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2023: It is illegal, unconstitutional for ministers to withdraw resignation letters — Falana

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Femi Falana

HUMAN rights advocate and senior lawyer, Femi Falana, has faulted the withdrawal of resignation letters by ministers who had earlier resigned from President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet.

Falana, in a statement on Friday, said the withdrawal offended Section 306 (2) of the 1999 Constitution.

President Buhari had on Wednesday directed his cabinet members seeking elective positions to tender their resignation on or before May 16, 2022.

The president later on Friday met with the affected ministers who had resigned for a valedictory meeting.

A few hours after the meeting, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said that he had withdrawn his presidential aspiration and would remain in office as minister.

There were also reports that the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, also withdrew their political aspirations.

But Falana argued that only a re-appointment by the president could bring the nine ministers who had resigned their appointments back to the Federal Executive Council, if cleared by the Nigerian Senate again.

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“Having resigned from the Buhari administration, Mr Abubakar Malami and Dr Chris Ngige were reported to have withdrawn their letters of resignation after the farewell meeting.

“Such withdrawal is illegal as it constitutes a gross contravention of section 306 (2) of the constitution which stipulates that ‘the resignation of any person from any office established by this constitution shall take effect when the writing signifying the resignation is received by the authority or person to whom it is addressed or by any person authorised by that authority or person to receive it.’ ”

He said that the resignation of the former ministers had taken effect, adding that they cannot return to the cabinet either on their own volition or on the directive of the president.

“Therefore, if the former ministers are going to be reappointed, the president is required by section 147 of the Constitution to submit names to the Senate for fresh screening and confirmation,” he said.

 

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