Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that President Muhammadu Buhari has the power to issue Executive Order Number 6.
Besides, Mohammed described the Executive Order as the administration’s most potent weapon against corruption.
The minister stated this at a press conference in Lagos, on Sunday, where he explained that section 5 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, which extends to the execution and maintenance of the constitution, all laws made by the National Assembly, mandated president Buhari to abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power, and challenged those opposed to it to go court.
‘’The truth is that, having realised the potency of the Order in giving muscle to the fight against corruption, which, by the way, is one of the three cardinal programmes of our administration, the corrupt and their cohorts have become jittery. They have every reason to be. Henceforth, it won’t be business as usual.
“For those who claim that the Executive Order Number 6 is dictatorial, it is clear they have not even read it. Section 3 (i) of the Order states that any person who alleges that his rights have been violated, are being or are likely to be contravened by any of the provision of this Executive Order, may apply to a competent court in his jurisdiction for redress,’’ said Mohammed.
Last week, the National Assembly urged the president to suspend its implementation, having noted that it is similar to Decree 2 of 1984.
Regardless, Mohammed noted that executive orders are neither new to Nigeria nor will president Buhari be the first to sign them. “In 1980, then President Shehu Shagari issued an Executive Order to modify the Public Order Act. This was unsuccessfully challenged in court by then governors of Ogun and Borno states and, in 1999, then President Olusegun Obasanjo issued executive orders to abolish the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and to proclaim May 29 as Democracy Day”, he said.
According to the minister, the war against corruption must be won, in order to free resources for the nation’s development. He also noted that it is the new measure became necessary to “re-kit and re-tool’’ the administration’s arsenal to effectively tackle corruption.
Mohammed said even in the United States of America, after which Nigeria’s presidential system of government is fashioned, presidents, starting from George Washington to Donal Trump, have used Executive Orders to shape policies.
“George Washington, who was president of the US from 1789 to 1797, issued eight Executive Orders. Franklin Roosevelt (1933-1945) issued 3,522 Executive Orders; Barack Obama (2008-2016) issued 275 in eight years; Bill Clinton (1993-2001) 364 and current President Donald Trump, 80 so far. Recently, the US Supreme Court upheld, 5-4, President Trump’s indefinite ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, That ban was the result of an Executive Order.’’
The minister hailed president Buhari for showing uncommon courage and leadership by unveiling Nigeria’s most potent tool against corruption, and appealed to Nigerians to support the administration’s efforts to tackle the cankerworm of corruption.
Executive Order No. 6 of 2018 aims to, among others, restrict dealings in suspicious assets, subject to investigation or inquiry bordering on corruption in order to preserve such assets from dissipation, and to deprive alleged criminals of the proceeds of their illicit activities which can otherwise be employed to allure, pervert and/or intimidate the investigative and judicial processes.