Our attention has been drawn to the statement by the Presidency banning 50 unnamed Nigerians from travelling out of the country, purportedly on the strength of Executive Order 6. Their crime being that they are suspected of having property overseas and are involved in tax dodging or other alleged financial infractions.
We must be unequivocal in saying that we abhor any act of criminality, financially or otherwise, but the rule of law must be our guide at all times or society will descend to anarchy. Thus, we find it most undemocratic that in a nation governed by the rule of law, a President who swore an oath to abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, does this.
If past events are to be the judge, these 50 individuals will conveniently be critics and opponents of the Buhari administration. This is nothing short of intimidation ahead of the 2019 elections. This is what the Buhari administration did in Osun where they froze the accounts of the Adeleke family and then illegally and clandestinely paid ₦16.7 billion to the Osun state government to facilitate daylight electoral robbery.
The Nigerian Constitution guarantees every Nigerian citizen freedom of movement and freedom of association. This Constitutional right cannot be taken away except by a court order.
If the Buhari administration wants to curtail the rights of Nigerians, then they must go to court and obtain a court order. Anything short of this is unconstitutional and extrajudicial.
This sudden dictatorial act brings to mind President Buhari’s comments for which he was condemned by the international community and by the generality of Nigerians.
While delivering an address at the annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association on August 26, 2018, President Buhari has said, “Where national security and public interest are threatened or there is a likelihood of their being threatened, the individual rights of those allegedly responsible must take second place, in favour of the greater good of society.”
That was not only a faulty interpretation of the constitution, the statement also betrays the dictatorial and authoritarian mindset of President Buhari because only he gets to decide who and what threatens national security.
It is a throwback to Buhari’s evil Decree Number Two of 1984 which criminalised truth telling if it did not please Buhari, proving that dictators can grow old, but they can’t grow into democrats.
Under the Buhari administration, Nigeria has witnessed an unprecedented capital flight out of the nation to the extent that we are not even listed amongst the top ten recipients of Foreign Direct Investment in Africa in the latest ranking by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. It is salient to note that we were number one under the last Peoples Democratic Party administration.
Funny enough, the Buhari administration were unable to stop Abdulrasheed Maina, their financier, from leaving the country after he was illegally brought back by them and reinstated to the federal service with double promotion.
It is precisely this type of draconian orders that have chased investors away from Nigeria and it is precisely why Nigerians will chase this recession friendly government away from power on February 16, 2019, so we can begin the job of Getting Nigeria Working Again.