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Tinubu Has Exposed Nigeria To Ridicule By Visiting Foreign Country – Falana

Renowned Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), strongly criticized President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for subjecting Nigeria to ridicule.

Falana expressed his disapproval during an exclusive interview with Rudolf Okonkwo on 90MinutesAfrica on Sunday.

The lawyer condemned Tinubu’s trip to France, where his official recognition was absent, labeling it as a purported private visit.

“I hope this will be the last time that a president of Nigeria will expose the country to embarrassment and ridicule by going to a country where his presence is not recognized.”

Mr. Falana said about the Nigerian president’s recent two weeks private visit to France. He explained that as the country with the largest concentration of black people in the world, Nigeria ought to carry herself with some dignity.

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Last Wednesday, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, revealed that President Tinubu will travel to France on a private visit and “he will return to the country in the first week of February 2024.”

However, while commenting on the statement, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria said that the Nigerian constitution does not make provision for a private visit by the president.

“There is no provision in the constitution for a private visit by the Nigerian president. Therefore, he cannot go on a private visit and still be running the country,” the lawyer insisted. “So to the extent that the activities of the state are still being conducted by him, the question of a private visit does not arise.”

Tracing the diplomatic descent of Nigeria, the esteemed legal expert recounted how Fela Anikulakpo Kuti, the late Afrobeat musical icon, was once honored with invitations to the French Presidential Palace by President Francois Mitterand during private visits. The stark contrast emerges when reflecting on the subsequent years, where a Nigerian president’s “private visit” to France went unnoticed without official acknowledgment.

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The prominent lawyer went on to criticize the Governor of Lagos State for his journey to Grenada to attend a birthday celebration. Falana asserted that Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s visit to the prime minister of a nation with a population of 130,000 appeared as a mere afterthought, strategically devised to mitigate the embarrassing repercussions of the trip.

“The governor of a state in a federation does not conduct foreign affairs,” Falana said. He knows he cannot tell Lagosians that he went on a private visit to attend a birthday party. That is why he had to quickly call on the PM to make it look official.”

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During the interview, Barrister Falana also spoke on the state of Nigeria’s judiciary. He said that despite the mess in the judicial system, some judges still have chosen to “remain loyal to their oath of office.” However, he pointed out that the percentage of those judges is a tiny minority.

“It is almost an infinitesimal minority of judges. The system itself attracts corruption in all facets of our lives. If you pay poor wages, if you deliberately starve the judiciary of funds, if you deliberately refuse to allow judicial autonomy, then you are encouraging judicial corruption.”

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