Inibehe Effiong, Lagos based human rights lawyer, has filed a suit against President Muhammadu Buhari over his recent private visit to the UK.
In the suit with number FHC/L/CS/763/2019 filed at the federal high court in Lagos on Thursday, Buhari and Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation are listed as the first and second defendants.
Femi Adesina, a presidential spokesman, has announced on April 25, that the president was leaving for the UK on a “private visit”.
In the originating summons made available to TheCable, Effiong asked that the president clarify whether, in view of the extant provisions of Section 145 (1) of the constitution, he can validly proceed on a vacation for any length of time without transmitting a written declaration to the president of the senate and speaker of the house of representatives.
“Whether the 1st defendant in refusing to adhere to the clear and unambiguous provisions of Section 145 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) has not by the singular action violated his oath of office and the Provisions of the Constitution which he swore to uphold,” the suit read.
“Whether the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) or any other law for that matter, permits the 1st defendant to exercise presidential authority over the affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from any country outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, save when he is out of the country on official diplomatic engagements.”
The lawyer is seeking a declaration that Buhari’s visit to the UK is a gross violation of the law as he did not transmit any letter to the national assembly before proceeding on the vacation.
He is also seeking a court order restraining Buhari from going on vacations whether within or outside the country without transmitting a letter to the national assembly.
Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesman, had however argued that it was unnecessary for the president to inform the national assembly of his private trip to the UK.
“The president didn’t make a mistake by taking off without writing a letter to the national assembly because it was unnecessary. In some of the leading democracies, it’s conventional that in fact, a prime minister can be asked to leave the public space for private time at least once in a month in some countries,” he had said.
In 2017, Buhari spent 51 days in the European country on medical vacation during which Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo assumed the role of acting president.
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