Malami has asked Buhari to suspend Nigerian Constitution.
CityNews Nigeria learnt that President Muhammadu Buhari is in the process of declaring a state of emergency across the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This online news platform understands that the development was disclosed in a secret memo and official accounts sent to the President by AGF Malami and sighted by Peoples Gazette.
CityNews reports that the secret memo is coming at a time Buhari administration is scrambling to waggle its way out of acute insecurity and the encumbrances of constitutional provisions.
According to the report by the Gazette, Attorney-General Abubakar Malami has already written lengthy legal advice to President Buhari, urging him to move swiftly to suspend the fundamental rights of all Nigerians as guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution.
AGF Malami in the eight-page secret memo dated May 4, 2021, told President Buhari that insecurity across Nigeria has reached a level that could no longer be checked by existing democratic techniques, saying only a state of emergency promulgated by the president can help return the country to tranquillity.
“The essence of declaration is to allow for suspension of constitutional and legal bureaucratic bottlenecks pertaining to matters of National Security with particular regards to fundamental rights guaranteed under Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution and processes and procedures relating to procurements, among others,” the attorney-general said.
AGF Malami said President Buhari should issue instruments of emergency and publish them in the federal gazette. Senate President Ahmed Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila will be informed about the decision ahead of implementation, he added.
“To douse probable legal tension, it is important for the proclamation instrument of the statement of emergency to expressly provide for the suspension of Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution and its attendant enforcement rules,” AGF Malami wrote. “The suspension of rights pertaining to matters of national security will then give legal backing for the proclamation of the statement of emergency to be operational and effective without litigious or judicial distractions.”
AGF Malami In the early pages of the document, cited widespread acts of insecurity and blamed prominent separatist agitators like Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu for fueling the protracted crisis that has enveloped the country and aggravated the social and economic conditions of Nigerians.
CityNews understands that the secret memo was endorsed to the president by National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, and administration officials are divided on how to proceed with the advice.
“Clearly, different factions of our government have different positions on this alarming proposal,” a presidency official told The Gazette. “But everyone agrees that the AGF holds powerful sway over the president and it would be a miracle if the Constitution is not suspended as he recommended.”
Another official also within the presidency, who confirmed hearing about the memo but had not seen it before they were reached by The Gazette, said President Buhari might have little resistance considering the potency of AGF Malami’s argument.
“The president is just saying they should act in the best interest of the country,” the official said. “Even as the president, he seemed to have given up on his own ability to get the AGF to back down.”
Multiple constitutional scholars and practitioners who analysed the memo for Peoples Gazette, said it was essentially a suspension of the Nigerian Constitution and declaration of martial law since Chapter IV dealt with fundamental human rights absence of which there cannot be a democratic system.
The analysts acknowledged President Buhari’s powers to issue a state of emergency under Section 305 of the Constitution but said the powers are not absolute and do not include outright suspension of Chapter IV. While Section 305 said the president can declare a national emergency to curb criminalities, it did not expressly permit suspension of Chapter IV, which analysts described as the most important section of the Constitution.