Stop interfering in EFCC’s Operation; Withdraw Your Directive to Banks to Unfreeze Patience Jonathan’s Account - Group Tells NASS
- SERAP stated that NASS was aggrandizing its legislative powers without sufficient checks and constitutional scrutiny and validity; and urged lawmakers to advise Mrs Jonathan to seek appropriate judicial remedies if she feels her rights have been violated
- According to SERAP, Nigerians want a balanced sharing of constitutional powers, and not an ‘Imperial National Assembly’ that sits on its throne in Abuja and treats them as ‘serfs in their fiefdoms’
The National Assembly has been urged to withdraw its directives to some banks to unfreeze former first lady Patience Jonathan’s accounts, by civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Premium Times reports.
SERAP made its position known in a statement which was signed by its deputy director, Timothy Adewale, on Sunday, October 22.
Onlinenigeria.com notes that the upper and lower legislative chambers had respectively given the directive to unfreeze Mrs Jonathan’s accounts, via their various committees.
The former first lady’s accounts are being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In Adewale’s statement, he noted that NASS’s directive amounted to “mingling of the executive and judicial powers in the National Assembly.”
He went further: “Checks and balances should ideally help contribute to the rule of law and strengthening our democratic dispensation.
“But if one branch of government grows too strong and overreaching, the country might be in trouble.
“Rather than helping Mrs Jonathan’s desire to achieve justice for what she may consider being violations of her human rights, such directives are doing exactly the opposite and politicising the criminal justice process.
“Nigerians are concerned about their lawmakers’ thirst for power, and about the National Assembly aggrandizing its legislative powers without sufficient checks and constitutional scrutiny and validity.
“The directives purportedly unfreezing the accounts of Mrs Jonathan will not give the public the confidence that the National Assembly will change its ways and embrace the rule of law.
“The National Assembly should not show itself as incapable and unwilling to address the concerns of Nigerians about its operations and apparent lack of transparency.
“These kinds of interventions by the National Assembly could portray our lawmakers in the eyes of Nigerians as forgetting what they are in Abuja to do.
“The Senate and House of Representatives should advise Mrs Jonathan to seek appropriate judicial remedies if she feels the criminal justice mechanisms have violated her human rights.
“That’s the essence of the rule of law; separation of powers and checks and balances. The supposed directives to banks have unfortunately again put the reputation of the National Assembly at stake.
“What Nigerians want and deserve is a balanced sharing of constitutional powers for the sake of the public good, and not an ‘Imperial National Assembly’, a National Assembly that sits on its throne in Abuja and treats Nigerians as serfs in their fiefdoms.”
Recall that Onlinenigeria.com previously reported that former First Lady, Patience Jonathan, got a reprieve when the Senate committee investigating the petitions against the freezing of her accounts, directed that they should be unfrozen.
The Senate committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions directed that those accounts not encumbered by any legal process be re-opened.
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