Law News
Lagos lawyer threatens Buhari with suit over change of title

A Lagos-based lawyer and rights activist, Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa, has faulted the decision of the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) to drop his military title of Major General after May 29 swearing in date, arguing that it is illegal and immoral. He, therefore, threatened to drag Buhari to court.

In a statement in Lagos, Adegboruwa contended that it will be unlawful for him to take such decision now, having enjoyed all benefits attached to that title as a former military officer and head of state.

According to him, “by virtue of Paragraph 1(1) of the 1st Schedule of the Armed Forces Pensions Act, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) is entitled to, and has indeed been receiving and benefiting from pension, as an officer who held a regular commission, before his retirement.

“Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) is the official and legal status, title, designation and appellation of our President-elect. He has no choice in the matter, but to continue to carry this cross for life.

“The military world over is a dignified institution, built on discipline, selflessness, courage, dignity, loyalty and patriotism.

Buhari

“It is an institution that everyone should be proud of, except those of them who were trained and equipped by this noble institution, but chose to capture civilian power, through coup d’etat.

“Buhari attends the Council of State meetings as former Head of State, which office he held in his capacity as a Major-General, which officially qualifies him to earn some benefits, have security aides, salaries, emoluments, diplomatic passports as well as free medical treatment, home and abroad.

“From all the foregoing, I therefore humbly appeal to the President-elect to continue to bear his official name and status, by which he once climbed to power. I do sincerely sympathise with him on the very sad and distasteful memories that this title attracts to him. But it is his cross to carry.

“Nigerians voted for him in spite of his past and that should be enough encouragement for him to strive to erase any negative impression that it may have occasioned.”

Buhari is in order—Falana

Another Lagos lawyer and activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), disagreed with Mr. Adegboruwa, saying “Buhari’s decision is normal. General Obasanjo did the same thing. He was referred to as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

“There is nothing wrong in that. In the real sense of it, he remains a General. However, when you become an elected President, you cannot continue to be addressed as a General in a democracy. We cannot have a General in a democracy.

“Even his (Buhari) ADC, under the constitution, shall be a police officer not below the rank of an Assistant Superintendent of Police. Section 419 of the Police Act states this.

“The parade of the military as ADC by Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan is not part of our constitution.”

His wishes must be respected —Ubani, ex-NBA boss

Also arguing in support of Mr. Falana, former Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Ikeja branch, Mr. Monday Ubani said: “What Buhari did is right.

“If you are filling a form and you are requested to put your name as you want to be addressed, you may decide not to answer Barrister Ubani, but just Ubani or M. O. Ubani.

“What the President-elect wants is uniformity in addressing him as President Muhammadu Buhari, not Alhaji, or General. So, as somebody who wants to operate under a democratic dispensation, he decided to put aside all the military toga.

 

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