The Federal Government has said it cannot rule out the declaration of a state of emergency in Anambra State if the security situation in the state fails to improve before the November 6 governorship election.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said this on Wednesday while answering questions from State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
But the Peoples Democratic Party, the All Progressive Grand Alliance and its governorship candidate, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, strongly warned against the threat by the Federal Government to declare emergency rule in the state.
The PDP alleged that it was part of the plot of the Federal Government to rig the election.
A state of emergency is a situation of national danger or disaster in which a government suspends normal constitutional procedures in order to regain control.
A declared state of emergency allows the President to immediately make any desired regulations to secure public order and safety.
The insecurity in Anambra State worsened a few weeks ago with a declaration by a separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra that the November 6 governorship poll in the state would not hold.
On September 28, gunmen murdered Dr Chike Akunyili, the widower of the late Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, and former Minister of Information, Prof Dora Akunyili, and eight others at Nkpor in the Idemili Local Government Area of the state.
On Tuesday, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, expressed concerns about the deteriorating security situation in the state.
On Wednesday in the interview with the state House correspondent, Malami, said the government had the responsibility to sustain the democratic order and would do the needful to ensure that the election holds.
According to him, no possibility can be ruled out when the sanctity of democracy is threatened.
He, however, said that the option of declaring a state of emergency was still on the table and might be used if circumstances necessitated it.
Malami said, “When our national security is attacked and the sanctity of our constitutionally guaranteed democracy is threatened, no possibility is ruled out.
“As a government, we have a responsibility to ensure the sustenance of our democratic order. As a government, we have a responsibility to provide security to life and properties.
“So, within the context of these constitutional obligations, of the government or the desire to establish democratic norms and order, there is no possibility that is ruled out.
“The government will certainly do the needful in terms of ensuring that our election is held in Anambra in terms of ensuring necessary security is provided, and in terms of ensuring protection is accorded to lives and properties.
“So, what I’m saying in essence is, no possibility is out ruled by government in terms of ensuring the sanctity of our democratic order, in terms of ensuring that our election in Anambra holds, and you cannot rule out possibilities including the declaration of state of emergency where it is established, in essence, that there is a failure on the part of the state government to ensure the sanctity of security of lives, properties and democratic order.
“So, our position as a government is this; the election is going to hold. Necessary security in terms of democratic order must certainly prevail for the purpose of this election.
“The election is going to hold and no possibilities are ruled out in terms of ensuring the provision of security, for the purpose of the conduct of the election as far as Anambra is concerned.”
The National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Oye, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the party rejected the plan by the Federal Government.
He asked, “Have they declared a state of emergency in Borno where in one fell swoop, 300 people can be killed?
“What Anambra requires is a sincere approach to the restoration of normalcy. The Federal Government has the capacity to end it.”
“Anambra doesn’t deserve the declaration of a state of emergency. What the government needs to do is to beef up security there, restore normalcy and deal with those who are causing confusion in the state.”
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement titled, “Perish contemplations of state of emergency In Anambra, PDP cautions FG” asked the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to perish every contemplation of imposing a state of emergency in the state ahead of the November 6 governorship election.
He said, “The PDP holds that the reported move to foist an emergency rule in Anambra state is a ploy by the APC-led government to suppress the people, manipulate the process and rig the governorship election for the APC and its candidate.
“Our party demands that the APC and its administration should come clean on their roles in the sudden rise in insecurity in Anambra State ahead of the election.
“This demand is predicated on apprehensions in the public space that the spate of insecurity in Anambra is contrived to heighten tension in the state so as to derail the democratic process to the advantage of the APC.”
Electoral Act: Supreme Court Strikes Out Buhari’s Suit Against NASS
The Supreme Court, on Friday, struck out a suit filed against the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari challenging the legality of the controversial section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
The Apex Court held that Buhari, having assented to the Electoral Bill on February 25, 2022, has no power to turn around to challenge the legality of the Electoral Act.
The Supreme Court, in a judgment prepared and delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, declared the action of Buhari in instituting the case as a gross abuse of court.
The Apex Court said the President by the suit sought to approbate and reprobate at the same time and that such must not be allowed.
Besides, the court held that Buhari has no power under any law to dictate to the National Assembly on law-making.
The unanimous verdict held that Buhari, having participated in the making of the Electoral Act by his assent, lacked Constitutional powers to come up to challenge same.
Lawyer Protests Hijab Ruling, Appears at Supreme Court Dressed in Native Doctor’s Attire
A human rights lawyer, Malcolm Omoirhobo, on Thursday, caused a stir due to his mode of dressing at the Supreme Court in Abuja.
Photos circulated on social media showed Omoirhobo dressed in a lawyer’s robe mixed with other materials that made him look like an African native doctor.
The lawyer had a gourd with cowries around his neck and a feather on his wig.
According to him, he wore the attire to show gratitude to the Supreme Court which had, on Friday, June 17, 2022, granted the use of hijab by female Muslim students in government-owned schools in Lagos.
“That we are free to express our way of worship in our schools and in our courts. That decision was reached on Friday and that has encouraged me.
“Because I am a traditionalist and this is the way I worship. Based on the decision of the Supreme Court, this is how I will be dressing henceforth in court because I am a strong adherent to ‘Olokun’, the god of rivers.”
Reacting, a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Ibadan, Francis Egbokhare, told The PUNCH that the lawyer’s action exposed the ridiculousness that is sometimes associated with law.
He said, “I believe this is just basically sarcasm, as far as I’m concerned, bringing to our attention the ridiculousness sometimes of law when you stretch it out to such an extent.
“For instance, if dress code does not matter, or if you are to modify a dress code, the question is what are the boundaries or limitations, and where do you draw the line?”
Advising the lawyer, Egobkare said, “I think it will be a good thing for him to test it further because this is a comic relief so far. Until he brings it up through the legal process, it may not have any impact beyond just giving us something to laugh about.”
UK Police Arrest Ekweremadu, Wife for Alleged Plan to Harvest Child’s Organs
The United Kingdom Metropolitan Police have formally charged two Nigerians with conspiracy to facilitate the travel of another person for organ harvesting.
The suspects were arrested and charged over their plan to bring a child into the country to allegedly harvest the said child’s organs.
The two arrested suspects were identified as Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55, and Ike Ekweremadu, 60, from Nigeria.
The suspects who have been remanded in custody will appear at Uxbridge magistrates court later on Thursday.
They are charged with conspiracy to harvest organs, The Guardian UK reports.
According to the report, the charges involve arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting, the Met said in a statement.
The child involved has been safeguarded, according to the Met.
The investigation was launched after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May 2022, the force said.