Asking Buhari To Resign Is Not An Offence, Release Tanko-Yakasai – Falana

A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

 

A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), says it is no crime for any citizen to call for President Muhammadu Buhari’s resignation.

Falana’s statement is not unconnected to the arrest of Salihu Yakasai, a former special adviser on Media to Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.

State security operatives reported arrested Yakasai shortly after criticizing President Buhari on Twitter.

Reacting to the arrest, Falana condemned the action of the Department of State Services stating that there is no justification for the arrest and detention of Yakassai.

In a statement titled, ‘Asking Buhari to Resign is Not An Offence’, the rights activist noted that many politicians and activists have continued to call for Buhari resignation due to the deteriorating security situation across the country.

He further argued that in the past those who called for the resignation of former presidents did not get intimidated nor arrested.

“It is on record that the APC and its leaders including General Mohammadu Buhari; National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinibu; Malam Nasir El-rufai and Alhaji Lai Mohammed repeatedly called for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s resignation between 2013 and 2014. Yet they were never subjected to any form of intimidation for exercising their freedom of expression at the material time. Since the call for President Buhari’s resignation is likely to continue to be made by other concerned individuals and groups over the virtual collapse of the security architecture.”

Falana demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Tanko-Yankassai from illegal custody.

He however noted that if the State Security Service has evidence that the “political detainee” has committed any criminal offence known to the law, then he should be transferred to the police for proper investigation and possible prosecution.

Below is the right advocate’s full statement regarding Salihu Yakasai’s arrest.

On Friday, February 27, 2021, Mr. Salisu Tanko-Yankassai, the Special Adviser on Media to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state called on President Mohammadu Buhari to either guarantee the security of the Nigerian people or resign from office. Even though Mr. Tanko-Yankassai was legitimately exercising his freedom of expression enshrined in section 39 of the Constitution he was sacked by Governor Ganduje and arrested by the State Security Service. ASCAB has confirmed that Mr. Tanko- Yankassai is being held incommunicado in an undisclosed detention facility.

Having regard to the fact that civil rights advocates, retired military officers, and political party leaders including chieftains of the All Progressive Congress have repeatedly asked President Buhari to call it quits due to the worsening insecurity in the country there is no justification whatsoever for the arrest and detention of Mr. Tanko- Yankassai. In both Chambers of the national assembly there have been strident calls by legislators for President Buhari’s resignation or impeachment on the ground that criminal gangs have taken over the monopoly of violence in the country. Since such concerned citizens were never arrested the ongoing harassment of Mr. Tanko- Yankassai is high handed, discriminatory and illegal.

It is on record that the APC and its leaders including General Mohammadu Buhari; National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinibu; Malam Nasir El-rufai and Alhaji Lai Mohammed repeatedly called for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s resignation between 2013 and 2014. Yet they were never subjected to any form of intimidation for exercising their freedom of expression at the material time. Since the call for President Buhari’s resignation is likely to continue to be made by other concerned individuals and groups over the virtual collapse of the security architecture of the neocolonial State it is pertinent to draw the attention of the State Security Service to the case of Arthur Nwankwo v The State 1985 6 NCLR 228 where the Court of Appeal charged the Nigerian people to engage in relentless criticism of democratically elected governments. In particular, Olajide Olatawura JCA (as he then was of blessed memory) had this to say:

“The decision of the founding fathers of the present Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech which must include freedom to criticise should be praised and any attempt to derogate from it except as provided by the constitution must be resisted. Those in public office should not be intolerant of criticism in respect of their office so as to ensure that they are accountable to the people. They should not be made to feel that they live in an ivory tower and therefore belong to a different class. They must develop thick skins and where possible, plug their ears with wool if they feel too sensitive or irascible.”

In view of the foregoing, we demand for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Tanko-Yankassai from illegal custody. However, if the State Security Service has evidence that the political detainee has committed any criminal offence known to law he should be transferred to the Police for proper investigation and possible prosecution without any delay.

Femi Falana SAN,
Interim Chair,
Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB)

#EndSARS Aftermath: CBN Must Desist From Jumping Into The Political Arena – Falana

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stay out of politics and stick to the business of banking.

Falana’s call was made in reaction to the unfreezing of bank accounts belonging to 20 #EndSARS promoters.

Following the #EndSARS protest that rocked the nation in October 2020, the CBN obtained an injunction from the court to freeze the accounts of certain individuals and a public affairs company linked to the #EndSARS protests, a move which Mr. Falana describes as a case of intimidation.

The human rights lawyer who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily argued that the apex bank went out of its way.

“I do hope that sufficient lessons have been learnt particularly by the Central Bank to desist from jumping into the political arena by attempting to freeze the accounts of people who are involved in the struggle one way or the other against the government,” he stated.

Falana further argued that the CBN misled the court into believing that some grave offenses had been committed, which would require time to run an investigation.

He however noted that no offense was committed and no attempt was made by the Central Bank to investigate any individual.

The lawyer urged the CBN to be more circumspect in the future, adding that the individuals whose accounts were frozen will be going to court to challenge the “gross violation” of their rights to their property.

READ ALSO: Nigerians Threaten Fresh Protests Over Reopening Of Lekki Tollgate

President Buhari Tolerated Excesses Of #EndSARS Protesters – Malami

While Mr. Falana argues that the rights of the #EndSARS campaigners were infringed, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, says President Muhammadu Buhari tolerated the ‘excesses’ of #EndSARS protesters in the country, back in October 2020.

According to the AGF, that, among other actions of the president is proof of his leniency, despite what he termed as “human rights violations” in the country.

Mr. Malami said this on Wednesday while addressing a number of issues from the government’s reaction to the #EndSARS protests, to the appointment of new service chiefs, the extension of the appointment of the Inspector-General of Police, among others.

“As far as Human Rights records of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is concerned, the fact speaks for itself, the commendation by the international body which is the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, local compliance with the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission, which has been unprecedented, tolerance and indeed, accommodation for the excesses of the #EndSARS protesters were all facts that go to establish a point that the government of President Buhari has shown greater accommodation of the human rights violation and the tolerance to the human rights record as far as the Nigerian State is concerned,” the AGF said on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

According to him, “no nation in the world could have tolerated the idea of destruction to its security institutions”.

“I think over 20 police stations or more — I’m not certain about the number, they can be more — were destroyed during #EndSARS protests and government has a responsibility to ensure the protection of lives and freedom of movement.

“We are confronted with a situation whereby #EndSARS protesters blocked roads, caused mayhem, caused deaths, caused destruction, and they were significantly tolerated to a certain extent,” he added.

Meanwhile, the AGF also reacted to the court order on the Central Bank of Nigeria to unfreeze bank accounts of #EndSARS promoters.

He explained that the law provides the Federal Government with other options which include the right to challenge or exercise further considerations on the matter if the need arises.

New Service Chiefs: We Are Operating In An Atmosphere Of Impunity – Falana

 

Human Rights Lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), says the nation has continued in its habit of operating under an atmosphere of impunity. 

Speaking on the appointment of the new Service Chiefs, Mr. Falana said going on to appoint the new leaders of the Armed Forces without the confirmation by the two chambers of the National Assembly, constitutes a disregard for the rule of law.

Mr. Falana who was a guest on Channels Television Sunrise Daily said the provisions within section 218 of the constitution empower the National Assembly to approve the appointment of the Service Chiefs.

According to the rights lawyer, the new service chiefs have only been nominated by the president and are awaiting confirmation by the legislators.

READ ALSO: Service Chiefs Nominated But Not Appointed Yet, Says Falana

Falana was of the opinion that the whole essence of a presidential system of government is to ensure that there are checks and balances.

“Section 18 of the Armed Forces Act makes provision for both chambers of the National Assembly to approve the appointments of Service Chiefs.

“These laws were interpreted in the case of Festus Keyamo versus the President of Nigeria and the decision was rendered in 2018 by retired Justice Adamu Bello.

“The government did not appeal that judgment, in that case, the court held that by the combined effect of section 218 of the constitution and section 18 of the Armed Forces Act, the National Assembly shall approve or confirm the appointment of Service Chiefs.”

According to the Senior Advocate, these laws have not been obeyed in the latest appointment of Service Chiefs by the president.

Repeated calls and appointment of new service chiefs

President Buhari on Wednesday accepted the immediate resignation of the former leaders of the armed forces and appointed new officers as replacements.

Major-General Leo Irabor replaced General Abayomi Olonisakin as Chief of Defence Staff; Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao replaced Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar as Chief of Air Staff; Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo replaced Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas as Chief of Naval Staff; while General Ibrahim Attahiru replaced Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai as Chief of Army Staff.

The replacement of the Service Chiefs came after numerous calls for their sack over the increasing insecurity in the country.

But despite debates over the reason behind the replacement, the Presidency has maintained that it was considered the best decision for the country at the moment.

President Buhari appreciated the outgoing Service Chiefs for what he calls their “overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country,” wishing them well in their future endeavours.

 

Police Training Is Colonial, Completely Primitive – Falana

 

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana, SAN, on Wednesday carried out a scathing review of the Nigeria Police, tracing the reason behind the rights violations, extortion, and brutality that has sparked protests across the country.

During an appearance on Politics Today, via a Skype call, the senior advocate traced the problem to how policemen and women are trained for their roles.

It is a process he believes is archaic and leaves officers with “no idea of human rights, human relations”.

“We are really not addressing the problems,” he warned referring to efforts made to reform the police.

“The training of the police is colonial; completely primitive. A man joining the Police Force, he goes to the police college. A woman goes to the police college dehumanised. A cannot make her hair; she has to cut her hair. A man has to shave his hair to the skull. The feeding is bad.”

READ ALSO: #EndSWAT: No SARS Officer Will Be Part Of New Tactical Team – Police

Falana’s comments come amid widespread protests against police brutality, especially the activities of the now-dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad that became notorious for extortion, assault, and killings.

The human rights lawyer who has repeatedly condemned rights violations by the police is not, however, surprised by the terror unleashed on citizens by members of the unit and many of their colleagues in the force overtime.

Police training in the country, he said, prepares them to disregard rights.

“They are trained like colonial policemen to brutalise the society and that is what is going on,” he said.

And it is not just starting.

According to him, as far back as the Second Republic, issues of extrajudicial killings had emerged with the Nigerian Mobile Police unit at the receiving end of allegations of brutality.

“So, those who are in mobile unit – we used to call them kill and go in the Second Republic under IGP (Sunday) Adewusi (in office from 1981-1983), that has transformed into SARS.”

The brutality as far as Falana is concerned is implanted in their psyche at the police college.

“What is the training in the college? They (trainees) are teargassed in rooms without windows. And for them (the authorities) that is the way to train them. They are beaten, tortured, and the feeding is bad,” he said.

“So when the man or the woman comes out of the college, he wants to brutalise the society that dehumanised him in the college.”

Then there is the issue of poor salaries and welfare with barracks and stations denied adequate funding.

“Police stations are not funded. So, daily, to run the station, the DPOs depend on extortion of money from the public, from suspects,” Falana added.

“Some stations are not built by the government but by members of the community.”

#EndSWAT: There’s No Indication Govt Is Prepared To Respect Nigerians’ Rights – Falana

 

Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, has faulted the Federal Government for setting up a new unit called the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team, to replace the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Unit (SARS).

During an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Wednesday, Falana said a change of name was not enough and it appears there’s no indication that the government is prepared to respect the rights of Nigerians.

“As far as I’m concerned, so far, we are only scratching the surface of the problem and there’s been no indication that the government is prepared yet to respect the rights of the Nigerian people embodied in the constitution and other statues,” he said.

Just like many other Nigerians, Mr Falana believes that the problems go beyond a name change and, therefore, more concrete steps ought to be taken to bring about real change to policing in Nigeria.

Read Also: #EndSWAT: Several Injured As Hoodlums Attack Protesters In Abuja

“For me, it is not actually the name that matters and I think what the youths are saying is that beyond renaming, they want to see concrete steps taken to show that it is not going to be business as usual when it comes to policing in Nigeria,”.

The lawyer challenged state governors to also rise up to the occasion by doing all within their power to ensure the safety of its residents, rather than solely relying on the Federal Government.

“It is supposed to be a joint responsibility,” he said.

Speaking further, Falana said Nigerians owe the youths a lot of gratitude for “the peaceful manner in which they have carried out the protests and also for waking all of us up to our responsibilities”.

Onochie Not Qualified To Be INEC Commissioner, Says Falana

 

 

Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, has faulted the appointment of Lauretta Onochie, an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari as a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In a statement signed on Tuesday, hours after the President announced the appointment, Mr Falana listed some criteria provided in the Constitution to determine who is fit for the position.

One of the criteria included the fact that members must not be partisan – a rule which he says Mrs Lauretta is not compliant with.

He described her as an “unrepentant member” of the ruling party and one who has “consistently attacked members of other political parties.

“To that extent, she is partisan and therefore, not qualified to be a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission,” Falana said.

Read Also: No Single Protester Was Killed In Lagos – CP

President Buhari is seeking confirmation of Mrs Lauretta’s appointment as a National Commissioner for INEC, representing Delta State.

He made this known in a letter written to the Senate on Tuesday, which was later read by Senator Ahmed Lawan at plenary.

The President is also seeking confirmation of the appointment of three other; Professor Mohammed Sani (Katsina); Professor Kunle Ajayi (Ekiti), and Seidu Ahmed (Jigawa).

See full statement below: 

MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS OF POLITICAL PARTIES ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO BE INEC COMMISSIONERS

In view of the desire of President Muhammadu Buhari to fill some vacancies in the Independent National Electoral Commission it has become pertinent to draw the attention of the Council of State and the Senate to the following provisions of the Constitution:

1. In appointing the members of the INEC the President is required to consult with the Council of State pursuant to section 154 (3) of the Constitution;

2. Paragraph B of Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution provides that “The Council of State shall have power to advise the President in the exercise of his powers with respect to (iv) the Independent National Electoral Commission including the appointment of the members of the Commission.

3. Pursuant to section 154 (1) of the Constitution, the appointment of the members of the Independent National Electoral Commission shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate;

4. Paragraph 14 of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution as amended by Section 30, Act No 1 of 2010, a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission “shall be non-partisan”.

From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that a card-carrying member of a registered political party or a well known supporter of a particular political party is constitutionally disqualified from the membership of the Independent National Electoral Commission. As an unrepentant member of the ruling party Mrs Loretta Onochie has consistently attacked members of other political parties. To that extent, she is partisan and therefore not qualified to be a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Femi Falana SAN

Interim Chair,
Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB)

 


#SARSMUSTEND PROTESTS CONTINUE ACROSS NIGERIA.

 

A presidential panel on Tuesday approved the demands of #SARSMUSEND protesters, including halting the use of force against protesters and the unconditional release of arrested citizens.

Infectious Disease Bill Is Superfluous, Unconstitutional – Falana

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, says there is no need for the Infectious Diseases Bill

The proposed Infectious Diseases Bill co-sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and two of his colleagues has been described as superfluous, illegal and unconstitutional.

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, told Channels Television on Wednesday that the efforts to replace the Quarantine Act was a waste of time as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Act of 2018 has taken care of what the lawmakers are trying to achieve.

Mr Falana, who spoke about the controversial bill during an appearance, via Skype, on Politics Today, said, “It is pertinent to inform Nigerians that in November 2018, a law was enacted in this country – the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control Act, NCDC Act, which has taken care of infectious diseases in the country.

“So, it is not correct, in fact, it is misleading on the part of the House of Representatives to say that it is amending the 1926 Quarantine Act because there is already a development between 1926 and now. You had the 2018 Act which has taken care of the entire provisions of the new bill.

“The new bill, as far as the law is concerned, is superfluous. Its provisions are largely illegal and unconstitutional.”

A close look at some sections of the said Act shows that the legislation empowers the NCDC to prevent, detect, monitor and control of national and international public health importance.

The law also empowers the NCDC to develop and coordinate capabilities, measures and activities to control outbreaks and mitigate the health impact of public health disasters.

 

As Nigeria battles the raging COVID-19 pandemic, several measures have been implemented to halt the spread of the virus which has infected 2,950 people in the country and claimed 98 lives.

The introduction of the infectious disease bill has, however, proved controversial with many calling for it to be dumped.

READ ALSO: Infectious Diseases Bill Conceived In Public Interest – Gbajabiamila

On Tuesday, in reaction to the controversy surrounding the bill, Mr Gbajabiamila defended it, saying it was conceived in public interest.

Gbajabiamila while addressing his colleagues at the resumption of plenary noted that since the introduction of the Bill a week ago, it drew a barrage of criticisms against it, with allegations of sinister motives.

“None of these allegations are true. Unfortunately, we now live in a time when conspiracy theories have gained such currency that genuine endeavours in the public interest can quickly become mischaracterised and misconstrued to raise the spectre of sinister intent and ominous possibility,” he said.

“This House of Representatives will never take any action that purposes to bring harm to any Nigerian here at home or abroad. As we have thus far shown by our conduct, the resolutions and actions we take in this 9th House of Representatives will always be in the best interests of the Nigerian people who elected us, and no one else.

“In the recent uproar, certain fundamental truths have been lost and are worth remembering. Our current framework for the prevention and management of infectious diseases is obsolete and no longer fit for purpose.

“The current law severely constrains the ability of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to take proactive action to prevent the entry into Nigeria of infectious diseases and the management of public health emergencies when they occur,” he said.

Coronavirus: Declare State Of Emergency, Falana Tells Buhari

Femi Falana

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a State of Emergency in the country.

Mr. Falana’s reaction comes amid the spread of the deadly coronavirus in the country.

“Last week, the Federal Government and a few state governments belatedly responded to the coronavirus pandemic,” Falana said in a statement released on Monday.

“Since then the authorities have advised Nigerians to comply with certain measures to contain the dreaded disease.

“But as the said measures are not backed by any law they have been ignored by some highly placed Nigerians including political and religious leaders. Millions of other people have also disregarded them out of sheer ignorance.

“In order to stem the dangerous trend, the Federal Government should put necessary legal measures and mechanisms in place without any further delay.

“In particular, the attention of the Nigerian people ought to be drawn to section 45 of the Constitution which provides that the fundamental rights of citizens to personal liberty, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and association etc may be infringed upon or restricted in the interest of public health and public safety.”

Mr. Falana said that in line with Section 305 (1) of the constitution, the President should proclaim a State of Emergency on the nation.

“Therefore, President Muhammadu Buhari should, as a matter of urgency, issue a proclamation of a state of emergency in the entire Federation pursuant to section 305 (1) of the Constitution.

“Once the proclamation is issued by the President and published it is required to be approved by a resolution supported by a two-thirds majority of each house of the national assembly.

“Once the measures are set out in the said proclamation they will have the force of law capable of being enforced by the police and other security agencies. If President Buhari does not declare a state of emergency state governors are advised to issue Executive Orders to address the health challenge.

“However, it is pertinent to point out that the majority of the inmates in the nation’s highly congested correctional centres are not in a position to observe the social distancing policy recommended for the Nigerian people by the Federal Government.

“In the circumstances, the Federal Government should embark on the much-delayed decongestion of all detention facilities in the country. All inmates that are awaiting trial in all correctional centres, police stations and other detention facilities should be granted bail while convicts who are suffering from diabetes, tuberculosis, asthma and terminal diseases should be released from custody forthwith.

“TIME IS NOT ON OUR SIDE”!

President Buhari Is Breaking The Law – The Week In Quotes

 

The passing week has been a highly explosive one, especially in Nigeria’s political sphere.

Here are some quotes that give us a feel of what transpired in Nigeria and around the world in the passing week.

1. Buhari is running afoul of the law.

Mr Femi Falana

A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana on Monday says President Muhammadu Buhari is running afoul of the law in his decision not to terminate the current crop of security Service Chiefs.

2. No one in the country has a right to take laws into his hands by the way of self-help or revenge. Local communities that catch bandits should hand over the suspects to law enforcement authorities instead of meting out capital punishment, leading to a cycle of revenge and counter revenge.

President Muhammadu Buhari condemns the latest rounds of attacks and killings between bandits and residents in Damkal and Tsanwa villages in Batsari local government area of Katsina state.

3. Are you midwives of good things for Nigeria?

A Kenyan professor of law, Patrick Lumumba, calls on Nigerian lawmakers to work for the betterment of the people.

4. Introduction of community policing is a fraud.

The lawmaker representing Enugu West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Ike Ekweremadu, says community policing is a “fraud”.

Insecurity: Presidency Has No Power To Stop Peaceful Protests – Falana

File photo

 

Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), has said that the Presidency has no power to stop any peaceful protest by aggrieved Nigerians who are calling for the replacement of the service chiefs.

Mr Falana, while responding to a statement credited to a presidential spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu, on Sunday, said Nigerians have the fundamental right to demonstrate for or against the Federal Government.

The senior lawyer quoted Mr Shehu: “The Presidency wishes to caution a section of the political class against misleading the public and inciting protests against the heads of military institutions.

“This has become necessary in view of received reports that about 2, 000 men and women have been hired to demonstrate against Nigeria’s service chiefs on Monday.”

READ ALSO: Insecurity: NASS, Presidency Committed To Finding Lasting Solutions

He, however, cautioned that the Nigeria Police Force should not harass aggrieved Nigerians for protesting against perceived injustice in the country.

“The authorities of the Nigeria Police Force are urged not to harass aggrieved Nigerians for protesting against perceived injustice in the country.

“Nigerians have the fundamental right to demonstrate for or against the federal government without official fiat the Presidency has no power to stop any peaceful protest in the country.

“In fact, the right to assemble and protest peaceful was won by the Nigerian people in the case of All Nigerian People’s Party v Inspector-General of Police (2008) 12 WRN 65,” he stated.

Mr Falana noted that leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had in 2014, held a protest against insecurity.

“It was in the exercise of the right of freedom of expression that APC leaders including General Mohammadu Buhari, Chief John Oyegun, Dr Sylvester Onu and Mr Rotimi Amaechi had participated in the protest held at Abuja on November 20, 2014, against insecurity under the erstwhile Jonathan administration.”

Amotekun: AGF’s Statement Is Clearly Diversionary And Hypocritical – Falana

 

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, has said that the Attorney General’s statement concerning Operation Amotekun is diversionary and hypocritical.

The human rights lawyer stated this while featuring as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

Falana said, “In this case, the statement credited to the Attorney General of the Federal Government is clearly diversionary and hypocritical. Hypocritical in the sense that the governments of Kano and Zamfara states have set up HISBAH Commission and just recently, the HISBAH operatives in Zamfara State arrested a police officer alleged to have been caught in the midst of three women.”

 

Speaking further, Falana noted that in the northeast zone, there is a civilian JTF made up of 26000 volunteers armed to assist the military in waging the counter-insurgence operations.

READ ALSO: FG Declares Operation Amotekun Illegal

Citing other examples, the rights activist stated that in Lagos state there is the neighborhood watch created by law, an organization that he argues is working and assisting the police to address security challenges in the state.

According to Falana, it is disturbing that the Attorney General of the Federal Government can say that his legal opinion was not sought, stressing that there is no constitutional nexus between the Attorney General of the Federal Government and the state governments in that each state of the Federal Republic has its own Attorney General.

He argued that to talk of the Attorney General of the Federation is a misnomer, a carry-over from the military era. Falana explained that Mr. Malami is the Attorney General of the Federal Government in Abuja while other states have their own Attorney Generals to advise the government.

Having said this, the Senior Advocate surmised that the AGF has no power to proscribe any organisation in Nigeria.

‘It Is Unlawful For Buhari’s Daughter To Use Presidential Jet For Private Affairs’ – Falana

 

 

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, has said that the private use of the Presidential Jet by members of President Buhari’s immediate family, is not in accordance with law. 

Falana in a statement on Sunday urged President Buhari to stop members of his family from using the aircraft within the presidential fleet.

The erudite scholar noted that the “official policy” of the federal government “does not authorise the children of the President to use the presidential jets to attend to private social functions”.

He added that there is no precedent whatsoever for such privatisation of the presidency of Nigeria.

Falana further stressed that at the inception of his government, President Buhari had promised to reduce the cost of maintaining aircraft in the presidential fleet, which according to him, stands at N8.5 billion in the 2020 budget.

“On October 27, 2016, the Presidency confirmed the newspaper reports of the planned sale of the two Presidential aircraft, a Falcon 7x executive jet and Hawker 4000.

“In a press statement issued by the Presidency through the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu the Nigerian people were informed that President Buhari had directed that the aircraft in the Presidential air fleet be reduced to cut down on waste.

“The presidential spokesman reminded Nigerians that President Buhari was elected in 2015 on a commitment to crack down on the country’s systemic corruption, hence downsizing the outlandish presidential fleet had been among his campaign pledges.

“‘In particular, Mr. Shehu had said inter alia:

“‘When he campaigned to be President, the then APC candidate Muhammadu Buhari, if you recall, promised to look at the presidential air fleet with a view to cutting down on waste’.

“His directive to a government committee on this assignment is that he liked to see a compact and reliable aircraft for the safe airlift of the President, the Vice President, and other government officials that go on special missions.”

“President Buhari’s directive on the use of the presidential fleet which was adopted by the Federal Government was popularly acclaimed by Nigerians.

“Since then the national assembly has ensured that the annual Appropriation Bills enacted into law have made provision for the maintenance of the aircraft in the presidential fleet in line with the official policy.

“In the 2020 Appropriation Act the sum of N8.5 billion was earmarked for the maintenance of the aircraft in the presidential fleet,” Falana explained.

READ ALSO: Presidential Fleet Not For Hanan’s Photography Trip, PDP Tells Buhari

Falana went on to argue that when on January 10, 2020, one of the daughters of President Buhari was reported to have travelled from Abuja to Bauchi in a presidential jet for a private engagement, it was in utter breach of the official policy of the Federal Government.

Hanan Buhari, the president’s daughter, had flown in a presidential jet to Bauchi on Thursday for a private function.

Many Nigerians condemned the action, but the presidency defended it.

Mr. Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesman, said it is normal practice for the president’s family to use the presidential aircraft.

Reacting to the presidency’s claim, Falana stated that instead of apologising for the breach of the official policy, the Presidency has defended the use of the presidential jet for the private visit of a member of the first family.

He said the presidency is incorrect as it is at variance with the official policy of the Federal Government, adding that the official policy does not authorise the children of the President to use the presidential jets to attend to private social functions.

“In fact, there is no precedent whatsoever for such privatisation of the presidency of Nigeria. Having publicly declared that his administration would maintain “a compact and reliable aircraft for the safe airlift of the President, the Vice President and other government officials that go on special missions” President Buhari is estopped from allowing members of the first family to use the jets for their private affairs,” Falana opined.

The rights advocate stated that the so-called ‘normal practice’ of using the aircraft in the presidential fleet by members of the first family to attend to private engagements is not backed by any extant law or official policy.

According to Falana, the use of the aircraft in the presidential fleet by the Senate President, House Speaker and Chief Justice of Nigeria has not been approved by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission which is the statutory body empowered by the Constitution and the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission Act to determine the remuneration and allowances of all political office holders in Nigeria.

The Senior Advocate was of the opinion that a country which is said to be the headquarters of the greatest number of poverty-stricken people in the world cannot afford to waste billions of Naira on the use of presidential aircraft and the hiring of commercial jets by state governors that are owing workers several months of unpaid salaries.