High-profiled elder statesmen and leaders of socio-cultural groups in the Southern region of Nigeria, has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari before the Federal High Court in Abuja, alleging that most appointments since the inception of his administration in 2015, breached the 1999 Constitution and the Federal Character Principle.
The elder statesmen were led by Chief Edwin Clark, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Dr. John Nnia Nwodo, Dr Pogu Bittus and Chief Ayo Adebanjo
Others are Alaowei Bozimo, Mrs Sarah Doketri, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife and Air Commodore Idongsit Nkanga
The plantiff alleged that the President has intentionally marginalized the Southern region in his appointments and allocation of resources.
They, therefore, prayed the court to among other things, determine if the President Buhari has acted in line with extant provisions of the country’s laws by obtaining a loan facility from the Islamic Development Bank, African Development Bank, the World Bank, China, Japan, and Germany amounting to $22.7 billion (USD), for infrastructural development, and allocating large chunk of it to funding projects in the Northern region.
They are also praying the court to determine the contitutionality of infrastructural development loan wherein less than 1% of the amount is to be allocated to the South East Zone of Nigeria for specific infrastructural development and whether this does not violate section 16 (1) (a) (b) and S16 (2) (a) (b) (c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
As well as, “A declaration that the 1st Defendant’s procurement of any loan which would increase Nigeria’s outstanding debt by up to 30% of its GDP or which would increase its interest payment above 50% of government revenue is unconstitutional”.
Other plaintiffs in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/595/2020, are Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, Prof Julie Umukoro, Elder Stephen Bangoji, Alhaji Tijani Babatunde, Mrs. Rose Obuoforibo.
Apart from President Buhari, other Defendants listed as 2nd to 4th in the matter are the Attorney-General of the Federation, Clerk of National Assembly, and the Federal Character Commission.
A part of the suit which was filled by 10 Senior Advocates of Nigeria reads:
“Whether the power to appoint designated public officers including permanent secretaries, principal representatives of Nigeria abroad, which is vested in the 1st Defendant has been lawfully exercised by him since the inception of his administration from 2015 till date and Whether his actions are in breach of Sections 171(5), 814(3) (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“Whether the power to appoint Nigeria’s Armed Services Chiefs, other Commanders or top officials of the respective Armed Forces Higher and High Commands’ General Staff ; namely the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) and Chief of Airforce Staff (CA8); the other statutorily established Nigerian National Security agencies or services , namely: The Inspector General of the Nigerian Police (1GP), the Directors General (DGs) of the State Security Service (SSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); the Heads of National Security Associated Federal Government (FG) establishments, namely the Nig.”