The House of Representatives on Wednesday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend and discontinue the application and implementation of Executive Order Number 006 of 2018.
This was after a heated debate on the motion moved by Nicholas Ossai, member representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State.
According to the lawmakers, the Order which was on forfeiture of assets acquired through proceeds of crimes, was not only controversial in nature but conflicts with relevant provisions of the Law.
Ossai, in his submission noted that the Executive Order Number 006 of 2018 signed into law by Mr. President on July 5, 2018, which inter alia empowers the Executive to restrict dealings in suspicious assets subjected to investigation or inquiring bordering on corruption appears to have hijacked and usurped legislative and judicial powers by the Executive.
According to him, Section 44 Sub-section 2(k) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) restricts the application of compulsory acquisition of moveable or immoveable property in any part of Nigeria except on the temporary takings of possession of property for the purpose of any examinatson, investigation or inquiry.
He however expressed concerns that “Section 315 Sub-section 2 of the 1999 Constitution is to the effect that appropriate authority may by order make such modificatuon on an existing law as it considers it necessary and in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution.
“We are cognizant of the fact that the National Assembly shall not enact any law that ousts or purports to oust the judicial power of a court of law.
“Executive Order Number 006 of 2018 is a clear usurpation of legislature and judicial powers, and a replication of subsisting legislations such as Section 8 of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act of 1983, Section 330 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015 and certain provisions of Economic and Financial Crimes Commissmn Act.
“Section 8 of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act of 1983 specifically vests the Federal High Court with powers to direct or require, prohibit any disposition of property moveable or immovable where a prima facie case has been made out against a person.
“It is worrisome that the Executive Order Number 006 of 2018 is similar to the dreaded Decree Number 2 of 1984 that could be used as an instrument to hunt, traumatize, harass and victimize perceived political opponents”.
Ofongo Daniel (PDP, Bayelsa) noted that lawmakers were not against anti-corruption fight of the government but that the Order breached section 1 of the Constitution, adding that it should be enough if the any anti-corruption matter is in court.
Dennis Agbo (PDP, Enugu) Said the Order was like a military decree, “This is an attempt to usurp the powers of the legislature and judiciary,” he added
Nuhu Danburam (APC, Kano) said President Buhari was wrongly advised by his aides on the Executive Order.
Citing Section 44 Rimamnde Shawulu (PDP, Taraba)said anything that will deprive the people of their property is against the Constitution, rather the government should protect the people, he added, “This Order is extra constitutional and it will not sit well with the people. It will only create the fears in the people”.
Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje (PDP, Abia) said the Order has been variously compared to the ones signed by President Donald Trump of the United States (US) but the US Executives Orders were grounded in US Constitution.
She said the same cannot be said of the latest Order by President Buhari.
Bassey Ewah (PDP, Cross Rivers) questioned the intentmemt of the Order saying that whatever it was, it must not infringe on the powers of the legislature and the laws of the land.
Muhammad Monguno (APC, Borno) said since the intentmemt of the Order was to eradicate corruption by preserving the assets of proceeds of crime, the President has not breached any known law.
In its resolution, Speaker Yakubu Dogara put the question for the motion into votes and gave it to the Ayes.
An ad hoc committee is to be constituted to scrutinize and investigate all Subsidiary Legislations and Executive Orders in the country, the House has also summoned the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Idris Malami the Chairman of Nigerian law Reform Commission to appear before the it and submit a comprehensive list of all Subsidiary Legislations in Nigeria that are published in the Federal Gazette within two weeks.