London visit: Lawyer sues Buhari for failing to hand over to Osinbajo

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Human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, has sued President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation over the President’s failure to hand over power to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo when he decided to travel to London on a private visit two weeks ago.

The case, with suit number FHC/L/CS/763/2019, was filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos.

Effiong asked the court to determine whether in view of the extant provisions of Section 145 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Buhari can validly proceed on vacation for any length of time without transmitting a written declaration to the National Assembly to that effect, which will empower the Vice-President to perform the functions of the President in an acting capacity.

The lawyer asked the court to determine whether Buhari’s action in proceeding on vacation to the UK from April 25, 2019 to May 5, 2019 without transmitting the written declaration envisaged in Section 145 (1) of the constitution to National Assembly is not in conflict with the provisions of Section 145 (1) of the constitution.

Effiong asked the court to determine whether the President in refusing to adhere to the clear and unambiguous provisions of Section 145 (1) of the constitution had not by that singular action violated his oath of office and the provisions of the constitution which he swore to uphold.

He asked the court to clarify whether the constitution or any other law for that matter, permits the President to exercise Presidential authority over the affairs of Nigeria from any country outside the territorial jurisdiction of Nigeria, save when he is out of the country on official diplomatic engagements.

Upon the determination of the above questions, Effiong asked for a declaration of the court that by the provisions of Section 145 (1) of the constitution, the President is mandated to compulsorily transmit a written declaration to the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to that effect before proceeding on vacation.

Another relief sought by Effiong reads, “A declaration that the failure of the 1st defendant (Buhari) to comply with Section 145 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) by not transmitting a written declaration to the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to that effect before proceeding on vacation to the United Kingdom from the 25th day of April, 2019 to the 5th day of May, 2019 is a gross violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”

The lawyer asked the court to rule that that since the constitution does not have extra-territorial application, the President cannot exercise Presidential authority over the affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from the United Kingdom, or any other country outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, save when he is outside the country on official diplomatic engagements.

He asked the court to restrain Buhari from proceeding on vacations whether within or outside the Nigeria without transmitting a written declaration to the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in compliance with section 145 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.Punch

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