Court Slates July 2 to Hear Lawyer’s Suit Seeking Buhari’s iImpeachment Over Purchase of $496m Tucano Jets

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has slated July 2, 2018 to commence hearing of the suit brought before it by an Abuja based lawyer, Johnmary Jideobi, asking the court to okay President Muhammadu Buhari’s impeachment by the National Assembly under Section 143 of the 1999 constitution.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/484/2018, before Justice Binta Nyako, the plaintiff wants the court to declare that President Buhari committed an impeachable offence by granting anticipatory approval for the release of $496 million from the federation account without recourse to the National Assembly as prescribed by Section 80 (3) and (4) of the Constitution.
Joined along with the President as defendants in the suit, are the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and Clerk of the National Assembly.
The lawyer is specifically praying the court to declare that, “Under the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, neither the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, National Economic Council, nor any other person or body howsoever named, has the power(s) to either authorize or approve of any form of withdrawal or expenditure of any sum of money from any public fund of the federation, unless the issue of those monies has been authorized by an Act of the National Assembly”.
He also wants the court to declare the President Buhari violated the Nigerian Constitution (and thereby breached his oath of office) when he granted anticipatory approval for the release of $496, 374, 470.00 from the public fund, without the said released sum having been previously authorised by an Act of the National Assembly as prescribed by Section 80 (3) and (4) of the Constitution.
Other reliefs sought by the lawyer are, a court declaration, “That upon a calm reading of the decision of the Nigerian Supreme Court in Inakoju vs. Adeleke (2007) 4 NWLR (Pt. 1025), the violation of Section 80 (3) and (4) of the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (being a fiscal provision) and usurpation of the Legislative powers of the National Assembly by the 1st Defendant (Buhari) are grave violations of the Constitution and gross misconduct capable of grounding removal proceedings against the 1st Defendant by the National Assembly under Section 143 of the Amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
As well as an injunctive order, perpetually restraining the 1st Defendant and every other person or authority acting under his command or exercising the executive powers of the Federation from further granting or purporting to grant approval or authorization to any person for any form of withdrawal or expenditure of any sum of money from any public fund of the Federation unless the issue of those monies have been authorized by an Act of the National Assembly”.
Barrister Jideobi, who urged the court to hold that he has the locus standi to file the suit, contended that Section 80 (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, provided that money should not be withdrawn from any public fund of the Federation unless the issue of such money have been authorized by an Act of the National Assembly or in a manner prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
He told the court that on April 13 2018, President Buhari wrote to the Senate intimating it of having granted anticipatory approval for the release of $496, 374, 470.00 (equivalent to N151, 394, 421, 335.00) from the public fund without the said sum having been previously authorized by an Act of the National Assembly as prescribed by Section 80 (3) and (4) of the Constitution.
“Subsequent to the anticipatory approval granted by the 1st Defendant, the sum of $496, 374, 470.00 (equivalent to N151, 394, 421, 335.00) was released and transferred to the United States Treasury (for the purchase of super Tucano Aircraf) without a prior authorization for such release and payment by an Act of the National Assembly”.
He argued that under the 1999 Constitution, anticipatory approval for the release of any sum of money from any public fund of the Federation by the President in circumvention of the mandatory demands of section 80 (3) and (4) “has no constitutional foundation and is unknown to both the Constitution and its framers”.
According to the plaintiff, “The Nigerian Supreme Court, in the decided case of Inakoju vs. Adeleke (2007) 4 NWLR (Pt. 1025), held that interference with the constitutional functions of the Legislature and an exhibition of overt unconstitutional executive power and abuse of the fiscal provisions of the Constitution are grave violations of the Constitution that can lead to the removal of a Chief Executive (such as the 1st Defendant herein) by the Legislature.
“It is in the interest of our constitutional democracy, advancement of Rule of Law and accountability in dealing with our national finances that the prayers contained in this Originating Summons are granted by this Honourable Court”, he told the court.

Author: News Editor

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