By Dipo Awojobi – Human Rights Defenders and Advocacy Centre and Lagos Stand With Buhari Rally on Thursday clashed in front of Lagos State House of Assembly over President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war.
While the former protested to the Assembly that Buhari should be impeached by the National Assembly, the latter campaigned that Buhari was doing a good job and should be encouraged.
Members of the Human Rights Defenders and Advocacy Center used the opportunity of the protest to call on the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceeding against Buhari for alleged flagrant disobedience to court orders and impunity.
According to them, the call has become necessary following the President’s position during his first presidential media chat that some accused persons who were granted bail by the court would not be released.
The group frowned at the President’s comment during the last presidential media chat that he would not let go the offenders based on his conviction of the gravity of the offence without considering the rule of law.
Spokesman for the group, Mr. Innocent Agbo described the continued detention by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and Department of State Security (DSS) despite court order as a call for anarchy.
Agbo said that such development was a violation of rights as enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria.
He demanded compliance to the court orders within two weeks, hence the National Assembly should commence impeachment proceedings against the President.
“We in collaboration with other Civil Society Organisations demanded commencement of impeachment proceeding against the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for flagrant disobedience to court. Orders and impunity.
“The President has taken over the duty of the prosecutor, the judge, the witness and the jury in his own matter,” he said.
Agbo said that the continued detention of accused people by the agents of government was a violation of their rights as enshrined in Chapter 4 section 36, sub section 4, 5 and 9 of the constitution.
He added, “the President is the product of constitution, therefore he must respect the constitution.”
According to him, the group will demand that the lawmakers at the National Assembly should vacate their seats should they fail to carry out the process.
The petition was signed by leadership of Paths of Peace Initiative, Committee for Defense of Human Rights, Concern Nigerians, and Centre for Democratic Rights Derivatives.
Addressing this protesters, the Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh said that the President was not interfering in the judicial process.
Jimoh said that a lot was involved in legal matters which might not be open to everybody.
He however, assured them their message would be delivered to the leadership of the House when it resumeed plenary on Feb. 4.
Similarly, Lagos Stand With Buhari Rally in another peaceful protest to the Assembly demanded for sustenance of the fight against corruption.
The Convener of the group, Mr Daniel Akinlami, said that such development alone would restore the nation’s lost hope.
The pro-Buhari protesters demanded that the fight against corruption be extended.
According to them, it should cover probes of Halliburton scandal, fuel subsidy fraud, the missing Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) $20 Billion amongst other financial plundering of our nation’s resources in the past years.
Akinlami urged the judiciary to be ready to the fight against corruption now or never.