Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has slammed the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF Abubakar Malami, for saying the Federal Government may declare a state of emergency in Anambra State if the violence being witnessed in the state continues.
Malami had made the statement while addressing State House correspondents in Abuja after a Federal Executive Council meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.
However, this was criticised by Falana in a statement issued on Wednesday.
“In other words, since the emergency rule imposed on the North East region by President Goodluck Jonathan expired by effluxion of time, President Buhari has not renewed or extended it,” the human rights lawyer said.
“The National Assembly has not challenged the illegal emergency rule imposed without any declaration as stipulated by section 305 of the Constitution.
“Hence, the threat issued by the Attorney-General of the Federation is an attempt to return to constitutionalism with respect to the imposition of emergency rule in Anambra State and other states in the North-West, North-East and South-East regions where the Federal Government is waging a full-scale war against terrorists and the so-called gunmen.”
Falana insisted that nowhere in the Constitution has the President been vested with the power to remove the elected governor of a state and suspend democratic structures.
He explained that the governor of a state can only be removed by impeachment or resignation and not by imposition of emergency rule, adding that the tenure of legislators is four years in line with the provisions of the Constitution.
“Even though former President Olusegun Obasanjo removed two Governors via the imposition of emergency rule, the PDP-led Federal Government later jettisoned the illegal practice,” the lawyer maintained.
“Hence ex- Presidents Umaru Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan never used emergency rule to remove elected governors or suspend legislative houses and local government councils. Indeed, the Federal Government has since realised that it is unjust and immoral to remove a governor of a state since the president exclusively controls the armed forces, the police and other security agencies.
“To that extent, the Federal Government should drop the dangerous plan to remove the Governor of Anambra State and impose a Sole Administrator on the eve of the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the State.”