A constitutional lawyer and author, Chief Sebastine Hon, has cautioned the President Muhammadu Buhari not to proclaim a state of emergency in Benue State.
According to him, a proclamation of state of emergency will clearly show bad faith, injustice and unfairness.
Hon said: “The power to proclaim a state of emergency by the Presidency is provided for by section 305 of the 1999 Constitution; and there is nothing in that provision, clear or latent, which imbues the President or any authority for that matter with any scintilla of power to remove or overthrow elected or appointed State officials.
“There being no such enabling provision, therefore, such arbitrary power cannot be implied; and if exercised, will be clearly illegal and unlawful.
“Under our constitutional jurisprudence, both the appointer and the appointee to the office or position of Sole Administrator of a State will be acting in flagrant breach of section 1(2) and other relevant provisions of the Constitution.”
Hon advised Buhari not to succumb to the clamour from certain quarters that he should proclaim a state of emergency in Benue.
His words: “Any such proclamation will definitely, in my opinion, not be sanctioned by the courts, thereby plummeting the President’s rating in the eyes of reasonable members of the local and international communities, moreover, if voided by the courts.
“In Owoyemi vs. Adekoya (2003) 18 NWLR (Pt. 852) 494, the Supreme Court held, inter alia, that any public officer vested with ministerial powers must act based on reasons, arising from true facts; and that he must act fairly, justly and in good faith and in the interest of peace, order and good government.
A proclamation of a state of emergency in Benue State now will be directly parallel to all these outlined requirements in the exercise of public powers and will clearly show bad faith, injustice and unfairness,” he maintained.