The presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has approached a High Court in Federal Capital Territory with a request for it to bar President Muhammadu Buhari and security agencies in the country from interfering with the general election.
Atiku has also requested the court to compel Buhari to pay him damages in the aggregate sum of N2 billion, as well as tender a public apology to him, for sponsoring frivolous suits against him.
Backstory: The demands were contained in a counter-claim which Atiku filed in response to a N40 million libel suit the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO) filed against him over an allegation that he defamed Buhari and his family.
The BCO accused Atiku and his aide, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, of making defamatory statements in the media which alleged that Buhari used his position to fraudulently acquire two private companies, Keystone Bank Plc and 9Mobile Communication Ltd. for himself, his family members, and friends.
In the counter-claim filed through his lawyer, Mr. Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN), Atiku challenged the competence of the suit saying it was highly frivolous.
He applied for an order mandating that the N2 billion damages be paid by President Buhari and the BCO, and sent to all the camps of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) across the country and also to acquire equipment for libraries of all state universities in Nigeria.
Atiku has also sought an order “mandating President Buhari and his agents, including security operatives and officers to abide by the rule of law and the principle of separation of powers entrenched in the constitution and should not intervene in the forthcoming elections.”
Atiku also told the court that Buhari’s desecration of the judicial process of the nation has led to high tension and democratic instability in the country.
“That Buhari in flagrant abuse of his veto power, without any unilateral support from other tiers of government illegally and unconstitutionally suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen, from office on January 25, 2019 without strict adherence to the provisions of section 292 of the 1999 constitution which laid down the procedure for the removal of a judicial officer in his capacity.”