The House of Representatives has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend and discontinue the application and implementation of Executive Order number 006 of 2018 in view of its controversial nature and conflict with relevant provisions of the law.
This decision was taken on Wednesday after the House adopted a motion of urgent public importance moved by Nicholas Ossai (Delta, PDP) and 24 others, titled “Urgent need to investigate the constitutional compliance of all subsidiary legislations and executive orders by the executive arm of government.”
Mr Ossai, while moving the motion, said the executive order was a clear usurpation of legislative and judicial powers and a replication of subsisting legislations.
He listed some of these legislations to be section 8 of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act of 1983, section 330 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015 and certain provisions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act.
He said the section of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act of 1993 specifically vests the Federal High Court with powers to direct or require, prohibit any disposition of property moveable or immovable where a prima facie case has been made against a person.
Mr. Ossai equated the executive order with the dreaded Decree 2 of 1984 that could be used as an instrument of pursuit of personal gains.
“The Executive Order number 6 of 2018 is similar to the dreaded Decree number 2 of 1984 that could be used as an instrument to hunt, traumatize, harass and victimize perceived political opponents,” he said.
Contributing to the debate, a lawmaker from Ondo state, Bode Ayorinde, who identified himself as a member of the R-APC, said the order was unacceptable and should not be allowed.
“The situation whereby the Executive usurps the powers of the Legislature in the name of executive order is unacceptable.”
“We are in a democracy and there is a clear separation of powers, this should not be allowed,” he said.
Adopting the motion, the House also resolved to invite the Attorney-General of the Federation and chairman of Nigerian Law Reform Commission to appear before the House and submit a comprehensive list of all subsidiary legislations in Nigeria that are published in the federal gazette within two weeks.
An ad hoc committee will also be constituted to scrutinise and investigate all subsidiary legislations and executive orders in Nigeria.
The Executive Order number 6 of 2018, signed by President Buhari, appears to hijack and usurp legislative and judicial powers.
The order says the government can seize asset it suspects to have been corruptly acquired by government officials directly or through fronts.
The order also seeks to restrain owners of asset under investigation from carrying out any further transaction on such asset.
The decision has, however, attracted criticisms from some Nigerians who questioned its constitutionality.