The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media Publicity, Garba Shehu spoke about the purported travel ban list making the rounds on the media saying it is false and no high-profile Nigerians were affected.
Shehu spoke about this issue on Sunday, during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
He said, “We’ve seen a number of names being circulated. We have not issued any list. We are not going to issue any list because, again, if we did so, a lot of criticism will follow. Trials by media and all sorts of things”.
Even though he refused to mention the names of those affected by the travel ban, he intimated they were no surprises on the list.
“These cases are mostly known by most Nigerians. There are cases that have been in the public domain. Most of them were never really instituted by this administration. They go back seven to 10 years,” he said.
In a statement announcing the ban on Saturday, the Presidency said, “Following the instant judicial affirmation of the constitutionality and legality of the Executive Order 6 (EO6), President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice to implement the Order in full force.
“To this end, a number of enforcement procedures are currently in place by which the Nigeria Immigration Service and other security agencies have placed no fewer than 50 high profile persons directly affected by EO6 on watch-list and restricted them from leaving the country pending the determination of their cases.
“Also, the financial transactions of these persons of interest are being monitored by the relevant agencies to ensure that the assets are not dissipated and such persons do not interfere with, nor howsoever corrupt the investigation and litigation processes”.
The move has attracted a lot of criticism from various legal organizations and individuals amongst who are Femi Falana and the Social-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
Mr Shehu, however, insists that the move was in the interest of concluding cases that have dragged on for too long “and held our judiciary captive”.
“The worry then is they (the cases) are not making progress and the administration wants to move very quickly with these cases so that they go to the conclusion,” he said.
“This is a matter in the domain of the (Nigerian) Immigration Service and other security agencies who have the duty of enforcement.”
He concluded, “This administration will not be subjected to another round of trial by the press; that we are persecuting individuals, or this is political, which, absolutely, it is not or that we are just convicting people via the press”.
“Nigerians are tired of hearing about these endless trials that have led to nowhere and that have held our judiciary captive. Everyone wants to see the ending. That is the point”.