Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has approached a High Court in Federal Capital Territory, asking it to bar President Muhammadu Buhari and security agencies in the country from interfering with the general election.
Atiku further asked the court to compel Buhari to pay him damages in the aggregate sum of N2 billion, as well as tender a public apology to him, for sponsoring frivolous suits against him.
The demands were contained in a counter-claim the PDP presidential candidate filed in response to a N40 million libel suit the Buhari Campaign Organisation, BCO, slammed against him over an allegation that he defamed Buhari and his family.
The BCO had in its suit marked FCT/HC/CV/804/2019, accused Atiku and his aide, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, of making several defamatory statement in the media, to the effect that Buhari used his position as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and head of the government to fraudulently acquire two private companies, Keystone Bank Plc and 9Mobile Communication Ltd for himself, his family members, and friends.
Meanwhile, Atiku, in a counter-claim filed through his lawyer, Mr. Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, SAN, challenged the competence of the suit he said was highly frivolous.
He applied for an order mandating that the N2 billion damages to be paid by President Buhari and the BCO, be sent to all the camps of Internally Displaced People, IDPs, across the country and for equipment of libraries and information technology equipment for all state universities in Nigeria.
More so, Atiku, sought an order, “mandating President Buhari and his agents, including security operatives and officers to abide by the rule of law and the principle of separation of powers entrenched in the constitution and should not intervene in the forthcoming elections.”
In a 56-paragraphed witness statement on oath deposed to by one Abraham Udoh, the PDP presidential flag-bearer told the court that President Buhari had failed Nigerians by his inability as a President to stop ruthless and wanton killings across the country.
He said the killings and destruction had rendered citizens, farmers, women and children homeless without food or basic amenities of life, as well as led to the emergence of various IDP camps in the country.
He said: “That under the present administration, there are over 108,000 Internally Displaced Persons grappling with a litany of infections and hunger.”
“In Taraba State, number of IDPs in the various camps are: Mayo Dassa (402 IDPs); Gullong (1259), ATC Kofai (968), Abuja I and II (357), Dorowa/Magami/Malam Joda (579), Sabon Gari (482), Malum (872), Murtai/Yaukani/Yelwa(554), Mile six (74), Nyabukaka/Tutan Kurma/Kasa (148) and Nukkai (30).
“That in Plateau State there are a total of 38,051 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, who were victims of June 23 and 24 violence involving suspected herdsmen and villagers in Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Mangu, Bokkos and Jos South Local Government Areas are taking refuge in 31 camps.
“That in Benue State they have registered more than 180,000 displaced persons in eight camps while over 500, 000 IDPs are taking shelter wherever they find space.”
Atiku further informed the court that President Buhari’s “lopsided appointments and insensitivity to the principle of Federal Character laid down in section 14 (3) of the 1999 constitution has led to disunity amongst Nigerians.
“That the current division in Nigeria was ignited by that infamous 5 per cent versus 97per cent speech that President Buhari gave in Washington on June 23, 2015. No father should ever tell some of his kids in the presence of the rest of his kids that he loves them more than the others. When this happens, the discontent that it will cause may lead to the breakup of that home.
“That in a report by Transparency International, TI, released on February 21, 2018, Nigeria was still ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the World.
“That the inability of the Buhari administration to combat grand corruption has led to astronomical plundering of public coffers costing the Nigerian taxpayers around 25 per cent of annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“That according to a recent report released by International Monetary Fund, IMF, on February 28, 2018, Nigerians are getting poorer despite the country’s slow recovery from a devastating recession.”
Atiku further told the court that Buhari’s desecration of the judicial process of the nation, led to high tension and democratic instability in the country.
“That Buhari in flagrant abuse of his veto power, without any unilateral support from other tiers of government illegally and unconstitutionally suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, from office on January 25, 2019 without strict adherence to the provisions of section 292 of the 1999 constitution which laid down the procedure for the removal of a judicial officer in his capacity.”