A Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo has ordered the National Assembly to immediately commence impeachment process against President Muhammadu Buhari.
Justice Maurine Adaobi Onyetenu gave the order on Wednesday, July 4, 2018, based on the suit filed by two Nigerians – a lawyer, Kanmi Ajibola and a human right activist, Sulaiman Adeniyi urging the court to enforce the National Assembly to impeach President Buhari.
The duo had three months ago written to both the lower and the upper chambers of the National Assembly on the need to impeach President Buhari, citing alleged constitutional breaches by the President and threatened that they will approach the court if they fail to act accordingly.
But when the lawmakers refused, they headed for court and filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Osogbo asking for an order of mandamus to compel both the Senate and the House of Representatives to start the impeachment proceedings of President Buhari.
In the suit filed on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, they hinged their arguments on four grounds on why the National Assembly should impeach the Buhari.
In the motion ex-parte, the duo claimed that in flagrant violation of the 1999 constitution, President Buhari contested the election, won and was sworn in as the President on May 29, 2015 without possessing the basic constitutional requirement, which would have made him qualified for the contest of the election.
They further alleged that the fourth respondent, which is President Buhari in flagrant violation of section 137 (1) (j) of the 1999 constitution presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the purpose of the 2015 presidential election that brought him to the office of the President.
“In the light of the fourth respondent’s placement to continue in the office as the President, he has no certificate and basic requirement upon which this placement to continue in the office can be placed.”
Besides, they accused the President of treating the orders of the court with a great disdain and abusing the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at will, particularly from the angle of the observance of the Federal character as contained in section 14 of the constitution.
“The fourth respondent on May 29 2015, took an oath of office, among others, to the effect that, he would rule in accordance to and protect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, particularly section 14 (2) (b) which stipulates that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”
“In the contrary, the fourth respondent has proved to be unable to guarantee the security of lives and properties of the citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in fulfilment of his oath of Office. The herdsmen killings of the innocent citizens under which the fourth respondent have been uncountable, unbearable and unprecedented overheating figures in the globe.
“The fourth respondent in contravention of the due process and sections 80 and 81 of the 1999 constitution spent about $496million on the purchase of Tucano Jets without the approval of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as required by the law.
“The fourth respondent ordered to be withdrawn, money from the public fund of the Federation without the approval of the National Assembly or the authorization of its act and same used for the purchase of Tucano Jets.
“The fourth respondent has committed several impeachable offences, that is, gross misconduct.
“By the provision of section 143 of the 1999 constitution, the 1st to third Respondents (The Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly) have the statutory duty to impeach the fourth Respondent as the president and Commander in – Chief of Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on gross misconduct.
“The first to third respondents have closed their eyes to the gross misconduct of the Fourth Respondent.
They told the court that as applicants in the matter, they have the right and duty to compel the first and third Respondents to perform their statutory duty of impeachment against the fourth Respondent, having bothered on the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Citing several constitutional authorities in the written address in support of the motion ex-parte and with 44-paragraph affidavits, the duo posed some questions by putting Nigeria side by side with some developed nations.
“Can the conduct of the third Respondent, particularly on the presentation of a forged certificate, condone in America or great Britain unchecked?
“Can the fourth Respondent continue to benefits from his act of forgery and infraction of the constitution?
“Definitely, an American president cannot be genuinely accused of presentation of a forged certificate and still be allowed to continue as the president, likewise the prime minister of Great Britain”, they noted.
After moving the application before the Barrister Ajibola urged the court that with all array of documents before the court, he was of the view that the National Assembly must perform its constitutional duties without fear or favour.
Justice Onyetenu in her ruling granted the application and ordered: “that the National Assembly being the first, second and third respondents commence the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari”.
Further hearing of the matter has been fixed to October 30, 2018.