Immortalise Ciroma, Senate Tells FG

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  • Carpets executive for human rights abuse
  • House asks Buhari to suspend executive order on assets forfeiture

Deji Elumoye and James Emejo in Abuja

The Senate Wednesday asked the federal government to immortalise the late former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Adamu Ciroma, by naming a national monument after him.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly took the decision after debating a motion moved by Senator Mohammed Hassan (Yobe South) and seconded by Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West) on the demise of Ciroma.

The Senate after observing a minute silence in honour of the former CBN governor, agreed to send a seven- man delegation to be led by Adamu to commiserate with the deceased family and the Fika Emirate in Potiskum, Yobe State.

Hassan while moving the motion, recalled the death of Ciroma on Thursday, July 5 in Abuja after serving the nation meritoriously in various capacities, including pioneer Editor and Managing Director of New Nigerian Newspapers, Governor of CBN, Minister of Industry, Agriculture and Finance.

According to him, Ciroma would be fondly remembered as a seasoned journalist, astute administrator, daring politician and one of the leading Nigerian elder statesmen who always took strong emulative positions on national issues.

Adamu in seconding the motion, recalled vividly his political interactions with the deceased especially in the Fourth Republic.

Senator Ben Murray-Bruce (Bayelsa East), described Ciroma as a disciplined politician who at a particular time when he (Murray-Bruce) was working for President Olusegun Obasanjo, came to the Villa with his walking stick with a threat that he was there to flog Obasanjo with the walking stick.

Senate Carpets Executive for Human Rights Abuse

Also Wednesday, the Senate accused the executive arm of government of flagrant violation of the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens.

It specifically mentioned the violation to include rights to dignity of human person and right to personal liberty as guaranteed under sections 34 and 35 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

The Senate, while debating a motion on the alarming rise in cases of alleged human rights violations and consistent assault on the provisions of the 1999 Constitution by the Executive sponsored by Senator David Umaru (Niger East) mentioned instances of human rights violations by the executive to include continuous detention of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), for over two years “in total disregard of four court orders including that of the ECOWAS court which granted him bail pending his trial over money laundering charges”.

It also frowned on the continuous incarceration of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaki, for over two years despite court orders for his release since 2016.

Senator Umaru, who is Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters in his motion, emphasised the lack of accountability for human rights violations by security agents and other militant elements, including armed herdsmen and gradual descent of Nigeria into anarchy and despotism due to indiscriminate arrests, unconstitutional detention of citizens as was the fate of Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who was arrested and kept incommunicado for six days in June by Department of State Services (DSS) operatives.

The motion also expressed concern that democracy was being threatened by the Executive actions like the recent enactment of the controversial Executive Order No. 006, which permits security agencies to freeze the assets of persons standing trial without recourse to court order.

The Senate subsequently resolved to summon the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami, to appear before it to explain the constitutional basis for the controversial Executive Order No. 006 and the other Executive Orders, which have been issued by the president in clear usurpation of the law making functions of the National Assembly.

It urged the executive to urgently set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate all cases of human rights abuse allegedly committed by both the police, army and other security agencies in the course of discharging their duties with a view to identifying the culprits and victims and offering redress where necessary.

Senate further called on the federal government to desist from further violation of the sacred principle of separation of powers and adopt the rule of law as the guiding principle of government actions.

House Asks Buhari to Suspend Executive Order on Assets Forfeiture

After an exhaustive debate, which almost divided the lawmakers, the House of Representatives Wednesday passed a motion urging President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend and discontinue the application and implementation of Executive Order 006 of 2018 in view of its controversial nature and its conflicts with relevant provisions of the law.

It further invited the AGF Malami as well as Chairman, Nigerian Law Reform Commission (NLRC), to appear before the House and submit a detailed list of all subsidiary legislation in the country, which are published in the Federal Gazette within two weeks.

In addition, it resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to scrutinise and investigate subsidiary legislation and executive orders in Nigeria and report back within four weeks.

The lawmakers further agreed that the House resolutions on the issue be transferred to the Senate for concurrence.

It followed a motion moved under matters of urgent public importance by Hon. Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) and 23 other members on the urgent need to investigate the constitutional compliance of all subsidiary legislation and executive orders by the executive.

He noted that the said executive order signed into law by the president on July 5, appeared to hijack and usurp legislative and judicial powers by the executive.

He further observed that the Order, among other things, empowers the executive to restrict dealings in suspicious assets subjected to investigation or inquiring bordering on corruption.

But he said Section 44 (2) (k) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) restricts the application of compulsory acquisition of moveable property in any part of the country except on the temporary takings of property for the purpose of any examination, investigation or inquiry.

Ossai expressed concern that Section 315 (2) of the constitution is to the effect that appropriate authority may by order make such modification on an existing law as it considers it necessary and in conformity with the provisions of the constitution.

He noted that the National Assembly shall not enact any law that ousts or purports to oust the jurisdiction of the rule of law, recalling that executive powers extend to the execution and maintenance of the constitution and all laws made by the National Assembly.

The lawmaker, while leading the debate on the issue, further argued that the Executive Order 6 represented a clear usurpation of legislative and judicial powers and a replication of subsisting legislation including Section 8 of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act of 1983; Section 330 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015 and certain provisions of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act.