Legal Nigeria

SERAP knocks Buhari’s statement on non-interference with judiciary

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and Silver Nwokoro

PDP rejects President’s anointed successor

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), yesterday, disagreed with President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that he does not interfere with the judiciary.

This followed the President’s comments during an interview with Channels Television on Wednesday.

According to the body, Buhari’s administration is already implicitly interfering with the judiciary by persistent failure to obey several court judgments it (SERAP) obtained.

In a statement, SERAP urged Buhari to show his commitment to judicial independence by immediately directing the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, to enforce the following judgments: SERAP v. FGN, Suit No: FHC/CS/964/2016, where Justice Shagari ordered his government to tell Nigerians details of recovered stolen assets to date; SERAP v. Minister of Power, Suit No: FHC/L/CS/105/2019, where Justice Chuka Obiozor ordered his government to publish details of payments of billions of naira to corrupt electricity contractors who disappeared with public funds without executing any projects since 1999; SERAP v. AGF, Suit No: FHC/IKJ/CS/248/2011, where Justice Mohammed Idris ordered his government to prosecute principal officials and lawmakers suspected of padding and stealing N481 billion from the 2016 budget, and publish a report on alleged 2016 budget padding.

SERAP v. FGN, Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1497/2017, where Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo ordered his government to challenge the legality of states’ life pension laws, and recover pensions collected by ex-governors now serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly; SERAP v FGN, Suit No: FHC/IKJ/CS/248/2011, where Justice Idris ordered his government to publish details of spending of all recovered stolen funds since 1999 by his government, and those of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and Goodluck Jonathan;

SERAP v. Federal Government, Suit No: ECW/CCJ/APP/10/2020, where the ECOWAS Court of Justice ordered his government to pay a journalist, Agba Jalingo, N30 million, as compensation for ill-treating and torturing him while in detention in Cross River state.

MEANWHILE, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said, yesterday, that it vehemently rejects Buhari’s anointed candidate for the 2023 Presidential election.

It urged the President to perish the thought of a successor, saying: “Nigerians will firmly resist any candidate put forward by him and his All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 Presidential election.”

PDP, in a statement by National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, also berated Buhari “for embarrassing his office and making a huge joke of himself by appearing confused and dwelling on false figures and bogus performance claims during the television interview.

“While we understand that lying is the standard gauge of performance of APC, it is rather unfortunate that the President is also in that frame,” PDP said.

It described as ludicrous an attempt by the President “to rationalise his failures in office” by claiming that under the PDP, from 1999 to 2014, crude oil sold at an average of $100 per barrel but collapsed to $37 per barrel when he assumed office.

According to the PDP, “Such false claims fly in the face of hard fact, as the records, which the President must have, clearly show that when the PDP took office in May 29, 1999, crude oil sold at $16.27 per barrel and at about $80.42 and $63.28 by November and December 2014, respectively.”