PDP drags Buhari to court over ballot snatching directive

Muhammadu Buhari [Photo: Presidency]
President Muhammadu Buhari [Photo: Presidency]

Nigeria’s main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari before an FCT high court over his controversial directive to the military on ballot box snatching.

President Buhari on Monday said all those planning to snatch ballot boxes may be carrying out their last illegal acts.
The president made the statement at the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus meeting on Monday.

The comment generated heated debates in the polity with many saying the president’s statement is a veiled directive to security operatives to kill (extra-judicially) those who run afoul of the electoral law.

The PDP had described the directive as a “direct call for jungle justice, attempt to divert public attention from the APC’s plot perfected elections rigging and political violence.”

Five days after the controversial comment, the party approached a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) high court on Thursday, asking it to determine whether or not, the president’s statement is unconstitutional.

According to documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, the party also wants the court to determine if the armed forces are under any obligation to obey what the party describes as illegal directives.

Amongst other requests, the party is seeking a declaration by the court that the president lacks powers to deploy the military to participate in elections without the approval of the National Assembly.

A leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, however, defended the president saying President Muhammadu Buhari was ‘misinterpreted’.

The Electoral Act prescribes two years in jail, not death, for persons found guilty of snatching or destroying election materials.

Lawyers also argue that Section 33 of the Nigerian Constitution gives instances where ”one may forfeit his/her life as a result of certain scenarios”.

The Nigerian Army on Monday added another twist to the debate when it told PREMIUM TIMES it will obey ‘totally and effectively’ such order if it is given by Mr Buhari.

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