Buhari commits constitutional breach by closing Nigeria’s land borders, lawyer tells court

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A human rights lawyer, Emeka Odikpo, has filed a motion at the Federal High Court in Lagos challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s powers to close Nigeria’s land borders.

The president had through the Nigerian Customs Service, unexpectedly closed the land borders in August 2019 to imported and exported goods. No timeline was given to the reopening of the borders.

Odikpo filed the motion on behalf of Umeh Ezeh, asking the President to order the reopening of the borders as he neither has the constitutional powers nor the approval of the National Assembly to do so.

He said the presidential directive was unreasonable and wrath great hardship against small scale traders, who under the ECOWAS treaty and the African Charter on human and people’s rights, are entitled to trade freely on legitimate and lawful goods upon payment of due taxes and duties.

He added that the order should be set aside because the transportation of goods by air cargo is highly expensive and only ostentatious goods can be exported or imported through that mode of transportation. He said more than 99 percent of goods that are imported and exported amongst West African countries can’t afford that.

He, therefore, asked the court to grant his client the relief that the first respondent (Nigeria Customs Service) acted unlawfully as it violates the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and the revised treaty of Economic Community of West African States.

– Feb. 21, 2020 @ 15:05 GMT |

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