About 48 hours after a court backed Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on an executive order aimed at firming up his campaign against graft, the government has said that 50 high-profile Nigerians have now been banned from leaving the country.
“A number of enforcement procedures are currently in place by which the Nigeria Immigration Service and other security agencies have placed no fewer than 50 high profile persons directly affected by EO6 on watch-list and restricted them from leaving the county pending the determination of their cases,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement on Saturday.
Shehu said the financial transactions of these persons of interest were being monitored by the relevant agencies to ensure that the assets are not dissipated and such persons do not interfere with, nor howsoever corrupt the investigation and litigation processes.
Executive Order 6 was issued by Buhari on July 15. But two lawyers, Ikenga Ugochinyere and Mr Keneth Udeze, said the Presidential Executive Order was unconstitutionally and went to court to challenge it.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, on Thursday, ruled that the order did not violate any human right and the constitution. She affirmed the president’s constitutional power to issue such order.
Ojukwu also noted that the intention of the Executive Order was not to preclude any Nigerian from owning property and enjoying the benefits of a fair hearing.
“What the President has demonstrated by the Executive Order in question is his willingness to ensure the prevention of the dissipation of assets and funds connected with the commission of the offence of corruption and other related offences, until the determination of any corruption-related matter against the person or firm,” the judge held.
Shehu said upon the dismissal of the suit by Justice Ojukwu, Buhari had mandated the attorney-general of Nigeria Abubakar Malami to “implement the Order in full force.”
Such implementation, he said, will be done within the ambit of “the rule of law” and that “the right of citizens would be protected as guaranteed by the Constitution.”