With the executive cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari unwilling to avail Nigerians of the health status of the president, some Nigerians have approached the courts to determine what ails the number one citizen.
Although some Nigerians have demanded for an open independent medical evaluation of the president, the chances are extremely slim, as Section 144, of the nation’s constitution requires a resolution of two-thirds majority of all members of the executive council for such to be activated.
The presidency has maintained that the president’s health status, and whatever ailment he is being treated for cannot be made public for security reasons, and that only the president can speak on the issue, if and when he wants to.
However, a number of Nigerians disagree, and have taken it a step further by asking the courts to compel the federal legislative arm of government to set up a medical panel to ascertain if the president is medical fit enough to carry on with his duties as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Buhari left the country on May 7 for what the presidency said is a follow up medical treatment in the United Kingdom, and has not been seen publicly or directly heard from since then, save for occasional statements from his media advisers claiming its from the president.
Not impressed by Buhari’s absence, two more Nigerians, John Larry Ojukoko Esq. and Dr. Ejiro Imuere, have filed a suit at the Federal High Court Warri, Delta State, seeking an order compelling the Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives to set up a medical panel to examine the medical fitness of President Buhari.
This is the second suit to be so filed seeking to make public the health status of Buhari.
Only recently, a Nigerian residing in the United States, Mr. Toyin Dawodu, also moved to use the court in efforts to unveil the health status of Mr. President.
Dawodu, who filed his suit at an Abuja Federal High Court, prayed the court to mandate Senate President Bukola Saraki to set-up a medical panel on President Muhammadu Buhari.
The panel according to him is to determine the health status of the president who has been almost inactive since the beginning of the year as a result of an unknown ailment.
In the suit marked FHC/ ABJ/ CS / 508 / 2017 and filed on June 28, Dawodu asked the court to declare Saraki as empowered by the Nigerian Constitution to set up a medical panel to find out Buhari ’s health status “without first being a resolution of the Executive Council of the Federation.”
The latest suit by Ojukoko and Dr. Imuere, joins the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and Attorney General of the Federation, as respondents.
They want the court to determine, “Whether or not by the combined effect of sections 144 (1) and (2) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, impose a duty on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants to verify the medical fitness of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria where exist a clear evidence that the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria over a period of time is incapable of performing his constitutional duty due to ill health”.
The appellants also want the court to determine, whether Buhari is guilty of gross misconduct over the incessant killings carried out by suspected herdsmen, and the lopsided nature of recent recruitment of cadets into the Department of State Security (DSS).
They prayed the court to determine “Whether or not by the combined effect of the provisions of section 14 (2) (b), section 143 (1), (2) (11) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended vis a vis the incessant killings and wanton destruction of properties by group identified as herdsmen with no visible and decisive move to end same by the 1st defendant amount to “gross misconduct on the part of 1st defendant.
“Whether the May 2017 recruitment of 479 cadet officers by the Department of State Service (DSS) of which 331 (Three Hundred and Thirty One ) are from the 3 Northern Geographical Zone of North West, North East and North Central with Katsina State having 51 cadet officers, while the 3 South Geographical Zone of West, East and South admitted 143 cadet officers with Lagos having 7 cadet office, contravened section 14(3) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended thereby amount to “gross misconduct” on the part of the 1st Defendant as defined in Section 143 (ii) of the 1999 constitution as amended.”
The plaintiffs, upon determination of the prayers against the defendants, seek the following: “A Declaration that the combined effect of sections 144 (1) and (2) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, impose a duty on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Defendants to verify the medical state of the 1st Defendant to ascertain whether he is capable of performing his constitutional duty as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“A Declaration that by virtue of Section 14 (2) (b) of 1999 Constitution as amended, the 1st Defendant is duty bound to put an end to the incessant killing and wanton destruction of properties across Nigeria by the group known as herdsmen.
“A Declaration that lopsided recruitment of 479 cadet officers into the Department of State Service contravenes Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“A Declaration that, the non -adherence to Sections 14 (2) (b) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended the 1st Defendant, has failed in his constitutional duties and his oaths of allegiance.
“An Order of Mandamus compelling the 2nd and 3rd defendants to set up a medical panel to examine the medical fitness of 1st defendant to discharge the function of the office of President”.
They are therefore seeking an order of Mandamus compelling the National Assembly to set in motion the provision of Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution
This section spells out steps and procedures for the impeachment of the Nigerian president.
The suit has not been assigned to any judge, and no date has been fixed for its hearing.