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Buhari, AGF shun suit seeking to stop Tinubu’s inauguration on May 29, INEC, Tinubu asked for dismissal



President Mohammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation AGF, Abubakar Malami SAN on Friday evening shunned hearing in a suit seeking to prohibit the inauguration of the President- elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu on May 29.

Buhari and AGF who are the first and second respondents in the suit instituted by a former Presidential candidate, Chief Ambrose Albert Owuro did not file any process or have any legal representation at the hearing of the suit at the Court of Appeal Abuja, despite been served with hearing notice.

However the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC), which conducted the 2019 Presidential election and which was a subject tof dispute asked the Court of Appeal to dismiss the case of Owuro who claimed to be adjudged the constitutional winner of the 2019 Presidential election.

The electoral body which is the 3rd respondent in the appeal described Owuru’s claim as adjudged constitutional winner of the of 2019 Presidential election as frivolous, baseless, irritating and unwarranted.

Represented by a legal practitioner, Hassan Halilu INEC faulted the claims of Owuru and urged the Court of Appeal to dismiss it with heavy cost on the ground that the suit lacked merit.

On his part, the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu who joined the suit as an interested party at the Court of Appeal argued that the claims of Owuru to the 2019 Presidential election was not only strange but baseless, frivolous and un- meritorious.

Tinubu through his counsel, Adelani Ajibade from the Chamber of Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN told the three man panel of the Court of Appeal that the purported constitutional rights being claimed and asserted by the former Presidential candidate had been extinguished by a Supreme Court judgment which nullified his petition filed against the 2019 Presidential election.

The President-elect whose brief of argument was filed on May 19 demanded for outright dismissal of the suit with 20 million naira cost to be paid to the respondents by Owuru and his party, Hope Democratic Party (HDP).

Meanwhile Justice Jamil Tukur who headed the three-man panel of justice in the hearing of the matter has adjourned judgment indefinitely.

Justice Tukur said that parties in the appeal would be communicated as soon as the judgment is ready.

Before the hearing of the suit Justice Tukur has ordered Owuru to vacate the seat reserved for only Senior Advocates of Nigeria members of the Nigerian Bar Association.

Justice Tukur upon sighting Owuru sitting on the reserved seat, challenged him on when he became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, to which Owuru answered in the negative.

Attempts by Owurou to persuade the court to consider his position as a senior lawyer in the country was rejected by Justice Tukur who told the former presidential candidate that even if he is as old as Methuselah in the bar, as a lawyer, he is not entitled to be on the seat reserved for senior advocates only.

” Even if you are older than Methuselah in the Nigerian, you have no place at the Inner Bar and you are not qualified to be on the seat meant for members of the Inner Bar only”. Justice Tukur said.

Owuru who was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1982 had in a fresh motion on notice prayed the Court of Appeal to prohibit President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from inaugurating the 2023 President- elect on May 29.

The politician who participated in the 2019 presidential poll on the platform of Hope Democratic Party (HDP) wanted Buhari, AGF and INEC be stopped from taking any further steps on the 2023 presidential election that produced Tinubu as winner.

Owuru who claimed to be adjudged Constitutional winner of the 2019 presidential election predicated his grouse against inauguration of Tinubu or anybody else as successor to Buhari on the ground that he is the constitutionally adjudged winner of the 2019 election and has not spent his tenure as required by law.

Among others, Owuru insisted that President Buhari has been usurping his tenure of office since 2019 because the Supreme Court has not determined his petition filed in 2019 in which he challenged the purported declaration of Buhari as the election winner.

In his motion on notice marked CA/CV/259/2023, Owuru applied for “An order of prohibitory injunction compelling Buhari, AGF and INEC, their servants, agents and privies to preserve and give due cognizance and abstain from any further undertaking or engaging in any act of usurpation of adjudged acquired Constitutional rights and mandate as winner of the 2019 presidential election.

He also applied for another order directing and placing on notice that any form of handover inauguration, organized and Superintended by Buhari on 29th May 2023 outside his adjudged winner of the 2019 presidential election, subject of the pending appeal remains and is viewed as an “interim place holder” administration arranged pending the hearing and determination of his substantive appeal on constitutional interpretation thereof.

Listed as respondents in the motion on notice are President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 1st to 3rd respectfully before Tinubu joined as 4th respondent

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I Didn’t See It Coming – Keyamo Reacts to National Honour



Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo has reacted after President Muhammadu Buhari conferred a National Honour, Commander of the Order of the Niger, CON, on him. Reacting on Sunday, Keyamo said he was conferred along with other “deserving and distinguished Nigerians”, saying he was number 15 in the list. Keyamo thanked and prayed for Buhari, asking God to honour the president as he did to others. The statement reads, “I was very delighted to wake up this morning to the news of the conferment on my humble self of one of the highest National Honours of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) (No. 15 on the list).“I had no single inkling this was coming and for this I am grateful to the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.“His style is to give honours and privileges to those deserving of them and not those who lobby for them. Thank you, Mr. President and may God Almighty continue to honour you even as you have honoured others”.

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President Buhari Confers Citizenship On 385 Foreigners



Nigeria’s Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari has conferred citizenship on 385 foreign nationals, The Nation reports.He declared them worthy Nigerians after meeting all necessary conditions. The conferment was conducted on behalf of the President by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at Gen Abdulraman Danbazzau Conference Hall, Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS), Headquarters, Abuja. Buhari said his administration gave citizenship to more foreigners than any administration so far, asserting that the gesture was to encourage foreign investment and boost the nation’s economy. He described those conferred the citizenship as worthy of the honour, saying they have contributed in various fields of human endeavours to the development of the country.The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said those conferred with the citizenship met the stringent conditions attached to it, and called for the review of the Nigerian Constitution to allow more foreign nationals apply for citizenship. He said in Europe and United States, foreigners who had lived there could apply for citizenship after 5 years, but wondered why in Nigeria foreigners would have to wait for 15 years before they could apply for Nigeria citizenship. He however commended Buhari for initiating policies that make application for citizenship attractive to foreign nationals, saying from the records a total of 671 have been conferred with Nigeria citizenship within the past five years. Aregbesola said: ”That we have a high number of foreigners willing to become Nigerians is an indication that the on-going efforts of the Federal Government to make Nigeria a destination for investment and peaceful coexistence is beginning to yield good fruits.“I must state also that it is under our administration that the largest number of foreigners have been naturalised. “Between 2011 and 2013,a total of 266 foreigners became Nigerians. In 2017, 335 people took up Nigerian citizenship. But last year, 286 foreigners and today at this ceremony, 385, making a total of 671 have acquired Nigerian citizenship.“I am still not pleased with this figure. In Europe and America, thousands of foreigners are inducted into citizenship every year. They do this to attract youths and people in their prime who would like to contribute to the development of their countries.“The bane of the smooth pathway to Nigerian citizenship however is the constitutional requirement of continuous residency in Nigeria for 15 years.” This is a huge disincentive, considering that in the United States and most European countries, it is five years. Some of these countries have made a habit of snatching young and resourceful brains – who after four years of schooling and working for just one year – through easy pathways, to obtain quality migration to their countries.” I will therefore urge the relevant institutions of state to reconsider this in the next effort at amendment to the constitution. We ought to have easier pathways to citizenship for foreigners than currently obtains.”

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Alkali still in office as IGP despite order removing him



One week after Justice F. O Riman of a Federal High Court sitting in Awka made an order removing him from office, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba Alkali has continued to stay in office in disobedience to the valid order of the court.

Justice Riman, had in the suit marked FHC/AWK/CS/58/2023, made an order restraining Usman Alkali from further parading himself as the Inspector General of Police of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or exercising any form of command or control over the Nigeria Police Force.

The court also granted an order mandating the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to immediately convene a meeting for members of the Nigeria Police Council for the purpose of appointing a new Inspector-General of Police capable of holding the office for the fixed term of four years unhindered by Section 18 (8) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 and also in line with the provision of Section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act.

The removal order followed a suit filed by one Okechukwu Nwafor against the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Usman Baba Alkali; Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; and Nigeria Police Council, 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

The Originating Summons was brought pursuant to sections 2015 and 216 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), sections 7 and 18 (8) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.

In the judgement delivered on May 19, which was sighted by our correspondent, the court declared that “by a community reading of the provisions of Sections 215 (a) and 216 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), Sections 7 (2) & (6) and 18 (8) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, the appointment of the 2nd Defendant (Alkali) is unlawful and invalid, the 2nd Defendant not being a person capable of fulfilling the mandatory requirement of tenure of office needed to hold the office of the Inspector General of Police and/or the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria (as amended) having not been complied with.

More so, the court made a declaration that “the 2nd Defendant (Alkali) is not qualified to hold the office of the Inspector General of Police for the sole reason that doing so will lead to absurdity which will amount to a complete breach and total disregard for the clear and unambiguous provision of Section 7 (6) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.

Also granted by Justice Riman was a declaration that the President has no power, whatsoever, to extend the condition for retirement of a Police officer as contained in Section 18 (8) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.

In the judgement, Justice Riman stated that, “I have carefully considered submission of both counsel. The Defendant’s counsel referred to his paragraph 4 to 7 where it was averred as follows:

“That it is a fact that a Federal High Court Abuja Division per Hon. Justice A. K Mohammed and Hon. Justice J. O. Omotosho have determined the issue of interpretation of section 216 of the 1999 Constitution, Section 7 (3) (@) and 18 (8) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 as it relate to remaining in office as the Inspector General of Police despite having retired as a Police Officer in the unreported cases of MAXWELL MPENA VS. THE PRESIDNT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA 23 or with suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/106/2021 and MICHAEL SAM IDOKO AND NIGERIA POLICE FORCE & ORS in suit no: FHC/ABI/CS/106/2021 respectively.

“I must observe that the said judgements are not placed for examination in the counter affidavit or filed in Court which is necessary to guide this Court on the issue canvassed before the Court on the said suits.

“Section 215 (1) (6) of the Constitution provides that the President shall appoint the Inspector-General of Police from serving members of the Nigeria Police Force on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council (NPC), which comprises of the President, Governors, Chairman of the Police Commission and the Inspector General of Police.

“See also Section 7 (3) of the Police Act, 2020. The Inspector General of Police tenure shall come to an end in February, 2020, four years from February 2021, by March 1, 2023, the 2nd Defendant was 60 years old, and two weeks later, marked 35 years he entered in the Nigeria Police Force” the court held.

Justice Riman observed that the IGP being a public servant and by virtue of the fact that he is a member of staff of the Nigeria Police Force, an authority established from the Federation by Section 214 (1) of the Constitution and in subject of the Federal Public Rules 299 (PSR) thereof which provides for the compulsory retirement of all grades of public service officers at the age of 60 or 35 years of service, whichever comes first.

“In the instant case, the 2nd Defendant’s birth day comes first. By the said Rule, the 2nd Defendant is obliged to step down on March 1st 2023.

“The PSR retirement age provision, is mirrored in section 18 (8) of the Police Act, on the word “Shall” is used in the provision, it is mandatory.

“Section 7 (6) of the Police Act provides for a four year term or tenure for the Inspector General of Police and the word “Shall” is also used in the said provision” the court stated.

Justice Riman observed that despite the prerogative power of the President, he is limited to the provisions of the Constitution,. adding that the IGP retirement is statutory and constitutional issue and no other law of the land can change the ground norm.

On the issue of the locus standi of the Plaintiff, the trial judge observed that locus standi is a central concept in the administration of justice and it delineates not only the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain matters brought before them but also restricts access to Courts to perform with genuine grievance.

“Thus, it is firmly established that a Plaintiff who fails to satisfy the “interest” and “injury test” will be denied the legal standing to sue to challenge any perceived act of unconstitutionality.

“It is my view however that required of locus standi is not necessary on constitutional cases as the application of the concept could impede the administration of justice.

The court noted that there is liberalization of the concept of locus standi where it involves constitutional matters, stressing that the deposition of the Plaintiff in his affidavit as a Nigerian and tax payer has not been controverted. END.

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