- Presidential aide, Okoi Obono-Obla, is not happy with the way some Nigerians are criticising the Buhari's recent executive order
- A lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, sites cases and illustrations to prove that the executive order cannot stand a constitutional test
- Obono-Obla, however, calls critics of the order PDP apologists and gives his own reasons the president has the powers to sign it
Okoi Obono-Obla, a senior aide of President Muhammadu Buhari has clashed with a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, over an executive bill aimed to tackle corruption and recently signed by the Nigerian leader.
Effiong had declared that the preservation of suspicious assets connected with corruption and other relevant offences executive order number 6 of 2018 cannot stand the test of the constitution.
Effiong had argued with several illustrations and added: “I am aware that the proceeds of crime bill, 2017 is still pending before the National Assembly. The government should be exerting more pressure on the parliament to pass it into law.
“Only the National Assembly can make laws. Executive orders cannot substitute acts of parliament.
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“Every lawyer in Nigeria that is worth his salt should be conversant with the case of governor of Lagos state v. Ojukwu (1986) 2 NWLR (PT 18) 621 where the Supreme Court set a precedent against impunity and stopped the military from taking Ojukwu's property without due process.
“I want us to know that no government lawyer will cite Buhari's ‘integrity’ in court as an authority upon which the court should base its decision and convict. This government is playing to the gallery and acting both naively and ignorantly.”
In his own post obtained by Legit.ng, Obono-Obla called those criticizing the executive order as PDP apologists.
The presidential aide said: “PDP and its apologists and lovers of corruption have been fretting since President Muhammadu Buhari the preservation of suspicious assets connected with corruption and other relevant offences executive order No. 6 of 2018.
“These apologists have lamely argued that the executive order is unconstitutional.”
Obono-Obla, who did not mention any name, noted that the PDP even branded the executive order as fascist. He illustrated the development with the executive orders which have been signed by President Donald Trump and his predecessors.
“The then President Obama issued 276 executive orders during his eight-year tenure. It is well settled that the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or state governor is clothed with the constitutional authority (to) issue an executive order by virtue of section 315 of the constitution,” he argued.
He also recalled that former President Shehu Shagari issued the adaptation of public order act, 1979 under the constitution to modify the public order act.
He also argued that when challenged by the Ogun state government, the Supreme Court ruled that it was constitutional.
He further recalled that former President Olusegun Obasanjo used an executive power to abolish the Petroleum (special) Trust Fund (PTF) Decree No 25 of 1994.
“President Obasanjo also used executive order to modify the allocation of revenue (federation account) act 1990.
“In Adesoye v Gov of Osun State (2005) 16 NWLR (PT950) p 1, the Supreme Court held that the respondent (governor) can issue an executive order to make any existing law in the state confirm with the constitution,” he said.
In response, Effiong said Obono-Obla’s reliance on section 315 of the constitution is misplaced.
“That section does not empower the president to make executive order indiscriminately. It specifically applies to Eexisting laws (usually decrees and edicts promulgated by the military before the coming into force of the 1999 constitution).
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“The president and governors are empowered under section 315 of the constitution to make modifications to bring such existing laws into conformity with the provisions of the constitution.
“The cases that you cited were predicated on modifications made to existing laws and do not apply to the present subject. The public order act 1979, the Petroluem (special) Trust Fund Decree No. 25 of 1994 and the allocation of revenue (federation account) act 1990 are enactments which predate the 1999 constitution.
“You are comparing banana with potatoes Chief Obla,” Effiong argued.
Legit.ng earlier reported that President Muhammadu Buhari signed an executive order on the preservation of suspicious assets connected with corruption.
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