Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu questions attempts to abuse the powers of the Attorney-General of the Federation, clarifying that Presidential Executive Order 6 only grants powers that must be exercised in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
Making this known during a judgement at a Federal High Court in Abuja, the judge cautioned the government against seizing assets of anyone identified as corrupt or under trial without obtaining a valid order of Court to do so.
The court however dismissed the suit challenging the validity of the Presidential Executive Order 6, which grants the President power to temporarily seize assets under contention or linked to a case of corruption or related offences.
The civil society and legal practitioners had been rattled by President Muhammadu Buhari’s July 5 order which sought to repossess assets linked to corruption and other related offences. Dismissing the suit against the presidential orders as “lacking in merit,” the judge held that the order was valid and does not breach the principle of separation of powers.
The order empowers the AGF to take steps, in liaison with relevant investigative agencies, to temporarily seize assets linked to corruption pending investigation and conclusion of trial to preserve such assets.
Described as “violation of the rights of citizens to own property” by lawyers Ikenga Ugochinyere and Kenneth Udeze, the order has been upheld by Jutsice Ojukwu as valid power of the President, as granted by the Constitution, to issue Executive Orders for the execution of Executive policies, as long as such orders do not offend the doctrine of separation of powers.