- Some prominent legal practitioners in Nigeria have reacted to criticism over Buhari's delegation of SGF to address the nation
- PDP had lambasted the president for refusing to address Nigerians on the ease of the COVID-19 lockdown
- The lawyers said that the president has legal right to delegate anybody to address the nation on his behalf
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Some prominent Nigerian lawyers have declared that President Muhammadu Buhari is permitted under the constitution to delegate any person to conduct a state function on his behalf.
Daily Trust reports that this was coming on the heels of criticism of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha’s announcement of President Buhari’s extension of the two weeks ease of lockdown measures.
Legit.ng gathered that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), through its spokesman, Kola Olagbondiyan, had said the development was “a manifestation of abuse of statutory offices arising from the abdication of responsibilities by President Buhari since the last five years, which had also become more pronounced in this fight against COVID-19.”
Speaking on the matter, Paul Ananaba (SAN) said there is no constitutional duty that the president must address Nigerians all the time.
“If the president is disposed to talking to us, we will be willing to listen. I don’t believe it’s an issue. There are statutory days he must address the nation such as on Democracy Day and Independence Day,” he said.
In his comment, another lawyer, Obioma Ezenwobodo, said there is no aspect of the constitution that stated that only the vice president can exercise the president’s functions on behalf of the president.
“Section 148 of the constitution 1999 (as amended) clearly provides that the president may in his discretion assign to the vice president or any minister responsibility for any business of the government.
“Section 171 equally provides for the appointment of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation by the President to help him in exercising his power. It, therefore, presupposes that the President can comfortably, amongst other persons, assign or delegate any of his functions to the above-mentioned persons,” he said.
Also speaking, E.M.D. Umukoro, said there is no legal impediment for the president to delegate his speeches.
Umukoro said the president, however, ought to do the address in critical periods such as COVID-19 as emotional support to the people, adding that his absence could fuel further speculation about his health.
“As much as Nigerians appear to criticise Mr. President, it feels better to hear him speak and address the nation. It is soothing and reassuring,” he said.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that David Lah, a popular Canadian pastor, who claimed Christian believers are immune to coronavirus, was dragged to court for violating a ban on religious gatherings after contracting the virus.
It was reported that facing a maximum of three-year jail under the disaster law management, Lah and another Myanmar national Wai Tun reportedly held a church service in early April with about twenty people who later turned out positive to COVID-19.
In another report, the Kaduna government said it realised the sum of N1.9 million within two days from violators of the lockdown order imposed on the state to curtail the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
The state government, through the Ministry of Justice, said 605 culprits were convicted between Thursday, May 7 and Friday, May 8, for violating the lockdown order in the state.
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