Travel ban: Fayose drags Buhari to Human Rights Commission

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The travel ban allegedly placed on Governor
Ayodele Fayose has taken a new turn as the Ekiti
State helmsman has dragged the Buhari-led
government before the National Human Rights
Commission (NHRC).
Also petitioned are the National Assembly,
Amnesty International, Embassies of the United
States and the United Kingdom.
Ripples Nigeria gathered that the petition was
filed on his behalf on Tuesday by the state’s
House of Assembly. The petitioners drew the
commission’s attention to the alleged refusal of
the Department of State Services (DSS) to obey
a Federal High Court judgment, ordering it to pay
N5 million damages on the illegal arrest and
detention for 18 days of a member of the House,
Afolabi Akanni.
The petition signed by the Speaker, Rt. Hon.
Kolawole Oluwawole petition reads; “We write to
bring to your attention another impending
infringement on the rights of the Governor of our
State, Mr Ayodele Fayose and by extension the
entire Ekiti by the Federal Government.
“A few weeks ago, our governor was reliably
informed that President Mohammadu Buhari had
directed that he should be banned from traveling
outside Nigeria. This reliable information was to
be confirmed through reports in two major
national dailies on Sunday, May 29, 2016 titled;
‘2 govs under watch, face travel
“From our findings, one of the governors being
referred to is our own governor, Peter Ayodele
Fayose and we wish to state like we have
always done that we, the members of Ekiti State
House of Assembly are with the governor on
everything that he does.
“Even ordinary Nigerians do not require
clearance from the Department of State Services
(DSS) or any security agency to travel outside
Nigeria unless in compliance with court order,
and as at today, there is no court order placing
travel restriction on our governor, Ayodele
Fayose. Issues concerning Governor Fayose
cannot even be entertained in any court by virtue
of the immunity he enjoys as provided in Section
308 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“We however know as always that this latest
plot is as a result of our governor’s critical
stance on President Mohammadu Buhari’s
government and its anti-people’s policies, and
we make bold to say that no amount of
intimidation, harassment and oppression will
cowed the governor from exercising his
fundamental rights to freedom of expression and
to hold opinions as enshrined in the 1999
Constitution of Nigeria (as amended).
“We are aware that this is coming as a result of
the failure of the President Buhari led APC
government’s plot to use the DSS to coerce the
House of Assembly members into the plot of
removing the governor.
“We are also aware that plot to out-rightly take
the governor ‘out of circulation’ cannot be ruled
out as those advising President Buhari are said
to be of the opinion that our governor has
become a threat to his (Buhari) re-election bid
and that everything must be done to ‘whip the
governor to line’ before 2018.
“Going by the antecedents of the President
Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria and
the DSS under the President’s kinsman, Alhaji
Lawal Daura, it is certain that there is nothing
that cannot be attempted, no matter how
unlawful.
“It should be recalled that this same DSS
invaded the hallowed Chamber of the House of
Assembly in our State, abducted our member,
Hon Afolabi Akanni and kept him in detention for
18 days without access to anyone. Even when
the court ordered that he should be released, the
order was ignore. Up till today, no explanation
was given for this arrest and detention.
“It should also be recalled that on April 20th,
2016, the Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti, in Suit
No. FHC/AD/CS/7/2016 ordered the DSS to pay
a sum of N5 million to Hon Afolabi Akanni as
damages for what the court termed unlawful,
illegal and unconstitutional infringement of his
fundamental rights. Up till today, that judgment
has not been obeyed by the DSS.
“It is therefore on the premise of display of
arrogance and contempt for the laws of the
country by the DSS under President Buhari that
we elected to bring this latest plot to place
Governor Ayodele Fayose on travel ban to your
attention.
“It is worrisome that the federal government will
consider the idea of compelling a sitting governor
in Nigeria that enjoys Constitutional Immunity
like the President to obtain clearance from the
Director General DSS, who is an appointee of the
President before travelling out of Nigeria.
“This to us is an affront on the 1999
Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) more so
that States, as federating units in Nigeria are not
under the Federal Government, which itself is
also a State and not superior to other federating
units.
“Section 35 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as
amended) provides that; ‘Every person shall be
entitled to his personal liberty and no person
shall be deprived of such liberty,’ Section 39 (1)
provides that; ‘Every person shall be entitled to
freedom of expression, including freedom to hold
opinions and to receive and impact ideas and
information without interference,’ while Section
41 (1) provides that ‘Every citizen of Nigeria is
entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to
reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of
Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused
entry thereto or exit therefrom.’
“Article 13 (1) of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights to which Nigeria is a signatory
provides that “Everyone has the right to freedom
of movement and residence within the border of
each State while Article 13 (2) provides that
‘Everyone has the right to leave any country,
including his own, and return to his country,’
ditto Article 12 (2) of the African Charter on
Human and Peoples’ Rights.
“By provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria,
ordinary Nigerians do not require clearance from
the DSS or any security agency to travel outside
Nigeria unless travel restriction is placed by an
order of the court, not to talk of State Governors
that enjoy immunity just like the President and
are not under the control of the President.
“Our question is; if Governor Fayose has become
a threat to the security of Nigeria just because
he criticises President Buhari and says the truth
about his mis-governance of the country, what
happens to Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution
of Nigeria (as amended), which provided for
freedom of expression and freedom to hold
opinions?
“Most importantly, under a federal system of
government, the states and national government
both enjoy some autonomy, with sovereign power
formally divided between the national
government and the States such that each State
retains some degree of control over its internal
affairs.
“However, it appears that the laws of Nigeria are
not important to the President Mohammadu
Buhari led government and it has become once
again necessary that webring your attention to
yet, another plot to subvert our rights as a
State.
“We wish to recall that in 1984 when President
Buhari was a military Head of State, late Chief
Obafemi Awolowo was prevented from travelling
outside Nigeria for medical treatment, thereby
leading to his (Awolowo) untimely death in 1987.
“The international passports of late Ooni of Ife,
Oba Okunade Sijuwade; late Emir of Kano Alhaji
Ado Bayero and late Obi of Onitsha, Ofala
Akulalia Alphonsus Ogugua were also seized and
they were restricted to their palaces just because
they travelled to Israel for business.
“We therefore wish to state on behalf of Governor
Ayodele Fayose that as an opposition figure, he
cannot be cowed by this pettiness from the
presidency.”
The petition was received by NHRC’s Executive
Secretary, Professor Bem Angwe, who assured
that his commission will investigate the petition.

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