Executive Order 6 : Experts, Groups React to Decision

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Monday, October 15, 2018 11.40AM / Proshare WebTV

 

Last week  Friday, a Federal High Court in Abuja upheld the constitutionality of the Executive Order 6 signed by President Buhari on July 25, 2018 which allows the interim seizure of assets linked to investigation, ongoing criminal trials and other related offences.

 

With the affirmation of the Executive Order 6 (EO6), the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice has been mandated  to implement the Order in full force.

 

From the press release issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu a number of enforcement procedures are currently in place by which the Nigeria Immigration Service and other security agencies have placed no fewer than 50 high profile persons directly affected by EO6 on watch-list and restricted them from leaving the county pending the determination of their cases.

 

Also, the financial transactions of these persons of interest are being monitored by the relevant agencies to ensure that the assets are not dissipated and such persons do not interfere with, nor howsoever corrupt the investigation and litigation processes.

 

This development has elicited widespread reactions from legal experts and various groups across the country, and this article captures their opinions and views.

 

Femi Falana, SAN

Well respected Nigerian human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana reacting to the Executive Order 6, made the following remarks “For the umpteenth time, I am compelled to caution the Buhari administration to wage the war against the menace of corruption within the ambit of the rule of law,” he said.

“Since the 50 high-profile criminal suspects covered by EO6 (Executive Order 6) have been placed on watch list while their passports have been seized by either the anti-graft agencies or the courts, the travel ban slammed on them by President Buhari ought to be withdrawn without any delay.” Falana stated.

He believes the decision is a reminisce of the military junta era, where political opponents are recklessly  placed on a security watch list and their passports seized.


Mike Ozekhome, SAN

Mr Mike Ozekhome another notable Nigerian lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria describes the Executive Order 6 signing by the President as undemocratic, scary and unconstitutional for the nation. 

In his words “Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution says that a person is innocent until the contrary is proved. So if the President goes ahead with the Executive Order N0. 6, he would have taken the powers of the legislature and the judiciary.
Ozekhome argued that the President could use the EO6 to seize properties and even terrorize Nigerians, describing it as illegal and immoral.

 

Robert Clarke, SAN

Another notable Nigerian lawyer Mr Robert Clark who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, believed that a generalized approach should not be used in the implementation of the Executive Order 6. 

Clarke calls on the Attorney General of the Federation to work within the ambit of the law, by utilizing the court to seek an interim exparte order to restrict the movement of suspected persons under investigation. 

He warned against actions that are unconstitutional in the country. 


Socio-Economic Rights Advancement ,SERAP

Notable Civil society group the Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project, SERAP condemned the Executive Order and ban placed on some individuals.

In a statement signed by its Deputy Director Timothy Adewale SERAP described it as ““clearly arbitrary, repressive and illegal,” noting that it “breaches constitutional rights and the country’s international obligations, which the rights to freedom of movement, to leave one’s country, to privacy, and due process of law.”

SERAP further stated: “A travel ban by its nature is an interference with the right to leave one’s country. It is neither necessary nor proportionate to prevent dissipation of stolen assets or stop politically exposed persons from tampering with any such assets. The ban should be immediately lifted and the order rescinded”.


FG Defends Executive Order 6 Position

In an interview yesterday on the Sunday Politics programme of the Channels Television, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media Mallam Garba Shehu defended the decision.

According to him  “this is the first time any government is taking such a key decision to fight corruption”, adding that “EO 6 is not only revolutionary to the efforts to rid Nigeria of corruption but a manifestation of systemic changes that are required to to make necessary adjustments as we carry on with the war against corruption.”

Mallam Shehu further  explained that “the very essence of the order is to make for speedy trials and conclusion of graft cases. The order is not political and there is no political gain behind its activation.”


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