be wise enough to elect intellectuals into government. Three years is good enough for Christians, Muslims and other intellectuals to come together and work out plans. It is just a matter of time. This is a very beautiful country and we can make it what we want. It is time for us to restructure Nigeria.

Should restructuring include amending the provisions of the Constitution on Sharia to cover the whole nation?

Sharia has nothing to do with non-Muslims. Only the Sharia court can handle issues of inheritance for Muslims and not the conventional court. There has to be a way for an appellate court for Sharia cases. Once there is a law, there has to be an end. There should be an end to where the law can reach. If we restructure Nigeria to give every state autonomy, the country will be good. America is as diverse as we are, but the laws of the country are well-rooted. We need a federation like America where the states will have some form of independence.

Nigeria seems more divided now than ever before. What do you think is responsible? Is it politics or religion?

Politics is responsible. Religion unites mankind. If you remove Buddhism from India and China, for instance, there will be chaos. If you remove Christianity, there will be chaos and if you remove Islam, there will be chaos. Religion solidifies. It holds mankind in big blocks so that they can respect each other. Religion is spiritual even though religious leaders exploit people. But there is an extent to which they can go because the scriptures are there. It is all about morality. It is all about good neighborliness and compassion. Religion is never a problem but those who manipulate religion are. That is where the problem is. The division in the country is caused by the political leadership. We don’t have good leaders. We have leadership that still believes it is in opposition. It is structured to be opposing like critics. They are in power, but they still behave as if they are in opposition. I recently heard the Vice President saying they could not tackle poverty because of the past government.

You are in your fifth year of leadership, yet you still blame somebody for not turning things around? Adolf Hitler met Germany in utter disaster but, in a few years, Germany was producing machines to fight the world. It is leadership. The economy is dependent on leadership. We don’t have that. There is crime everywhere. We are spending wrongly.

Recently, President Buhari submitted a request to the National Assembly to borrow another $30billion. What does this portend?

They do not have priorities on development. They want a quick fix. They want to build edifices so that they can say ‘this is what we did’. This is not how an economy is run. Human development indices are very low in Nigeria. Mortality rate is high, and the standard of education is poor. If you train Nigerians, they will do what is right. Our budget for human development is very poor. We are spending where we should not spend because we want to impress.

Talking about education, the North is not making progress in terms of school enrolment. What do you think is responsible for this state of affairs?

Leaders are not investing enough in education. The budgetary allocation for education is low. Since the North has a problem in the education sector, state governments should invest more in education. They should get teachers from other places, improve the quality of teachers and build more schools. Things will turn around in a short time if proper attention is paid to education. We are not spending on education and we are not spending on health. What government needs to do is to create industrial agriculturists. We have arable lands. Government should assist people who want to embrace agriculture. When you give loan to small scale farmers, it does not help. What happens is that after getting the loan, instead of tilling the lands, they buy hajj tickets or marry more wives. They engage in bedroom farming, not real farming.

Prof. Ango Abdullahi recently said politicians and political system have failed Nigerians. Is theocracy an option?

Theocracy died several years ago. The papal authority used to send crusaders to the Middle East, but it turned out a disaster and the Pope lost his authority. Monarchs came out but they lost their authority. There is no more theocracy. In Islam, the caliphate was completely destroyed in 1924 and there are no more caliphates now. God cannot allow you to form a government under his cloak and you will be deceiving people. He will destroy it.

What is your reaction to the recent discovery of torture centres in the name of Islamic rehabilitation centres?

I have been to some of the centres. There was a wrong narration to the stories. Poverty and ignorance in the North have led to an explosion in the use of drugs. Men, women, and children are addicts and there are no government institutions that can handle such things. Out of necessity, families take their children to such centres with the hope that they will be restrained and rehabilitated. It is not a hospital where they can be treated, so they chain the addicts so that they will not harm anybody or themselves. It is the parents of some of these children that want them to be shackled. It is as a result of the absence of government. Government should provide rehabilitation centres to address this huge problem.

During the first four years of Buhari, you expressed disappointment with his performance. Is there any sign that there will be change?

Things have become worse. Look at the border closure. Look at the obsession with rice. This is a government that thrives on propaganda and it capitalizes on the ignorance of its supporters. Things are bad for the people. Court orders have no meaning in Nigeria now because government can ignore it.

Do you sometimes fear that Nigeria is heading towards dictatorship as some people claim?

Nigeria is too big. What I fear is a slide into anarchy. Government seems not able to handle anything. Boko Haram is too big for government. Violent herdsmen are too big for government to handle. All the money that is being borrowed, why can’t they improve the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC? They don’t want to make INEC work because they depend on rigging.

If you were to advise this government, what would you say?

This is a difficult question for me because if you beat a dead horse, will it run? The situation is terribly bad. People cannot feed. People cannot buy drugs. You can no longer trust even your driver to buy fuel for you. He would rather take part of the money to feed his family. Corruption is everywhere because of lack of leadership. We need a new crop of leaders in the country. We need people who are not stained by blood and corruption.

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Buhari Plans 6-Year Third Term Allowing Him To Serve For 14 Years |The Republican News

President Muhammadu Buhari

…Bills to amend the constitution pass first reading in Reps

…APC may still feature Buhari for fear of extinction

…Crisis looms in PDP over zoning

Despite the outright denial by the Presidency that President Muhammadu Buhari is not interested in running for a third term, facts have emerged that he is perfecting plans to continue in office at the expiration of his second tenure in 2023.

When this plan was first uncovered, the Presidency quickly debunked such insinuations, describing them as internet-based gossip and un-informed media commentary.


The Presidency had said Buhari would serve his full second elected term in office ending 2023 and then there shall be a general election in which he will not be a candidate.


The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu who denied the possibility of a third term agenda said: “The Presidency wishes to correct internet-based gossip and un-informed media commentary regarding presidential term limits, given credence by so-called support groups, staging street demonstrations asking President Muhammadu Buhari to do a third term.


“There are no circumstances or set of circumstances under which President Buhari may seek to amend the Constitution regarding the two -term limit on holding office as President.

“President Buhari intends to serve his full second elected term in office, ending 2023 and then there shall be a general election in which he will not be a candidate. There is not even the faintest possibility that this will change. It is important to note that there was a past attempt to change the constitution to allow for the then incumbent president to stand for a third term.”

According to Shehu, “That attempt was wrong, unconstitutional and rightly rebuffed. No such attempt will happen under this President. President Buhari is a democrat. He respects the constitution. Any activity aimed at altering the two-term limit will not succeed and shall never have his time nor support”.

But political observers are becoming more curious that Buhari through the ‘Cabal’ in the Presidency is leaving no stone unturned, including constitutional amendment, arm-twisting of the judiciary, pocketing the Electoral Umpire, rubber-stamping the legislature and castrating Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to realise the third term bid.

Only recently, an erstwhile political associate of Buhari, who is now the National Chairman of Reformed All Progressives Congress, rAPC, Buba Galadima, raised the alarm that the President may be contesting in the 2023 presidential election

Galadima said the forces controlling Buhari are planning to lure him into running for third term, alleging that the present administration has pocketed the judiciary and is doing all it could to muzzle the opposition.

According to him, Buhari has already pocketed the judiciary, and he feels that nothing will happen, and that he will be victorious at the court. His government has destroyed the judiciary and this is very troubling for democracy, and our nation


“A lot of politicians will be disappointed. Only God knows what will happen between now and 2023. Buhari may even be drafted to join the 2023 fray by some of his aides and associates.

Apart from Galadima, other political actors who however, lack the audacity to come out publicly are speaking in low tones that Buhari and his handlers are not ready to vacate the scene after 2023.

Some inside sources within the power cycle who would not want to be mentioned agreed that there are hidden plans for the incumbent President to continue in office beyond 2023.

They alluded to the fact that Buhari may not want policy somersault particularly the war against corruption, border closure, among others hence, the desire to have another tenure which would provide enough time for their consolidation.

Our sources noted that the continued retention of Service Chiefs even when some have attained 40 years against the mandatory 35 years of retirement is part of the plan not to inject new blood into the system to pave way for the unhindered tenure elongation.

The sources further disclosed that constitutional amendment is imminent and it would be targeted at creating a six-year single tenure so that after Buhari, no one would enjoy serving for a second tenure and in a way making him the last longest serving President.

“We are beginning to sense that the President and those around him don’t want to go after 2023. That is why they are doing everything, though covertly to water the ground for his third term.

“What do they want to do? They will ensure there is a constitutional amendment not just for Buhari to go for a third term but to introduce a six-year single tenure after his exit.

“So far, the Independent National Electoral Commission is in their palms, the National Assembly has been captured or do you think Gbajabiamila and Lawan would object anything the President and the Cabal want? No. In fact, they were handpicked for this purpose.

“The CSOs, where do you think they are? Can they try any rubbish? If anyone tries, he or she will have himself to be blamed as Sowore. The opposition has been annihilated. In fact, EFCC alone would finish them. Forget, 2023 is a done deal for Buhari,” a source that claimed to know the workings in the corridors of power said.

The indications to amend the constitution are becoming even palpable; hence so far, three Bills to amend the constitution have passed first reading in the National Assembly, especially in the House of Representatives which may not be unconnected with tenure elongation or six-year single term for President.

These bills are: Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (HB.408) (Hon. Dachung Musa Bagos), Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (HB.410) (Hon. Dachung Musa Bagos) and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (HB.418) (Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante).

Also, there is anxiety within the ranks and file of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that the party would go down with President Buhari if he exits in 2023 as he is presently the uniting force of the strange bed fellows – the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), parts of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP).


As recently decried by former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, APC might lose its current grip of power in 2023 as APC is a party that they hurriedly put together when they were governors, with Buhari as the fulcrum.

“President Muhammadu Buhari gave character to APC. He brought his integrity to bear on the party. He made the party what it is in the northern part of the country and the masses of the North, who saw him as a true leader, and we all rode on that to achieve that victory, but after the credibility of Buhari into this party, there seems to be no alternative in the same manner that will drive this party to 2023 victory.

“This is why I expressed my concern that if we are not very careful, APC might go with Buhari in 2023, and that will be a very unfortunate situation for the founding fathers of APC. The party needs to show purposeful leadership, show character,” Okorocha said.

Meanwhile, there is raging crisis in the ranks of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) over zoning of the presidential slot ahead of 2023.

The party, particularly the National Working Committee (NWC) is plotting to maintain the zoning of its presidential ticket to the North East and South East, respectively.

By this zoning arrangement, the NWC is bent on picking former presidential candidate of the party, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi as the candidates for 2023.

The NWC may have felt that since the party had a remarkable outing in the last presidential election, with Atiku and Obi, if the statuesque is maintained in 2023, PDP will oust the ruling APC roundly.

However, it was gathered that the PDP governors are not in any way ready to back the Atiku/Obi ticket anymore. The governors appear to be divided since all of them are angling for the position.

The governors seem to be resistant on the zoning to North East and South East because, they feel President Muhamadu Buhari’s body language tilts towards plot to elongate his tenure in 2023, and that if Atiku/Obi ticket is flown, the party may not coast to victory.

Sources said, already, some of the governors including Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto and Nyesom Wike of Rivers State are nursing political ambition to run on North West and South-South zoning. They have since started holding secret meetings to woo the other governors’ support to convince the party to zone the presidential slot in their favour.

Wike, it is said has been the chief strategist rooting for Tambuwal as he wants to be Vice President in 2023 but as it stands, there is no possibility that the NWC will agree to dance according to tunes of Wike and or bow to any North West and South-South zoning, just as it appears Wike is the major financier of the party, hence Rivers is rated the only PDP state with overall financial might.

Retrospectively, it was same Wike’s alleged shenanigans that saw the crisis that erupted, few months ago, between the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) and NWC, over suspension of the House of Representatives Minority leader, Ndidi Elumelu. The dust on the matter is yet to settle.

Wike had reportedly tipped Peter Chinda who is from Rivers State for the position and compelled the party to accept it, which the party refused.

Unfortunately, majority of party executive members did not buy into it and worked against it vehemently. Till now, the crisis on the matter is brewing and the party is not ready to entertain yet another internal chaos.

Although at the moment, the PDP appears unstable on how it intends to zone the presidential slot, it is determined to oust the APC and to resist every move by Buhari to elongate his tenure in 2023.

Of course, with alleged Buhari’s plan to retain 2023, pundits perceive that the consideration of Tambuwal and Wike for the 2023 slot may garner more acceptability, more so that they are younger politicians with vast experiences and sagacity.

But the PDP has said it is yet to decide on any zoning and that those trying to peddle the information are doing so to further their own selfish political ambitions.

The PDP, through the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan has stated in a statement that there is no plot to stop the ambition of any of the governors either.

“For the avoidance of doubt, our party is yet to discuss the 2023 presidential election, overtly or covertly, at any time whatsoever.

“If anything, the PDP is currently working with Nigerians on how to win its elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states and will not be distracted by

individuals who found themselves operating in the highest offices of the land but failing in governance.
“As a party, we are also working with our respective state governors and legislators across the country as they work hard, in line with the manifesto of our party, to improve on the welfare and development of Nigerians,” he said.

“Moreover, it is also imperative to counsel, without any equivocation, that enemies of our party, who feel threatened by the rising profile of
Governor Nyesom Wike, should have a rethink on their incessant attacks on the governor,” Ologbodiyan said. (BusinessDay)

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Exclusive: Buhari Set To Extend ‘Private Visit’ To London On Health Grounds |The Republican News

Buhari-latest-London-visit1

Inside sources in the Presidency who spoke with SaharaReporters said there is a high likelihood of the President extending his stay on the orders of his doctors.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari may not return to the country on Sunday May 5 as scheduled due to health complications.

Inside sources in the Presidency who spoke with SaharaReporters said there is a high likelihood of the President extending his stay on the orders of his doctors.

President Muhammadu Buhari had travelled to the United Kingdom on April25 for what the presidency described as a “private visit”.

Constitutional Breach

Shortly after his announcement, Buhari’s departure sparked a constitutional debate over his refusal to notify the National Assembly of his planned absence and hand over to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

In 2016, he had handed over to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo after notifying the senate of his 10-day visit to the United Kingdom where he claimed he would be seeing an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist over a persistent ear infection.

By refusing to hand over to the Vice President, Buhari breached Section 145 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which states that:

“Whenever the President is proceeding on vacation or is 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.

“In the event that the President is unable or fails to transmit the written declaration mentioned in subsection (1) of this section within 21 days, the National Assembly shall, by a resolution made by a simple majority of the vote of each House of the National Assembly, mandate the Vice-President to perform the functions of the office of the President as Acting President until the President transmits a letter to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives that he is now available to resume his functions as President.”

Widespread National Anger
In 2017 during his prolonged absence, Nigerian protesters in Lagos, Abuja and the UK protested after mobilizing using the hashtag #ResumeOrResign demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari either resume his job as president or resign, after more than 90 days of absence.

Demonstrators rallied for three days, demanding action by the government, with many claiming Buhari’s absence is unacceptable and harmful for the country.

The demonstrations, led by prominent activists such as Omoyele Sowore, Charles Oputa and Deji Adeyanju forced the President to return home.

His most recent trip is also causing widespread anger from Nigerians, who accuse him of insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians, especially in the wake of rising kidnapping and banditry in the country.

Buhari’s Crohns Disease
Contrary to claims that the President suffers an ear infection, SaharaReporters in 2017 authoritatively confirmed that Buhari is battling a persistent “internal organ” problem.

The source attributed the President’s inability to eat as well as his progressive loss of weight to Crohn’s Disease, a medical condition that has affected his digestive system.

According to the source, Buhari had had parts of his colon removed in 2013 and also had another operation to have hemorrhoids, swollen veins near the human rectum, removed in 2016 in London during one of his secret trips to seek urgent medical treatment.

Timeline Of Medical Visits
Since his inauguration in 2015, President Buhari has embarked on no less than eight trips to the UK, mostly to cater to his health.

On the February 5, 2016, he embarked on a six-day medical vacation to London. Shortly after, on the June 6, 2016, he took to the skies for a 10-day medical vacation to deal with a “persistent ear infection”.

Again on January 19, 2017, he took off to London again on a medical vacation and on February 5, 2017, he wrote to the National Assembly, asking lawmakers to extend his London medical leave.

He returned on the March 10, 2017 but did not resume work immediately before jetting out two months later on May 7, 2017 for another medical vacation that lasted 104 days.

President Buhari returned in and worked from home August 19, 2017.

He again flew out in May 8, 2018 for a ‘private visit’.

(Source: Sahara reporters)

 

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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.

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Nnmadi Kanu Releases ‘Proofs’ Surrounding Buhari’s Nationality, Says He’s Not A Nigerian |The Republican News

 

Mazi Nnami Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra has released some new ‘proofs’ that Buhari is not a Nigerian.

The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has come up with a fresh claim about the true nationality of President Muhmmadu Buhari.

Kanu, in his broadcast from the United Kingdom at the weekend, said that neither “dead” Muhammadu Buhari, nor “his replacement” Jibril al Sudani, is qualified to contest for Nigeria’s presidential election.

Nnamdi Kanu argued that being born on Nigerian soil was not enough to qualify one as a Nigerian citizen by birth, unless the parents, grandparents of such person is also born in Nigeria.

The IPOB leader said that Buhari’s father, Hardo Adamu, was a nomadic FULANI trader, a duck seller, from Niger Republic and later became a bodyguard in the Emir of Daura’s palace, which made him to settle in Daura, Katsina State, adding that he (Hardo) was borne in Niger Republic, not Nigeria.

Kanu said that the All Progressives Congress, APC, has opened the door by challenging Atiku’s citizenship by BIRTH, it now lies within the rights of every right-thinking person to also question Buhari’s citizenship by birth, even litigate it in Court.

He added, “NEITHER THE DEAD BUHARI NOR HIS REPLACEMENT JUBRIL AL-SUDANI IS A CITIZEN OF NIGERIA BY BIRTH ACCORDING TO SECTION 25 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

“Buhari, even before his death should not have contested for the presidency how much less the impostor Jubril Al-Sudani.

“Section 25 (1) of the badly worded, badly written 1999 Nigerian Constitution states that being born on Nigerian soil is not enough to qualify you as a Nigerian citizen by BIRTH, unless your father, mother, grandfather or grandmother is also born in Nigeria:

“According to the highest (Supreme) law in Nigeria which is the constitution, ‘The following persons are citizens of Nigeria by BIRTH-namely:

“(a) every person born in Nigeria BEFORE the date of independence, EITHER of whose parents or ANY of whose grandparents belongs or belonged to a community INDIGENOUS to Nigeria;

“Provided that a person shall NOT become a citizen of Nigeria by virtue of this section if NEITHER of his parents nor any of his grandparents was BORN in Nigeria.

“In simple/plain English this means that if NONE of your parents or grandparents is BORN in Nigeria, you cannot contest for the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, simple and short.

“Section 131 of the 1999 Constitution which APC is relying on to disqualify Atiku, provides:

“‘A person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President if –

(a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by BIRTH.’

“Now, leaving that of Atiku for the moment, let us now consider whether the dead Buhari (now replaced by Jibril from Sudan) was a citizen of Nigeria by BIRTH, as defined under Section 25 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) above.

“Keep in mind that Section 25 did not provide being born in Nigeria as the ONLY conditions for being considered being Nigerian by BIRTH. There are other conditions, which one must fulfil and they are:

“1. As applied to Buhari, you must have been born before Independence, so having been borne in 1942, the dead Buhari passed this first test.

“2. Either of Buhari’s parents or any of his parents must belong to a tribe INDIGENOUS to Nigeria; and … [mind you not Republic of Niger]

“3. Under the Proviso to Section 25, either of them MUST also be BORN in Nigeria. [This is the most important proviso because even if you pass 1 and 2, you will still fail and won’t qualify to be Nigerian president if you don’t pass No 3, that is what the law says].

“Now, we know from public records that Buhari’s father, Hardo Adamu, was a nomadic FULANI trader, a duck seller, from Niger Republic and later became a bodyguard in the Emir of Daura’s palace, which made him to settle in Daura, Katsina State. So, he (Hardo) was borne in Niger Republic, not Nigeria.

“And Buhari’s father, being from Niger DID NOT belong to a tribe indigenous to Nigeria. This law was designed to stop cross border tribes from claiming indigenous identity to run for the presidency of Nigeria. Remember that the Yoruba tribe extends into Benin Republic.

“Though they are Yoruba by indigenous identity, they are not regarded as a population indigenous to Nigeria by virtue of the fact that they belong to another country. The same applies to Fulani people indigenous to Niger Republic that share common porous border with Nigeria.

“But given that Section 25 used the words ‘either of the parents or any of the grand parents’, we shall consider whether Buhari’s mother, Zulaihatu, was born in Nigeria.

“What we know for sure is that Hardo Adamu married Zulaihatu in Niger Republic and both of them, being nomadic, emigrated to Daura together sometime in early 1941. That is why there is NO record of any local Daura family in present day Katsina State that claims Zulaihatu comes from them.

“In other words, Buhari’s mother, also a Fulani from Niger Republic was NOT born in Nigeria.

“Now, here’s the question: if neither of Buhari’s parents were BORN in Nigeria, is it likely that any of his grandparents, that is the parents of Hardo and Zulaihatu were born in Nigeria? Not likely. This is where I challenge the Daura Emirate of Katsina to confirm or deny this.

“Let us now recall the Proviso to Section 25 which states, and I quote: ‘Provided that a person shall NOT become a citizen of Nigeria by virtue of this section if NEITHER of his parents nor any of his grandparents was BORN in Nigeria.”

“So, now we know that even though the late Buhari may have been born in Daura in present day Katsina State, NEITHER of his parents or grandparents were born in Nigeria. Buhari is therefore NOT a citizen of Nigeria by BIRTH as defined in the Proviso to Section 25 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“So, even if they now claim that the Fulani is indigenous to Nigeria, Buhari still failed the FINAL and ultimate test of his parents or grandparents not being born in Nigeria.

“So, given that APC has opened the door by challenging Atiku’s citizenship by BIRTH, it now lies within the rights of every right-thinking person to also question Buhari’s citizenship by BIRTH, even litigate it in Court.”

(Daily Post)

 

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Onnoghen: US, UK, EU Supporting Corruption – FG |The Republican News

 

Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

 

The Federal Government has said that the statements by the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, portends tolerance for corrupt acts and the downplaying of the anti-corruption crusade of the Buhari administration.

The government also said the statements signified alignment with the opposition and endorsement of its position that the ruling party, and by extension, the Federal Government of Nigeria, is working on rigging the forthcoming elections.

This is the third time the government is reacting to statements by the US, the UK and the EU, having earlier said that the presidency will not bend rules or allow interference, and that the US, UK and the EU were not properly informed over concerns raised by the suspension of Onnoghen.

In a statement by the spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, George Ehidiamen Edokpa, the government stated that the statements were inimical to the wellbeing and development of Nigeria, given their nuisance value of promoting sectional and religious divide in the country, anarchy and retrogression.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria notes with deep concern, statements made by representatives of foreign governments and international organizations resident in Nigeria, notably the Embassy of the United States of America, the High Commission of the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union Election Observer Mission, regarding the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), which demonstrate serious and unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Nigeria.

“The various statements, especially of those referred to above, appear prejudicial and signify alignment with the opposition and endorsement of its position that the ruling party, and by extension, the Federal Government of Nigeria, is working on rigging the forthcoming elections in Nigeria. These statements also portend tolerance for corrupt acts and downplay the anticorruption crusade of the Buhari administration, knowing fully that the suspended CJN had not denied the charges against him and that probity requires of him to step aside while the case is under scrutiny.

“It is pertinent to underscore the unfortunate fact that statements, as referred above, are inimical to the wellbeing and development of Nigeria, given their nuisance value of promoting sectional and religious divide in the country, anarchy and retrogression. Now, more than any other time, Nigerians and true friends of Nigeria should be working towards repositioning Nigeria to realize her potential and sustainably provide the leadership expected of her.

“His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari had consistently demonstrated respect for the rule of law as a presidential candidate and as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and would engage in nothing to the contrary. He also remains a man of integrity who has severally pledged free and fair elections. It is therefore absurd to presume that the suspension of the CJN is geared towards rigging the forthcoming elections in favour of the ruling party.

“For the avoidance of doubt, be it known that on three occasions that Mr. President went to court as a presidential candidate and lost his case, in 2013, 2011 and 2007, the presiding judges at the Supreme Court were all northerners and Muslims: Justice Muhammad Lawal Uwais, Idris Lebo Kutigi and Dahiru Mustapha respectively. In fact, in one instance, the presiding judge at the Appeal Court was from Katsina State and the President’s former classmate, yet, he lost the case. The minority judgements in his favour were given by two judges, both of them southerners and Christians: Justices George Adesola Oguntade and Sylvanus Nsofor.

“Resident embassies and international organizations invited to observe the forthcoming elections must therefore be wary of being drawn into the camp of the opposition, otherwise their neutrality, which is the hallmark of election observers becomes questionable. It is indeed unfortunate that foreign missions would align with the opposition and seek to negatively interpret actions by the Federal Government, no matter their positive basis and intention. Had the Federal Government been high-handed, would the opposition have been able to express its views even to the point of pouring invectives on Mr. President? How best can the corruption in the judiciary, which has enormously undermined the rights of the common man and made justice available only to the highest bidder, be best tackled than by ensuring that known cases are fundamentally tackled? Where is the rule of law, if justice is applied selectively?” the government queried.

The government further raised pertinent questions which it said, the opposition and their sympathizers must reflect upon.

“Pertinent questions that the opposition and their sympathizers must reflect upon are: How has the action of Mr. President undermined the resolve for free and fair election? In what ways does it undermine the independence of the Judiciary, except in the minds of the opposition and its cohorts? What right has a representative of a foreign government to incense an already volatile situation on the grounds that her government has invested heavily in the elections? It is insulting for any foreign representative to claim the right to interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs, based on the premise that its government has invested heavily in the election,” the government added.

The government further said Nigeria had invested enormously over the years in election processes of many African countries and will continue to do so without interfering in their internal affairs.

The government also said interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs under any guise will therefore not be accepted.

“Representatives of foreign governments and organizations are therefore advised to tread with caution and desist from using the utterances and actions of opposition organizations and individuals as a vehicle to interfere in Nigeria’s internal affairs. Embassies and organizations accredited to Nigeria should desist from actions and utterances that can only create political, sectional and religious crises and divides,” the government warned.  (The Sun)

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Executive Order Will Lead To Abuse Of Law, Order, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Warns|RN

The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo said executive orders are an attempt to subvert the fundamental rights of the citizenry.

Raphael Ede, Enugu

 

President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, has warned the Federal Government against the use of executive orders, which, he said, could lead to excessive abuse of law and order, thus, “unacceptable in a democratic dispensation.”

Nwodo, who stated this in a statement he issued through his Media Adviser, Chief Emeka Attamah, said in exercising the orders, President Buhari must subject it to the provision of Chapter 4 of the constitution, which enshrines fundamental rights of individuals.

The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo said executive orders, in a situation where a state of emergency does not exist or has not been proclaimed, are an attempt to subvert the fundamental rights of the citizenry.

He opined that a man cannot be subjected to any disability except as provided by the nation’s constitution and judiciary, adding that it was not proper for the president to stay in his office and decide the fate of any citizen outside the provisions of Section 6: 33 to 45 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo affirmed that fundamental rights cannot be derogated from without judicial pronouncements,” he said.  (The Sun)

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Buhari Signs New Law That Bars VPs, Deputy Governors From Second Term

By Anule Emmanuel

New law bars successor VPs, deputy govs from second term
  • State assemblies, judiciary get financial autonomy

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law a bill that will amend the 1999 Constitution which bars vice presidents and deputy governors who succeed their principals from seeking a second term in office. He also signed into law Bill No. 16, which means vice presidents and deputy governors who succeed their principals are not entitled to eight-year tenure.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents at the presidential villa, Abuja. He said: “The intent of the Bill No. 16is to ensure that where a vice-president succeeds a president or a deputy governor succeeds a governor he can no more contest for that office more than once more.

“The fact is that having taken the oath as president once and you can only contest for the office once again and no more. That is the intent of this amendment.” The new law also gives financial autonomy to state houses of assembly and judiciaries in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Enang said with the signing into law of the Constitution Alteration Bill, the State Houses of Assembly would now operate like the National Assembly where the Federal Ministry of Finance automatically transferred budgetary allocation direct to the account of the legislature. According to him, the Judiciary in the states under the new arrangement will also enjoy similar financial independence as their budgetary allocations will no longer go through the budgeting process of the executive arms at the state level. Such funds, he said, would henceforth be transferred directly to the account of the judiciary.

Enang said: “I just want to inform you that His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari today assented to the Constitution Fourth Alteration Bill which grants financial autonomy and independence to the Houses of Assembly of the respective states and to the Judiciary of the respective states.

“Therefore upon this signature, the amounts standing to the credit of the judiciary are to be now paid directly to the judiciary of those states, no more through the governors and no more from the governors. “And then the amounts standing to the credit of the Houses of Assembly of the respective states are now to be paid directly to the Houses of Assembly of that state for the benefit of the legislators and the management of the States Houses of Assembly.

“This grants full autonomy now to the judiciary at the state level and the Houses of Assembly at the state level. This allows the State Houses of Assembly to operate like the National Assembly does because the National Assembly does not get its money from the executive. “It provides money in the statutory transfers which the Ministry of Finance will automatically transfer to the account of the National Assembly.” He said: “Just like that of the (Federal) Judiciary, you see the judiciary sometimes get N150 – N170billion sometimes a little bit about a 100billion. It does not go through the executive and it does go through the budgeting process of the executive. “It is transferred directly to the account of the judiciary, which is the head of courts.

When the Houses of Assembly are doing their budgets the amounts standing to the credit of the judiciary it will now going to be among the statutory transfers which will be statutorily transferred to the heads of the courts. “And then that of the State Houses of Assembly will stand transferred to the House of Assembly of the state.” President Buhari also yesterday signed into law the Constitution Amendment No. 21 which relates to a determination of pre-election matters. He said the new bill had reduced the days and time of determining pre-election matter to ensure that preelection matters in courts do not get into the time of election do not pend thereafter.

“The relevant section of the constitution has also been amended by this Act, therefore, amending the constitution,” he added. Enang said the president also signed the Bill No. 9 into law. According to him, the Bill No.9 gives the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) sufficient time to conduct by-elections. He said with the president’s assent to the bill, the days for the conduct of by-elections had been increased from seven to 21 days. “These four Bills added to the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ Act, have now been assented to by Mr President and they have now become laws. And then the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended are hereby further amended by the assents of Mr President to these bills today,” (yesterday) he said.  (New Telegraph)

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JUST IN: Buhari To Sign ‘Not Too Young To Run’ Bill |The Republican News

By Anule Emmanuel, Abuja

 

Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he will any moment from now sign into law the ‘Not too young to run’ bill.

The President stated this in a nationwide broadcast to mark the 2018 Democracy Day early on Tuesday.

He said, “In few days to come, I will be joined by many promising young Nigerians to sign into law the ‘Not too young to run’ bill”

The bill, which is part of the process to amend the 1999 Constitution, seeks to reduce the minimum age requirement for elective positions in the country.

It was first passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives in July 2017. Many state houses of assembly in the country have also passed the bill.

President Buhari also advised Nigerians to be law-abiding as the country enters into a season of another round of election for 2019.

According to him, “The upcoming months will usher us into another season of general elections. Let me use this opportunity to urge us all to conduct ourselves, our wards and our constituencies with the utmost sense of fairness, justice and peaceful co-existence such that we will have not only hitch-free elections but also a credible and violence-free process.”

President who assured that his government was committed to the fight against graft noted that the administration will not relent on one of its primary objectives in killing corruption before it damages the national social economic fabric.

He said, “The second primary objective of this administration is to fight corruption headlong. Like I have always said, if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will destroy the country. Three years into this administration, Nigerians and the international community have begun to applaud our policies and determination to fight corruption. We are more than ever before determined to win this war, however hard the road is. I, therefore, appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to continue to support us in this fight.

“Various policy measures already put in place to stem the tide of corrupt practices are yielding remarkable results. Some of these key reform policies include Treasury Single Account, which has realised billions of naira being saved from the maintenance fee payable to banks. N200bn has also been saved from the elimination of ghost workers in public service.”

President Buhari seized the opportunity of the broadcast to reel out some modest achievement of his government in the last three years.
He noted that the whistle-blowing policy had helped the government to recover over N500bn.

“The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, set up with a mandate to validate controls, assess risks, prune personnel costs and ensure compliance with Public Financial Management reforms, has helped to identify and remove over 52,000 ghost workers from the Federal Government’s MDAs Payroll.

“The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme aimed at expanding tax education and awareness have offered the opportunity for tax defaulters to regularise their status in order to enjoy the amnesty of forgiveness on overdue interest, penalties and the assurance of non-prosecution or subject to tax investigations,” he added.

He continued that the Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio had been expanded with an injection of $650m so as to strengthen its investment in local infrastructure, power, health, reconstruction of the Abuja-Kano Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, East-West Road (Section V) and the Mambilla hydro-electric power project as well as the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.”

Buhari noted that the fight against corruption, through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, had resulted in the recovery of billions of naira, as well as the forfeiture of various forms of assets.

“We have retained the services of one of the world’s leading assets tracing firms to investigate and trace assets globally. This is in addition to the exploitation of provisions of existing treaties, conventions as well as bilateral agreements with multilateral bodies and nations. Nigeria has also signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements to ensure that there is no hiding place for fugitives.”

According to him, through prudent spending and blocking of leakages, the nation’s foreign reserves had improved to $47.5bn as of May 2018, as against $29.6bn in 2015 while inflationary rate, had consistently declined every month since January 2017.
The President commended Nigerian women for their contributions to national development and advancement of democracy.

He urged Nigerians to avoid hatred and intolerance as this would help the country to achieve its developmental objectives in an atmosphere of harmony and peaceful co-existence.

Other achievements listed by the President include increase food security programme built around self-sufficiency and minimisation of import dependency.

The President said rice importation had been cut down by 90 percent, which he noted had a direct impact on foreign reserves, the Social Investment Programmes, Home Grown School Feeding Programme, and Conditional Cash Transfer where underprivileged Nigerians were given N5, 000 per month.

President Buhari described the commemoration of 2018 Democracy Day, which is the third anniversary of his administration, as a celebration of freedom for Nigerians.

He said the celebration was also a recommitment by his government to keep its promise to lead Nigeria into a new era of justice and prosperity.

Buhari admitted that his administration had faced challenges in the journey of three years while Nigerians stood by his government in achieving its three cardinal points.

He said, “Today marks the 19th year of our nascent democracy and the 3rd Anniversary of this administration. I am thankful to Almighty God for bringing us thus far.

“This administration came at a time that Nigerians needed change, the change we promised and the change we continue to deliver.

“We have faced a lot of challenges on this journey and Nigerians have stood by us in achieving the three cardinal points of this administration namely; security, corruption and the economy.

“The commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day is a celebration of freedom, a salute to the resilience and determination of Nigerians and a recommitment by Government to keep its promise to lead Nigeria into a new era of justice and prosperity,” he noted.      (New Telegraph)

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Buhari, Saraki, Dogara Meet Over Budget, NASS Invasion, Melaye, IGP, Others |RN

Buhari-Saraki-and-Dogara

President Muhamadu Buhari, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker Of the House Of Representatives

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The non-appearance of the of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, the ill-treatment being meted to Senator Dino Melaye, the invasion of National Assembly by suspected thugs as well as the passage of the 2018 budget were among the issues that President Muhammadu Buhari discussed with the leadership of the National Assembly.

Senate President  Bukola Saraki and Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Monday afternoon on the invitation of President Buhari, told State House Correspondents that they talked on the key issues of importance to both arms of government.

Saraki and Dogara, arrived the Aso Rock in the same car to meet with Buhari, barely two hours after he arrived Abuja from his home state of Katsina, where he had participated in the ward congress of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Saraki said the President invited them over to discuss with them his recent visit to the United States of America, the passage of the 2018 Budget, and the invasion of the National Assembly by thugs, but they used the opportunity to complain to him their reservations about the non-appearance of the IGP, despite repeated invitations.

They appealed Buhari to make officers of the executive arm of government operate within the ambit of law in their actions.

Melaye, who represents Kogi West Senatorial Zone, had been accused of gun-running and later, attempted suicide, by the police, which eventually arrested him, confined him to the hospital and later stretchered him to two different courts to face the charges.

Some hoodlums had on April 18th invaded the Senate and made away with the Mace, the symbol of authority.

Saraki on why they were in the Presidential Villa said, “Well, we came on the invitation of Mr President, he wanted to brief us on his trip to the United States and also the issue of the budget. We also talked about the issue of concerns to us, the invasion of the National Assembly, which he showed great concern and said action will be taken to investigate that.”

Asked when they are passing the budget, the Senate President said, “Well, hopefully, it should be laid this week. If it can be laid this week then it can be passed early next week but we are hoping it will be laid this week.”

On what was the President’s response on invasion, Saraki said, “Of course, he sees it as an embarrassment to the country and that there will be a proper investigation because is something that is not just about the National Assembly, it is about the country.”

On efforts to improve the strained relationship between the executive and the legislature, the Senate President said, “You see we are here today, it was the initiative of Mr President to brief us on his visit to America and to engage on discussions and I think that is a good sign. We in the National Assembly have always been ready to give all our support to the executive and we will continue to work along those lines. As I said, the presidential system that we operate, we sometimes have the responsibility to check the excesses of the executive, so there will always be times we will disagree but by and large, we will always work for the interest of Nigerians and always keep on moving on.”

On where the issue of Senator Dino Melaye came up in the meeting, Dogara said, “On the issue of Senator Dino, of course, anything that happens to one of our members or any member of the National Assembly is of concern to us. And there is no way we can have this kind of meeting without raising that. This is a civilian administration, it is a democracy and it is imperative and very very important that all institutions of democracy operate within the ambit of the rule of law.

“There is nowhere,  I have said it before that police will behave in a democracy like a clan of tribesmen, like an upgraded barbarians sort of. So there is the need for us to act with civility. We are not saying that anybody should be protected and defended. Once you have committed an offence, our law said you should answer to it but you just have to utilize the provision of our constitution, the rule of law and that this administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has overemphasised in order to bring people to book. But a situation where people are wheeled to court, that doesn’t give a good image of our democracy. I have not seen a democracy where people are wheeled to court, they are not in the proper frame of mind and they are forced to undergo trial.

“Whatever it is, even if Dino is pretending as some have said it in some section of the media, he cannot pretend forever. He is there, he will not run away, he is a senator and he can be tried any time he is in the proper frame of mind. As a lawyer, I can tell you, any judge that assesses an accused person not to be in a proper frame of mind, even if the accused person pleads guilty, he is duty bound by law to record a plea of not guilty if he is not satisfied as to the soundness of the mind of the accused person.

“So the emphasis is there and I believe the president being a listening president will definitely take steps and do something about it.”

Asked if the issue of planned impeachment process came up in the meeting, Dogara said, no as it wasn’t part of the agenda of the meeting.

“Well, I don’t think we have the authority to discuss issues of impeachment, impeachment is a political offence and I don’t think we are there yet.

“No, never. It wasn’t part of the agenda.”

Saraki speaking on the non-appearance of the IGP said, “Just talking about the issue of the police, we also raised the issue of the non-appearance of the IG at the Senate and felt that they must continue to ensure that he continues to apply obedience to the issue of constituted authority. We are of great concern that this is the first time this is happening and that this matter needs to be addressed considering the importance of the powers of the  constitution that gives investigative powers, also gives to us and that there is need for police to accept that they too are under constitution and they must obey that. We raised that concern.”

Saraki said the meeting was a good one as it touched on some of the important issues. (The Sun)

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