COVID-19: PDP kicks against ‘presidential orders’ from SGF, says it’s unconstitutional

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the action of Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), issuing presidential orders at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, is unconstitutional.

The opposition party stated this in reaction to the extension of eased and total lockdown by more two weeks which was announced by the SGF on Monday.

Although the national coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Coronavirus disease, Sani Aliyu, had on Sunday said Mr Buhari will address Nigerians on Monday as the first phase of eased lockdown he imposed expires, the presidency said no such broadcast was planned.

Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman who stated this said further directives from his principal will be issued through the PTF.

Kicking against the pronouncement of the PTF, the PDP said such act was unconstitutional while reminding the president that Nigerians were still waiting to hear from him.

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“The PDP has noted the assumption of Presidential powers by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, to announce an extension of lockdown and curfew in our country in relation to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” the party said in a statement signed by Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary on Monday.

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“Our party points out that nowhere in our laws are the powers to broadcast Presidential executive orders to declare curfew and restriction of movements vested in the Office of the SGF.

“The action of the SGF has brought serious confusion in the polity regarding the legality or otherwise of the directives contained in the SGF’s announcement.

“Such powers are vested in the person and office of Mr. President and not exercisable by proxy, directly or indirectly; which makes the action of the SGF a recipe for serious constitutional crisis in our country.

“Our nation is a state governed by dictates of the law, particularly in the exercise of powers vested in statutory offices, especially that of the President.

“The PDP holds that the announcement by the SGF is, therefore, another manifestation of abuse of our statutory offices arising from the abdication of responsibilities by President Muhammadu Buhari since the last five years, which had also become more pronounced in this fight against COVID-19.

“Our party, therefore, invites Mr. President to end the confusion in the polity, arising from the action of the SGF, by immediately addressing Nigerians in his official capacity to fulfill the demands of our laws in respect of the necessary protocols on restrictions and other management procedures in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in our country,” the statement added.

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