Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, Osun State has approved a judicial review of the suit requesting it to compel the National Assembly to begin impeachment process against President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, Ilesa branch, Mr. Kanmi Ajibola and a human rights activist, Mr. Suleiman Adeniyi, had urged the court to compel the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceeding against the president.
In his ruling, Justice Maurine Onyetenu granted leave to the lawyers to commence process of seeking its intervention to compel the National Assembly to perform the action of beginning the process for President Buhari’s impeachment.
The lawyers need to first seek and obtain leave of court by motion ex parte before beginning judicial review. This will entail the National Assembly being heard.
The plaintiffs had three months ago written to both the lower and the upper chambers of the National Assembly on the need to impeach President Buhari, citing alleged constitutional breaches by the president and threatened that they would approach the court if they failed to act accordingly.
But when the lawmakers failed to comply, they filed a suit asking for an order of mandamus to compel both the Senate and the House of Representatives to start the impeachment proceedings against the president.
In the suit filed on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, Adeniyi and Ajibola hinged their arguments on four grounds on why the National Assembly should impeach the president.
In the motion ex parte, the duo claimed that in flagrant violation of the 1999 constitution, President Buhari contested election, won and was sworn in as the president on May 29, 2015 without possessing the basic constitutional requirements, which would have qualified him to contest for the election.
They further alleged that the president, in flagrant violation of section 137 (1) (j) of the 1999 constitution presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the purpose of the 2015 presidential election that brought him to the office of the president
Besides, they accused the president of treating the orders of the court with disdain and abusing the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at will, particularly from the angle of the observance of the federal character as contained in section 14 of the constitution.
“The 4th Respondent on the 29th day of May 2015, took an oath of office, among others, to the effect that, he would rule in accordance to and protect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, particularly section 14 (2) (b) which stipulates that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.
“In the contrary, the 4th Respondent has proved to be unable to guarantee the security of lives and property of the citizens of the federal Republic of Nigeria in fulfillment of his oath of Office. The herdsmen killings of the innocent citizens under the 4th Respondent have been uncountable, unbearable and unprecedented overheating figures in the globe.
“The 4th Respondent in contravention of the due process and sections 80 and 81 of the 1999 constitution spent about $496 million on the purchase of Tucano Jets without the approval of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as required by the law.
“The 4th Respondent ordered to be withdrawing money from the public fund of the Federation without the approval of the National Assembly or the authorization of its act and same used for the purchase of Tucano Jets.
“The 4th Respondent has committed several impeachable offences, that is, gross misconduct.
“By the provision of section 143 of the 1999 constitution, the 1st to 3rd Respondents (The Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly) have the statutory duty to impeach the 4th Respondent as the president and Commander in – Chief of Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on gross misconduct.
“The 1st to 3rd Respondents have closed their eyes to the gross misconduct of the 4th Respondent.
The duo told the court that they had the right and duty to compel the 1st and 3rd Respondents to perform their statutory duty of impeachment against the 4th Respondent, as it bordered on the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Citing several constitutional authorities in the written address in support of the motion ex parte and with 44-paragraph affidavits, the duo posed some questions by putting Nigeria side by side with some developed nations.
“Can the conduct of the 4th Respondent, particularly on the presentation of a forged certificate, be condoned in America or great Britain unchecked?”
Further hearing on the matter has been fixed for October 30.