The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has petitioned France, Germany, European Union, United States and United Kingdom over alleged undemocratic actions and constitutional infractions by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The petition, which was made available to journalists on Tuesday, was dated January 27.
Atiku alleged that Buhari was threatening Nigeria’s democracy by “serially breaching the provisions of the nation’s Constitution” and “undermining organs and institutions of state in order to advance his personal interest.”
He listed the alleged constitutional infractions to include the purported suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen; the purchase of Tucano Aircrafts; Executive Order No. 006; the approval of $1bn for military expenditure before approaching the National Assembly and disregard for orders of courts.
According to him, while Buhari had ironically taken oath to safeguard and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the reality of his alleged selective and wanton violations of its provisions meant that his oath was observed only in the breach.
He said, “As a presidential candidate in the forthcoming general elections that will be conducted and supervised by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, I feel the urgent need to share with you some of these key violations of the provisions of our constitution and to demand that you pile pressure on the Federal Government to desist from these violations and ensure a level playing field for the general elections that are only a couple of weeks away.
“We acknowledge with profound appreciation the positions taken by some members of the international community in Nigeria and urge Your Excellency to add your country’s very strong voice against these breaches of Nigeria’s constitution. Your voice is very important to the survival of Nigeria’s democracy.”
The former vice-president said Onnoghen’s suspension by Buhari was extra-constitutional.
He said, “This brazen authoritarian and imperious stride of President Buhari is the latest action in a series of carefully planned onslaught on our nation’s hard-earned democracy by an extremely power-hungry and anxious President and the cabal that feeds fat around him as February 16, 2019 draws nearer.
“The fact that the unlawful suspension of Onnoghen was announced just as it became public knowledge that the CJN was constituting the election petition tribunals is not lost on discerning Nigerians and the international community. This act of desperation is geared towards affecting the outcome of the 2019 presidential elections. Indeed, it is not just the CJN that has been ‘suspended’, it is the Nigerian Constitution that has been infracted and, in effect, suspended, under the guise of the suspension of the CJN.”
He said the purchase of Tucano aircraft by Buhari’s government was illegal. He stated that Buhari’s approval in April 2018 for the purchase of Tucano aircraft for the Nigerian military for $496m was done without seeking prior approval of the National Assembly. He said this was contrary to Section 80 (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which states very clearly how the President can spend funds belonging to the federation.
He alleged that the Buhari administration had serially violated court orders and had gone against the rule of law.
He noted that various courts had granted bail on at least six different occasions to a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, which the government had persistently refused to comply with.
Atiku added, “Similarly, the former NSA; a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda; former Sokoto Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa; and three others were granted bail by Justice Peter Affen on December 21, 2015 but the Federal Government cherry-picked the order whilst disobeying the part that concerned the former NSA.”
The former vice-president also said Buhari’s government had disobeyed many court orders for the release of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, popularly called Shiite, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.
He stated that El-Zakzaky had been in detention without trial for over three years after his followers were massacred in broad daylight; his wife and family killed and his home burnt, “in a gory and shameful show of brute force allegedly by the Nigerian Army.”
The former VP stated that the enactment of the controversial Executive Order No. 006 as an Executive legislation which permitted security agencies to freeze the assets of persons standing trial or undergoing investigation without recourse to court orders was a constitutional infraction.
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