The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has petitioned France, Germany, European Union, United States of America and United Kingdom over alleged undemocratic actions and infractions of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The petition, which was made available to journalists, yesterday, was dated January 27.
Atiku alleged that Buhari was threatening Nigeria’s democracy by “serially breaching the provisions of the nation’s Constitution” and “undermining organs and institutions of State in order to advance his personal interest.”
He listed the alleged infractions to include the suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen; the purchase of the Tucano Aircraft; Executive Order No. 006 (On preservation of suspicious assets and related schedules); the approval of $1billion for military expenditure before approaching the National Assembly and disregard for orders of courts, among others.
In the letter, Atiku listed what he described as constitutional breaches by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He insisted that Buhari was desperate to remain in power, while giving instances of disregard for court rulings by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government.
The letter is as below:
“Dear Your Excellency,
Constitutional Breaches Under The Watch Of President Muhammadu Buhari
I have chosen to write this letter to Your Excellency for the enviable role that your country plays as champion of Democracy and the Rule of Law. I am also writing you as Nigeria’s international development partner working together to deepen and strengthen our democracy as well as to help in the transformation of our economies and societies for the better.
President Muhammadu Buhari is threatening our democracy by serially breaching the provisions of our constitution and undermining organs and institutions of State in order to advance his personal interest. While the President has ironically taken oath to safeguard and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the reality of his selective and wanton violations of its provisions means that his oath is observed only in the breach.
And as Your Excellency very much knows, respect for the rule of law is integral to promoting and preserving the values and principles of democracy. Sadly, however, by the actions of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, one is forced to think otherwise.
As a Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming General Elections that will be conducted and supervised by the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari, I feel the urgent need to share with you some of these key violations of the provisions of our constitution and to demand that you pile pressure on the Federal Government to desist from these violations and ensure a level playing field for the General Elections that are only a couple of weeks away. We acknowledge with profound appreciation the positions taken by some members of the International Community in Nigeria and urge Your Excellency to add your country’s very strong voice against these breaches of Nigeria’s constitution. Your Voice is very important to the survival of Nigeria’s democracy.
Some of these constitutional infractions are highlighted below for your information and action as you may deem appropriate.
- The Purported Suspension of CJN Onnoghen
On Friday, January 25, 2019, our nation woke up to the shocking news of the unilateral and extra-constitutional suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen and the immediate appointment and swearing in of Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, as the new acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). This action of President Muhammadu Buhari, not only breaches the Nigerian Constitution, but has also managed to undermine Presidential democracy by assaulting one of its hallowed doctrines of separation of Powers. For the records, Justice Walter Onnoghen is the head of one of the Tripartite but mutually independent organs that form the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To attempt to muscle out the Chief Justice of Nigeria using phony charges at a time when His Lordship was primed to play a central role in the fast approaching nationwide electoral process represents the boldest steps in the march to undermine our democracy. This is undoubtedly an anti-democratic act which my political Party and I reject without reservation and for which I urge Your Excellency to condemn unequivocally.
Need I say, this brazen authoritarian and imperious stride of President Buhari is the latest action in a series of carefully planned onslaught on our nation’s hard earned democracy by an extremely power hungry and anxious President and the cabal that feeds fat around him as February 16, 2019 draws nearer.
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Three Out Of 10 Nigerians Are Mentally Sick -Reps
Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, the House added that over 20,000,000 Nigerians were currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care.
To this end, the House mandated its Committees on Health Institutions and Healthcare Services to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Health towards improving mental health facilities around the country and further carry out serious sensitization of Nigerians on this issue.
It also asked the Committee on Health Institution to explore the modalities of liaising with stakeholders in the health sector to promote, educate and sensitise Nigerians on mental health.
The resolution, however, followed a motion titled “Need to Address the Rising Cases of Mental Health in Nigeria” presented by Hon. Uchechuku Nnam-Obi from Rivers State and considered by the House at yesterday’s plenary.
Presenting his motion, Nnam-Obi noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers mental health as a state of well-being in which the individual can cope with the stress of life, work productively and contribute to the community.
According to him, mental illness manifests in mood disorder, anxiety disorder, trauma-related disorder, personality disorder, old age-related disorder, substance abuse disorder or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning.
He said: “According to the World Health Organisation statistics, over twenty million Nigerians are currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care.
“Three out of 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or the other, presently there is no mental health legislation in Nigeria. However, the Nigerian mental health policy is the only framework that has access to mental healthcare, dealing with mental and neurological disorders in Nigeria, discouraging stigmatisation against persons with mental disorders and has institutionalised standards for Psychiatric practice.
“The increase in cases of depression is traceable to multifactorial inter and intrapersonal issues which leads to suicidal death in the country and this requires urgent attention.
“Nigeria has only 130 Psychiatrists with over 20million citizens suffering from mental disorders.
“With the few functional Mental Health Facilities and inadequate mental health practitioners in the country, mental health cases are left for traditional practitioners, hence the upsurge in mental health in Nigeria.
“The statistics are troubling and the continued lack of a legal framework on mental health in the country will simply cause the situation to degenerate”
Adopting the motion, the House gave six weeks to the committees within which to carry out the assignment and report back to it for further legislative action.
Wike, PDP Govs Commiserate With Tambuwal Over Brother’s Death
Bello, who is also the Waziri of Tambuwal, passed on in Sokoto, last Tuesday night at the age 87.
He was the head of the Tambuwal family.
On the PDP governors’ delegation were, Governors Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Oluseyi Makinde (Oyo); and Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State.
The Vice Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, who led the delegation, said they were in Sokoto to commiserate with Tambuwal and his entire family over the sudden death of his elder brother.
“We feel your pain, and we understand that a great vacuum has been created, not only within the caliphate, but across Nigeria and other places where Daddy had sphere of influence. We believe that God Almighty will grant you the fortitude to bear this great loss.
“We are, however, consoled by the fact that Daddy left legacies that will remain indelible; one of them is your very good self and your impact and contributions to our dear country.”
The governors urged the Tambuwal family, particularly the Sokoto State governor, to remain strong, steadfast and uphold those virtues which the late Waziri of Tambuwal, cherished so much.
In his response, Sokoto StateGovernor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, who is the PDP Governors’ Forum chairman, said the entire Tambuwal family was gladdened by the condolence visit.
According to him, his late elder brother, who lived his life in the service of community, held the family title, Waziri of Tambuwal for 37 years after the demise of their father.
“We are, indeed, very highly consoled not only by your presence, but your words of consolation. For you to have left behind whatever you are doing in your respective states to come all the way to Sokoto this afternoon, shows clearly how you sympathise with us and how close you are to us. I assure you that we appreciate this.”
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