By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA – The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to immediately protect the judiciary arm of government from the “unconstitutional and repressive fascist” policies, saying the nation must be guided by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The party said the admission by the Presidency, on Sunday, that its Executive Order 6, as well as the travel ban and trailing of citizens, are devised to aid speedy trial of corruption cases is tantamount to fascism.
“The PDP notes that the Presidency has commenced an attack on the independence of the judiciary, using the instrument of blackmail and aspersion on its integrity and capacity to effectively dispense justice.
“In trying to use his Executive Order 6 to determine the process, procedures and progression of cases in court, the Buhari Presidency directly seeks to usurp, commandeer and appropriate the constitutional powers of the judiciary and then arm-twist the courts and use them as “slaughterhouses” for opposition members and perceived political opponents.
“We invite Nigerians to further note that the action of the Presidency is a direct attempt to suspend sections 6 (6)(b), 36 (5), (6)(d) and 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“While section 6 (6)(b) provides that judicial powers of the court shall ‘extend to all matters between persons, or between government or authority and to any person in Nigeria, and to all actions and proceedings relating thereto, for the determination of any question as to the civil rights and obligations of that person”.
“Section 36 (6) (d) provides that, “every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be entitled to be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence”.
“Moreover, Section 36 (5) provides that, “every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proven guilty.
“Section 37 stipulates that ‘the privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversation and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected.
“The travel ban, trailing of citizens and attempt to regulate the processes of the court is therefore an attempt to short-circuit the constitutional powers of the judiciary and foist a fascist regime where the Presidency becomes the investigator, prosecutor and the judge in determination of trumped-up charges against innocent Nigerians.
“The PDP rejects this attempt by this administration to return our country to pre-1984 military dictatorship where siege mentality and suppression of rights of citizens was the rule rather than the exception,” a statement signed by the party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan read.