- To debate FG’ constitution, human rights breaches
Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate has resolved to debate allegations of constitutional and human rights violations by the Executive arm of the Federal Government.
The debate should have been conducted yesterday but for the unexplained absence of the lead promoter, David Umaru (APC Niger East).
The enactment of the controversial “Executive Order No. 006 as an Executive legislation which permits security agencies to freeze assets of persons standing trial without recourse to the court, continuous detention of former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd.) for over two years in total disregard of over four court orders including that of the ECOWAS Court which granted him bail pending his trial over money laundering charges among others, were issues slated for debate.
The issues for debate were listed in a motion entitled: “Alarming rise in cases of alleged human rights violations and consistent assault on the provisions of the 1999 Constitution by the Executive.”
Although Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’ Allah, read the Order to signal commencement of the debate, the absence of the motion’s sponsor forced the chamber to call off the debate “to another legislative day” when Umaru comes to the chamber.
Among others, the lawmakers want the Federal Government to urgently empanel a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate all cases of human rights abuse allegedly committed by the Police, the Army and other security agencies in the course of discharging their duties with a view to identifying the culprits and victims and offering redress where necessary;
They also plan to summon the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami, to explain the constitutional basis for the controversial Executive Order No. 006 and the other Executive Orders which have been issued by the President in clear usurpation of the law making functions of the National Assembly.
The motion read in part: “Recalls with nostalgia Nigeria’s tortuous journey to constitutional democracy which reached its climax on the promulgation of the 1999 Constitution and its adoption as the grund norm. The reins of power was subsequently handed over by the military junta to a democratically elected leaders on May 29th, 1999;
“Further recalls the immense sacrifices made by Nigerians of diverse backgrounds in our quest for democracy with some of the heroes and heroines of the struggle paying the ultimate price in exchange for the democracy we all enjoy today;
“Concerned that in the last few years, Nigeria’s democratic credentials have become questionable as a result of the alarming cases of alleged state-inspired human rights violations and consistent constitutional infractions perpetrated by agencies of government;
“Alarmed that in the recent past, allegations abound that the executive has not only consistently violated the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens, particularly the rights to dignity of human person and right to personal liberty as guaranteed respectively under section 34 and 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, but also infringed on the constitution in several ways. Notable instances of such human rights violations are well documented by the Human Rights Watch and other reputable human rights organizations and they include the following:
“Continuous detention of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) for over two years in total disregard of over four court orders including that of the ECOWAS Court which granted him bail pending his trial over money laundering charges;
“Continuous incarceration of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiite, Sheik lbrahim El-Zakzaki for over two years contrary to an order of the Federal High Court which ordered his release in 2016;
“Lack of accountability for human rights violations by security agencies and other militant elements including armed herdsmen; heavy-handed violent responses to peaceful protests as exemplified by previous crackdown on agitators for the independent state of Biafra (IP0B) and the recent violent clashes between the police and suspected members of the IMN who were protesting the release of their leader, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaki in Abuja and Kaduna respectively.