A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Friday, January 3, has ruled that there is no law ordered President Muhammadu Buhari, travelled to London on a private and to hand over to his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo.
The court said Buhari broke no law when he travelled to London on a private visit from April 25 to May 5, 2019, and did not to hand over to Osinbajo.
According to Justice Ayokunle Faji said since Mr Buhari spent less than 21 days outside of the country, he didn’t need to transfer power to his deputy.
The judge, however, faulted the argument made by lawyers to Buhari that the nine-day “private visit” was not a vacation.
“There was no evidence that Buhari was on official assignment or had performed official functions during the nine days he spent in London, Justice Ayokunle Faji said.
Recall that, Inibehe Effiong, a Lagos-based lawyer had sued Buhari and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, in suit No: FHC/L/CS/763/2019 when President Buhari travelled out of Nigeria to the London, United Kingdom in April 2019 in “a private visit” in which released by Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina.
Barrister Effiong had asked the court to determine “whether in view of the extant provisions of Section 145 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic, 1999 (as amended), the President can validly proceed on vacation for any length of time without transmitting a written declaration to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to that effect, which will empower the Vice President to perform the functions of the President in an acting capacity”.
In his defence, Buhari and Malami argued that the time within which the President had to transmit a written declaration to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was 21 days.
Buhari also stated that his “private foreign trip” lasted for only nine days.
In a delivering judgment in the suit on Friday, Justice Faji held that Buhari was not under a duty to handover to Osinbajo since his private visit was less than 21 days.
Barrister Effiong who reacting to the judgment and he was present in court on Friday when the judgment was read, expressed fears that the decision of the court may be exploited by President Buhari and future presidents to undermine the interest of the country.
Effiong asserted that he was going to test the judgment at the Court of Appeal on the merit and also appeal against the decision of the court that he lacked the requisite locus standi to file the suit.