24 December, 2016
The term "separation of power" denotes the practice of devolution of the powers and functions of government among different branches thereof. Like the principle of "division of labour". The doctrine of separation of powers is geared towards efficiency but also more importantly, towards guarding against abuse of authority. Hence, it is a liberty-sensitive concept.
A government of separated powers assigns different political and legal duties to the legislative and judicial departments. This means that while the legislature has the power to make laws, the executive branch has the authority to administer and enforce the laws they made. The judicial division, on the other hand, tries cases brought before the courts and interprets the laws.
Thus, "separation of powers" as currently understood implies that none of the legislative, executive and judicial powers is able to control or interfere with the others (example, the judges should be independent of the executive and the legislature), or that the same individuals should not hold posts in more than one of the three branches (example, that ministers should not be members of the legislature or vice versa), or that one branch of government should not exercise the functions of another (example, that the executive should not make laws).
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A total absence of separation of powers, however, often figures prominently in extreme repressive governments. Absence of separation of powers in Nigeria mostly in Buhari's regime made it easier for leaders to abuse their authority. Political party leaders held virtually all authorities which was concentrated in a few very powerful ministries and other executive agencies. Courts and legislatures in Nigeria did not have enough power to prevent the military, police and other executive officials from repressing citizens.
There is no gainsaying the fact that an absence of separation of powers in a democratic dispensation like we find in Nigeria, is likely to be tyrannical and more likely not to follow the rule of law.
But it must be noted that in Nigeria, the three branches are not completely sealed off from each other. There is no complete and total separation of powers. The repressive regime of President Muhammadu Buhari which started in 1983 when he overthrew a democratically elected government of Alhaji Shehu Usman Shagari was obviously tyrannical and dictatorial till date.
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Buhari on assumption of office of the President of Nigeria in 2015 tampered with the freedom of the Press. His administration didn't welcome freedom of expression in the sense that those who rose up to challenge his dictatorial system of government were often demolished, hated, despised, threatened with violence, persecution, intimidation, arrest, litigation and court action.
The law of separation of powers states that no arm shall interfere in the work of the others, but must act as a watchdog to promote checks and balances. Amidst all that laws, Muhammadu Buhari overtime has violated the said laws to interfere, control and meddle in the day to day activities of the judiciary.
Recall that a Federal High Court judge, Justice Ademola who previously presided over the case of the detained IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu in 2015 ruled based on law that Kanu should be unconditionally released against Buhari who insisted that Nnamdi Kanu must be convicted unlawfully.
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The recent clampdown/arrest on judges including Justice Ademola who maintained and stood for justice, was as a result of the unconditional bail he granted to the Prisoner of Conscience, citizen Nnamdi Kanu which he merited after trial.
Buhari who acts as an executive, judiciary as well as the legislature has been appointing corrupt judges in Nigeria to preside over the cases of those he deemed as a threat to his administration, example, Nnamdi Kanu of IPOB and peaceful Biafrans clamouring for self-determination of the sovereign state of Biafra.
Justice Binta Nyako, the wife of a terrorist, an ex-governor of Adamawa state Murtala Nyako is a sister to Buhari, and she is currently appointed by Buhari to preside over the case of Nnamdi Kanu to deny him bail and also jail him hence the previous judge he hired Justice John Tsoho couldn't do his bidding as quickly as possible. In which country does the President appoint judges? Appointment of judges is the duty of the National Judicial Council, NJC. Why then is Buhari overstepping his bounds?
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It is high time the NJC in Nigeria jointly rise up against this tyranny. The rule of law must be respected and adhered to whether one is covered with immunity or not, nobody is above the law. Buhari should be made to understand this that there is a limit to his impunity.
By Anyikwa Kekechi Cynthia
Edited by Chukwuemeka Chimerue
Published By Nwosu C.S
For Biafra Writers