Posted by News Express | 9 October 2017 | 2,175 times
“Nigeria’s political problems sprang from the carefree manner the British took over, administered, and abandoned the people of Nigeria.” — Ademola Ademoyega in Why We Struck
It is so unfortunate that some elements in the country are joining the Federal Government to make a hill out of a mole, unnecessarily. It is extremely hilarious that some persons even termed Nnamdi Kanu as a major problem confronting the country right now, which is far from what is attainable. In fact, it needs be stated that Kanu and his Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are the least of the troubles confronting us as a nation. Though there is no gainsaying the fact that Kanu has been making some divisive, irresponsible and inciting statements, which all borders on treason on which he is being tried. But it need be stated that his is not the first agitation to be witnessed as far as the country is concerned, which sends a signal to us that we still have a long way to go as a people.
It must be noted that there is no justification whatsoever for deploying troops to the South-east. This cannot be unconnected from the fact that this same person leading the non-violent agitation for self-determination, which is backed by all existing laws, is already under trial for treasonable felony. And, if he is being perceived to have taken action that is beyond the trial he is facing, there is no justification whatsoever for the Federal Government to have deployed troops to the South-eastern part of the country, killing innocent citizens, but rather to be arraigned again before a competent court of law. Besides, the Federal Government that inconsistently deployed military troops to the South-eastern part of the country to subjugate what the Chief of Army Staff tagged “insurrection by extension”, has already activated the Federal High Court to revoke the bail of Nnamdi Kanu.
However, since the Attorney-General of the Federation has already initiated processes to revoke the bail of Kanu, it is highly condemnable that the Federal Government could out of impatience embark on military expedition in the South-eastern part of the country, rather than wait till October when he would be made to appear before the court. And it need be stated without fear of contradiction, that the singular act of the Federal Government to deploy troops to the South-east in confining Kanu is synonymous to the Federal Government taking laws into its hand, which is undemocratic and dictatorial. In fact, it is against the Constitution of the land, Section 217 (2) (b, c) and Section 271 for the President to just wake up and deploy soldiers to curb civil disobedience, without the approval of the National Assembly, which could easily be handled by the Nigerian Police Force. The President, waking up and single-handedly deploying troops to the South-eastern part of the country, is an affront on democratic ideals and an insult on the National Assembly. But it is so embarrassing that the National Assembly out of sheer irresponsibility have chosen not to curb the dictatorial tendencies being displayed by the Nigerian President.
Though, the basis of the agitation of Kanu and IPOB is not well-detailed. And, in fact, it is unknown, unlike previous agitations for resource control embarked upon by late Adaka Boro, Ken Saro-Wiwa, et al, but that is not enough justification for the Federal Government to act inconsistently with the Nigerian Constitution. Nonetheless, several ethnic and separatist agitations that have been witnessed in the country is a pointer to the fact that our existence as a country is negotiable. No doubt, varying agitations is as a result of deficiency in governance and it shows that we still have a long way to race in establishing an economically, politically and socially just country. But it is so unfortunate that successive governments in the country have failed to allay the fears of the larger percentage of the people, which is as a result of our division along ethnic and tribal lines.
No doubt, the inconsistency of the Federal Government in dealing with Kanu and his IPOB lies in the failure of the government to combat Fulani vampires for their murderous acts in the Middle Belt part of the country. Though Kanu has been making divisive, condemnable and inciting statements, it need be stated that he and his IPOB people have never killed, not even a single soul since they began their agitation; unlike the Fulani vampires that kill, maim and turn many villagers homeless in the Middle Belt (and parts of the South), all in the name of nomadic pasture and animal husbandry. And it need be known that despite the illegalities being perpetuated by Fulani vampires the government, out of sheer irresponsibility and impotency, has not been able to arrest and prosecute any of the vampires. Also, the Arewa youths out of absurdity issued an ultimatum to Igbo to vacate the North and were granted official permission to issue, reiterate, and withdraw their statement with no arrest, persecution nor reprimand.
In fact, the irresponsible behaviour of the Federal Government to obey court orders is as comfortable as the actions of Kanu and his IPOB people.
More so, the recent proscription of IPOB and its activities by the governors of the South-east and the recent declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation by the military is not just laughable but unconstitutional. It need be stated that no other authority has the power to perform or exercise certain statutory powers that has been specifically designated to certain authority by the law in a country. And, in fact, deviation from the prescription of the law is null and void, and cannot in anyway be justified outside the law.
For the avoidance of doubt, Section 2(1) (c) of the Terrorism Act states clearly, that “a Judge of the Federal High Court-in-Chambers may on an application made by the Attorney-General of the Federation, National Security Adviser or Inspector-General of Police, on the approval of the President, declare any entity to be a proscribed organisation.”
No doubt, with the provision of this section, the Defence Headquarters has no statutory power to single-handedly prescribe an organisation as terrorist. It need be known that we are not in Khakitocracy where we would be ruled by edictsand decrees. The onus now lies on the Nigerian parliament to wake from slumber and save the face of Nigerian democracy, before we totally deviate to militarianism.
•Kazeem Olalekan Israel (GANI) can be reached via email@example.com
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