OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives was sharply divided along party lines on Wednesday as both members of the People Democratic Party (PDP) and the Reformed All Progressive Congress (R-APC) ganged up against President Muhammadu Buhari’s executive order on corruption.
Recall that on July 5, 2018 the President signed Executive Order 006 which seeks to ensure the forfeiture of assets linked to corruption.
The matter was brought before the House was through a motion by Mr. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) and 12 others including Mr. Nkem Abonta (PDP, Abia), Bassey Ewa (PDP, Cross River), Henry Ofongo (PDP, Rivers) , Diri Doye (PDP, Bayelsa), Tajudeen Yusuf (Kogi, PDP), Jonathan Gaza-Gbefwi (PDP, Nasarawa).
Members of the R-APC who co-sponsored the motion include Aliyu Pategi (APC, Kwara), Emmanuel Oker-Jev (APC, Benue), Ibrahim Baba, and Amuda-Kanike Abubakar (APC, Kwara).
Mr. Ossai noted that section 44 subsection of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) restricts the application of compulsory acquisition of moveable or immovable property in any part of Nigeria except on the basis of temporary possession of property for the purpose of any examination, investigation or inquiry.
He also explained that, “the appropriate authority to may make such modification on an existing law as it considers necessary and in conformity with the provisions of the constitution” is the legislature
Additionally, “the National Assembly shall not enact any law that ousts or purports to oust the jurisdiction of a court of law”, he said.
Speaking in favor of the motion, Mr. Bode Ayoride who introduced himself as as member of the R-APC said: “I support this motion on the basis that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The National Assembly must rise to oppose the order as it is against the principle of separation of powers and it is unconstitutional”.
Mr. Riman Shawulu (PDP, Taraba,) who also spoke in support of the motion said “the order as signed by Mr. President is capable of crippling economic activities in the country because people would be afraid to go into property business which contributes enormously to the country’s economy”.
Speaking against the matter however, Mr. Sadiq Ibrahim (APC, Adamawa) submitted that, “chapter 5 of the 1999 constitution vested powers on the President to make executive orders. Again, section 26(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act as passed by us [National Assembly] gives right for seizure and arrest can be made through the court of law, so the executive order is derived from Nigerian constitution.”
Similarly, Mr. Nnana Igbokwe (APC, Imo) who supported the position of Mr. Sadiq stated that the EFCC Act gives the President the powers to issue an executive order on inheritance of a property. “What is instructive in the EFCC order is to enforce the law, for me the President has powers to issue executive order. The court has ruled on this issue severally agreeing that the President has such right. So for me the right thing to do as a parliament is to approach the court, it is not in our right interest to stay here and say whether it is right or wrong,” he said.
However, the Speaker Yakubu Dogara ruled in favour of the motion even when it was obvious the “Nay” had it and in protest the lawmakers whom were against the motion staged a walk out from the plenary.
The resolution as passed urged the President to suspend and discontinue the application and implementation of the executive order.