The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called for the dismissal of an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari for making derogatory comments about the Federal High Court and claiming to have the power to influence court decisions.
A statement signed Sunday in Abuja by National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director Zainab Yusuf, said the implication of the assertion of the presidential aide is that the current executive arm of government has the capacity to arm-twist the judiciary and can as well write court decisions for the judges from the offices at the presidential villa, the Lagos-based Guardian reported.
HURIWA recalled that Special Assistant Bashir Ahmad, after sensing how angry other Twitter users had become about his claims to have the contact to influence court decisions, deleted his earlier tweet and retweeted that he was unaware of the ingredients of the said matter of abduction of the teenage Ese Oruru.
“We consider this subtle admission of the near-infinite capacity of the Presidential aide to predetermine the decision of the competent courts of law as a grave threat to constitutional democracy and has rubbished the sanctity of the nation’s court system except and unless the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration comes out clean and state the official position on this verbal assault on the Judicial arm of government by one of his assistants in the person of Bashir Ahmed,” the statement said.
It added: “President Muhammadu Buhari should immediately sanction his misbehaved assistant by sacking him from his job and to assure Nigerians that indeed his administration is not tale guiding the judges of the Court systems at the Federal level. If this is not done then Nigerians will have no choice but to accept what Bashir Ahmed told us that as an official of President Muhammadu Buhari that he has the contact that can extra-judicially fix the decisions of Courts of Nigeria which is a grave violation of the principle of separation of powers recognized by the Constitution and specifically section 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended).”
Specifically, the rights group noted that section 6 of the Constitution provides thus: “The judicial powers of the Federation shall be vested in the courts to which this section relates, being courts established for the Federation. The judicial powers of a State shall be vested in the courts to which this section relates, being courts established, subject as provided by this Constitution, for a State.
“The courts to which this section relates, established by this Constitution for the Federation and for the States, specified in subsection (5) (a) to (1) of this section, shall be the only superior courts of record in Nigeria; and save as otherwise prescribed by the National Assembly or by the House of Assembly of a State, each court shall have all the powers of a superior court of record.”