Chairman, Ikere Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Ekiti State, Barr Bunmi Olugbade, has declared that President Muhammadu Buhari did not breach the constitution by giving financial aids to some states to bail them out of inability to pay salaries.
Olugbade, a former member of Ekiti State House of Assembly said the constitution empowers President Buhari to act in time of emergency to the needs of Nigerians.
According to the NBA boss, it is a mere misrepresentation of fact that some people in some quarters feel that President Buhari did not refer to the National Assembly to appropriate such money before taking action.
Olugbade, who spoke in a telephone interview with newsmen in Ado Ekiti yesterday while commenting on the reservations expressed by some Nigerians on the action of President Buhari, said Section 6 subsection 6 (b) of the constitution empowers any Nigerian to challenge any government’s policy in court on issues of rights and obligations.
He said whoever is contesting Buhari’s action is also doing so within the ambit of the law and counseled that such persons should not be condemned but should be allowed the freedom to do so.
Supporting the president’s action, Olugbade stated that Section 5(1) of the 1999 Constitution stipulates that : “the executive powers of the Federation shall be vested in the President,” explaining that Buhari enjoys this privilege because Nigeria is a federating state and operates presidential system.
“Under Section 13 of the 1999 constitution, government of the federation has statutory objectives to carry out State policies. Sections 16 and 17 even stated that the State shall protect the rights of the citizens.
“Section 16 (2) went further to say that the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that the material resources are harnessed, managed and distributed for the common good of the citizens.
“So, the social responsibility of government also stated that government shall direct its policy to ensure provision for public assistance in deserving cases or other conditions of needs.
“The combined effects of all these provisions lend credence to the fact that President Buhari has not breached the Constitution. What he did was in the best interest of Nigeria and within the law”, he maintained.
In addition, Olugbade added that Section 164 of the Constitution also empowers the President to make grants to States to supplement their revenues subject to some terms and conditions, as described by the National Assembly.
“President Buhari can give financial bailouts to States, even without consulting the National Assembly. He has the right to act based on exigency of needs. He has the duty to ensure that Nigerians don’t suffer.
He called on Nigerians to see the bailouts as a right step in the right direction, rather than reading political meanings into such a timely economic policy.

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