Legality of the Banning Certain Classes of Nigerians From Traveling Pursuant To Executive Order 06

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Dr. Kayode Ajulo


The Government of President Mohammed Buhari is perpetrating a state of confusion and anomie by the recent statement purportedly to placing a travel ban on some unknown and imaginary persons in Nigeria.

It is important that the meaning and scope of the Executive Order 06 which allegedly gives fillip to the current Order against Traveling by some classes of Nigerians as enunciated by the Federal High Court, Abuja in its judgment of Friday 12th October, 2018 be set forth clearly.

The Court held by the said judgement that although the Executive Order 06 seems somewhat to give the AGF the power to summarily seize or confisticate property but before the discretion can be exercised, the AGF must always first seek permission or approval of Court before any property can be seized or confisticated.

The ratio in the judgment is that the order to seize must at all times seek the permission or approval of court even by an ex-parte application and such application shall be subjected to the test of validity depending on the merit of individual case.

This rests the confusion that the executive order to seize property can be viewed or regarded as something giving direct power to the executive to confiscate property in the absence of court approval or sanction that ought to be sought and obtained at all times.

This invariably establishes the right of every affected litigant to subject every action against his interest purportedly done in pursuance to the Order to Judicial Review which invariably would be determined based on the merit of each case.

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It is my opinion therefore that the present attempt by the Executive to circumscribe the rights to free movement by certain citizens of Nigeria must of necessity go the way of the Executive Order 06. It is unconstitutional for a democratic government to seek to restrain a citizen from his right to free movement without an order of a court of competent jurisdiction. This is in contradistinction to the right of the appropriate security agencies to effect an arrest of a citizen pursuant to a properly issued warrant of his arrest with all the attendant duty to establish that the citizen has either committed an offence either singly or in conjunction with other persons.
It is all the more frightening that there are no names mentioned and a blanket statement was made to cover all citizens having N50M or above!

One cannot but wonder if this latest draconian Order is not targeted at perceived political enemies and members of the Opposition.

This Executive Order 06 is reminiscent of the infamous and draconian Decree No 4 of 1984 which was cruelly pursued and enforced by the incumbent President who was the military head of state at the time. Without a doubt the obnoxious decree was one of the sore points of that administration in which the basic human rights of Nigerians were thrown to the dogs. I earnestly believe and hope that the Court will rise up yet again to take up its position as the bastion of democracy.

– Dr Kayode Ajulo

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