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President Buhari tells Court to strike out suit challenging his trip to UK without handing over to his Vice

Says constitution empowers him to travel without such action within 21 days

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has approached the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, to nullify the suit challenging his decision to travel abroad without handing over to his vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo last April.

Buhari was reacting to the case, FHC/L/CS/763/2019, filed by Inibehe Effiong, Lagos-based lawyer against him and the Attorney-General of the Federation, arguing that the lawyer lacks the “locus standi” to institute the case or appear in court.

But the lawyer had insisted need for the court to query Buhari’s action if it was unconstitutional and to ascertain if, in view of Section 145 (1) of the Constitution whether the President could travel outside the country at will for any length without transmitting a written statement to the legislature for his Vice to assume the position of Acting President until his return.

However, in an affidavit made available to Punch, Buhari said, so long his stay abroad would not exceed 21 days, the nation’s constitution does not make it compulsory to send such declaration to the National Assembly (NASS), ultimately for Osinbajo to occupy the Presidential office in an acting capacity.

“It is a fact that the 1999 Constitution (as amended) regulates the performance of the duties of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in situations where the President is proceeding on vacation or is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of the office.

“That it is a fact that where the President embarks on vacation or otherwise is unable to discharge the functions of his office and fails to transmit a written declaration to that effect, he will be considered not to have complied with the constitution (as amended).

“That the time within which the President has to transmit a written letter to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is 21 days.

“That the President’s foreign trip lasted for nine days from April 25, 2019, to May 5, 2019. The President did not exceed the 21-day period required by the constitution. It is in the interest of justice to dismiss the claims of the plaintiff,” the affidavit reads in part.

The case being handled by Justice A.O Faji of the Ikoyi FHC would hold on Monday, 7th October.

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