Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ruled as unconstitutional the deployment of the military during the general elections. The Judge had argued that to deploy the military, it should sought the approval of the of the National Assembly.
In a suit filed by the minority leader in the house of representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila against five others, chief of defence staff, chief of Army staff, chief of Naval staff, chief of Air staff and the Attorney General of the Federation, challenging the decision of the Federal government to deploy the military for the election, he had asked the court to stop the military authorities from deploying their men and officers for the elections.
The court had relied on a recent judgement of the court of Appeal that barred the deployment of the military for elections. He stated that it violates section217 (2) of the constitution and section1 of the Armed forces Act. The ruling is also in tandem with the federal high court ruling sitting in Sokoto.
The plaintiff had argued that the deployment of the military affected free movement as was observed in the Osun, Ekiti and Anambra elections. He argued that the armed forces Act is subordinate to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Counsel to the defendants, Dele Adesina argued that the President as the commander in chief of the Armed forces had powers under the Armed forces Act to deploy the military to maintain law and order.
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
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