Nigeria’s Constitution Is An Illegitimate Instrument, Says Oyebode

 

Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, Mr Akin Oyebode, has described the Nigerian Constitution as an illegitimate instrument.

The professor said this on Monday, during a special programme on Channels Television to mark the country’s 58th Independence day anniversary.

He stated that the Constitution is outdated and needs to reflect the spirit of the current age.

Read Also: Nigerians Have Been Poorly Served By Past Leaders – Oyebode

“The problem I think the Patriots pointed out some time ago is that that constitution, decree 24 of 1999 is a military dictat. It tells a lie against itself.

“What you are brandishing as the Constitution of Nigeria is an illegitimate instrument. The Patriots have said it and Ben Nwabueze continues to say it. I attend meetings on the black table where Ben Nwabueze presides, and he will tell you that the constitution is a fraud, that we have to jettison it and do an autochthonous constitution for ourselves.

“So, let us recognise the limitations of the 1999 so-called constitution. We need a constitution which reflects the spirit of the age,” he said.

Oyebode further stated that a lot of the problems that have persisted in the country were a result of the attitude of the people.

He said, “A people get the government that they deserve.

“If Nigerians are complacent and they will not stand up to immoral conduct, then we justify that particular conduct and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and quite sincerely the judges too, they have part of the blame but they don’t have all the blame”.

Constitution Responsible For Nigeria’s Failure – Bisi Akande

The former acting Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the former Governor of Osun State, Mr Bisi Akande, has attributed the current economic predicament and other national inadequacies to a deficiency in the Nigerian constitution.

Akande who faulted the constitution said Nigeria would have grown to the zenith if not hampered by constitutional details.

He disclosed this at the event of the 2017 distinguished Role Model Award of The Wings Schools, Iwo in honour of Late Ben Adisa Akinola, an educationist turned administrator.

According to him, the nation’s constitution had created unwarranted challenges not only to Nigeria but to its federating components.

The APC chieftain said there are many aspects in the constitution that were never workable to the Nigerian socio-economic and political structures.

“The constitution that can move Nigeria forward is the constitution that recognizes the culture of the people in relation to their occupation,” Akande said.

The former Governor of Osun State added that the background of the economic life of any community should be the type of his own culture.

He said no nation practicing federalism develops in a circumstance where all or a larger percentage of existing power is being concentrated into a single hand as a case of a unitary system of government.

“For instance in Osun State today, one can’t drive five kilometres of roads anywhere without pothole. In other words, all roads in Osun State today are bad roads, not only that, Osun is not connected to any other state.

“The same applies to other states of the federation, as many of them have been rendered subservient to the power that is at the federal level,” Akande lamented.

He also noted that until the constitution is passionately and circumstantially reviewed in consonance with the nation’s need, the nation would remain stagnant.

Akande added that it is high time for those at the helm of affairs to do the needful concerning the Nigerian constitution, saying power must be properly distributed and devolved from the centre to the federating units as being practised in other countries of the world.

“Those who wrote the constitution did not realize that political denomination and subjugation breed revolt, community disharmony and national insecurity.

“The bad constitution of 1999 has now begun to stimulate demand for ethnic self-determination and economic security otherwise being called “resource control” or “restructuring”. Whatever name you call it, community disharmony is a burden on national security and it is dangerous for economic development and peace.

“What we are saying, for instance, is that the constitution which (according to 1999 census) gave Lagos State (with 5,725,153 population) 20 local governments, also gave Kano State (with 5,810,494 population) 44 local government.

“The same constitution, which gave Anambra (with 2, 796,510 population) 21 local governments, also gave Jigawa (with 2, 875,559 population) 27 local governments.

“Such constitutional provisions seem capable of dying the federating components of Nigeria most importantly on their equal opportunity for accessing the national revenue allocations.

“Such agitations may not be healthy for community harmony, national security to influence the change for the better,” he stated.

Akande, therefore, charged the people of Iwo and all Nigerians at large on the need to emulate the good deeds of the late Ben Adisa Akinola.

The guest speakers, Prof. Olasupo Akano and Prof. Lai Olurode, former Dean, Faculty of School Sciences, University of Lagos, described late Akiola as a patriotic son of Iwo who during his lifetime strived towards the development of the town.

Echoing a similar view, the Secretary to the State government of Osun, Mr Moshood Adeoti said the legacy the late Akinola left behind in the education sector would never be forgotten.

Edo LGAs To Comb Primary Schools For Ghost Workers

Edo LGAs To Comb Primary Schools For Ghost WorkersThe Chairman of The Forum of Heads of Services in the 18 local government areas of Edo State, Tom Ebhotemen, says local government authorities will commence investigation into the staffing of the primary schools in their LGAs to determine if the teachers being paid salaries are actually there.

Tom Ebhotemen said this resolution was arrived at, after the joint allocation meeting where it was discovered that the 18 councils will be left with 599 Million Naira to pay salaries out of the 1.8 Billion Naira Allocation from the Federation Account.

The statutory 5% of the allocation for traditional rulers, one percent training fund and teachers’ salary gulped 1.2 billion Naira.

“Because of the very large chunk of monies that goes for teachers’ salaries we have resolved that we will carry out snap checks on primary schools to ensure that the teachers we pay salaries to are really on ground.

“If you look at the total amount paid to teachers by all the local governments and other mandatory expenditure you have a total of N1.2 Billion out of a total of 1.8 billion Naira.

“You will now appreciate the difficulty that local governments are getting. Certainly with what we have left, most of the councils will find it difficult even to pay salaries and our normal obligations to our workers.

“But you realize also that these mandatory expenditures are not imposed on us by the government, they are our statutory responsibilities.

“We have also resolved that marriage registry should be strengthened in the various local governments.

“This is as a result of the Federal Government establishing marriage registry in some states of the Federation whereas the issue of marriage registry, registration of births and deaths is the statutory responsibility of the various local government as provided by Schedule (5) of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution as amended.

“We have also resolved that councils should look more inward, since allocation has continued to dwindle and the Governor has advised us that we should be very hardworking so that our areas of revenue we can utilize all.”

Senate Proposes New Budget Calendar

Senate, Budget CalendarNigeria’s Senate has proposed the adoption of a budget calendar that will begin with the submission of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) by the second week in July and end with the President signing the Appropriation Bill into law by the third week of December annually.

The new measure was contained in a report submitted to the Senate President Bukola Saraki, on Monday by the Senator Ali Ndume-led Technical Committee on Reforming the Budget Process in Nigeria.

The strategies, which also include the provision of laws on development plans by the Federal Government, are aimed at easy and timely preparation of the budget and its efficient implementation.

The measures propose a budget calendar to ensure that the President assents to the appropriations law by the third week of December while the MTEF is submitted in the second week of July as the first step in the budget process.

The Senate would also discuss at plenary, other reports such as amendments of the relevant sections of the Nigerian Constitution and extant laws as well as enactment of new laws to improve the country’s budgetary process and align it to international best practices.

Other key recommendations in the report submitted on Thursday, November 3 are the proposed provision of a legal backing for national development plans and enactment of organic budget law to fix a realistic budget calendar.

Kaduna Govt. Orders Arrest of Shiites’ Spokesman

Shiites, Islamic Movement Nigeria, Ibrahim-MusaThe Kaduna State Government has ordered the arrest and subsequent prosecution of one Ibrahim Musa who has owned up to being the spokesperson of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

An order declaring the IMN as an unlawful society in Kaduna State went into effect on Friday, October 7, 2016. Violation of this order attracts penalty of imprisonment for seven years or a fine or both, according to sections 97a and 97b of the Penal Code.

A statement released on Sunday by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Kaduna state, Samuel Aruwan, says that Musa, a few hours after the commencement of the Order, admitted to being a member of the outlawed group, and subsequently identified himself as its spokesman in widely publicized statements.

According to the statement, Musa’s utterances are deemed as a deliberate and determined affront to the government order, hence the law has to take its course.

The government’s statement also directs the state Commissioner of Police to ensure the arrest of Ibrahim Musa to enable his prompt prosecution by the Kaduna State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice.

All security agencies in the state have been directed to vigorously enforce the law, and demonstrate clear resolve by arresting the said Ibrahim Musa, who is further advised to report himself to the nearest police station or any of the security agencies.

Kaduna State Bans Islamic Movement In Nigeria Group

Shiites-protestThe Kaduna State Government has issued an Order declaring the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) as an unlawful association.

A statement issued on Friday by the spokesman for the state governor, Samuel Aruwan, says the government secured an order from the State Executive Council to ban the Islamic Movement from either existing or operating in the state with immediate effect.

In proscribing the group, the government invoked Section 45 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution which empowers the state Governor to take such measures and actions for the promotion and protection of public safety, public order, public morality or public health, or the rights and freedom of all persons in the State.

The statement further explained that the action was to ensure that all persons and organisations were guided by lawful conduct and with due allegiance to the Nigerian state and its Constitution.

With the ban, the statement warns that any citizen of the state, who under any appellation or mutation with the propensity of causing the breakdown of law and order, or operates in a manner dangerous to the good governance of the State, shall be prosecuted in accordance with the Laws of Kaduna State.

The statement reaffirms the commitment of the state government to upholding the right of citizens to practice the religion of their choice as enshrined in Sections 38 and 40 of the Constitution.

Danger To Peace

The statement noted that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Zaria Clashes of 12 December, 2015 indicted the movement as an illegal organisation, operating an illegal paramilitary outfit and having total disregard to the laws of the country and constituted authorities that have the responsibility to secure and administer the country.

The Declaration Order noted that since the clash between members of the movement and soldiers in Zaria in which at 347 persons were alleged to have been killed, the IMN “has overtly continued with unlawful processions, obstruction of public highways, unauthorised occupation of public facilities including schools without regard to the rights of other citizens and the public peace and order of the State”.

The Order noted that “these acts, if allowed to go unchecked would constitute danger to the peace, tranquillity, harmonious coexistence and good governance of Kaduna State”.

In a reaction to the ban, the group said it ‘totally rejects’ the state government’s decision.

A spokesman for the groups, also referred to as Shiites, Ibrahim Musa, said that the group would “give an appropriate response at the appropriate time in appropriate ways” to what he called an affront on their rights”.

After the December 12 clash between the group members also referred to as Shiites and the Army, the leader of the group, Mr Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, was taken into custody.

Since his arrest, he filed a case against the Department of State Service (DSS) that had held him since December 2015.

On Wednesday, a Federal High Court in Abuja hearing Mr El-Zakzaky’s Fundamental Human Rights suit advised parties in a suit to explore the option of resolving the issue through alternative dispute resolution.

Ibraheem Zakzaky, court, Shiites
Ibraheem Zakzaky was arrested in December 2015 after his group clashed with officials of the Army

Mr El-Zakzaky is challenging his arrest and continued detention by the DSS.

At the resumed hearing of the suit, lawyer to El-Zakzaky, Mr Femi Falana, told the court that his client was being held against his wish without trial since December 14, 2015.

He further claimed that El-Zakzaky was not at the scene of the clash between members of the Islamic Movement and the Nigerian Army on the December 12, 2015.

Lawyer to the DSS, Mr Tijani Ghazali, however, told the court that Mr El-Zakzaky was being held under protective custody due to intelligence report which revealed that his life was under threat.

Since his arrest, members of the Islamic group have continued to call for the release of their leader, holding several protests since he was taken into custody.

The Shiites had held protests in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, Kaduna and kano among other states.

On september 10 in Kaduna, members of the group, comprising of women, youths and children, gathered at the popular Leventis roundabout in the state capital, demanding for the unconditional release of their leader and other members.

Chanting songs and blocking major roads, the Shiites feared that the health condition of Zakzaky is deteriorating due to gunshot wounds he sustained.

They vow never to rest until their leader and others are freed.

Shiites Criticise Sharia Council’s Call For Group Ban

Shiites, ShariaThe Islamic Movement in Nigeria has faulted the call for its ban by the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN).

The spokesman for the Shiites, Mr Ibrahim Musa, made the observation on Monday during in telephone interview with Channels Television.

He claimed that the Sharia group had never respected the beliefs of the movement led by Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, saying they are not surprised at such call.

Hate Campaigns

“The group called Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria is a group of some people that are known for their hate campaigns against anybody who is not following their own religious belief, especially Christians and we who are followers of Shiite Islamic faith.

“Islamic Movement in Nigeria is just a collection of Muslims who believe that Muslims should be guided by Allah’s teaching and his prophet’s teachings.

“So how can you ban such group?” Musa questioned.

The Kaduna State chapter of the Sharia group had earlier called on the Federal Government to ban all activities of the Shiites and prosecute their leader, El-Zakzaky.

They noted that the acts of impunity exhibited by the Shiite group over the years in Zaria, Kaduna State and other states in Nigeria’s northern region, were against the teachings of Islam and the Nigerian Constitution.

The Islamic group re-emphasised the urgent need to proscribe the Shiites for the interest of peace and security of Nigeria.

Muslim Leaders Ask FG To Ban Shiites

Muslim-SCSN-ShiitesThe Kaduna State chapter of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN) has called on the Federal Government, to ban all activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and prosecute their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky.

Rising from their meeting in Kaduna, the group comprising of Islamic preachers and scholars, supported the indictment of the Shiites by the Judicial Commission of enquiry set up by the Kaduna State government to investigate the December 2015 clash between the Shiites and soldiers in Zaria.

The Muslim leaders maintained that the acts of impunity exhibited by the group over the years in Zaria and other states in Nigeria’s northern region, were against the teachings of Islam and the Nigerian Constitution.

They re-emphasised the urgent need to proscribe the Shiites for the interest of peace and security of Nigeria.

The spokesman for the SCSN, Sheikh Muhammad Suleiman, told reporters that failure of the government to deal decisively with the alleged excesses of the Shiites would pose a great security risk for the country.

The Islamic group also called on the Federal Government to stop the herdsmen crisis by checkmating the influx of herdsmen that come into Nigerian from other neighbouring African countries.

They stated that the armed herdsmen that have been attacking and killing innocent citizens in some parts of the country are not Nigerians.

Saraki Seeks New Constitution For Nigeria By Early 2017

Saraki, DemocracyOne of the legacies the Senate President wants the 8th National Assembly to leave behind is the delivery of a new and acceptable constitution to Nigeria.

Dr. Bukola Saraki made this known in Lagos on Friday at the commencement of a retreat by the lawmakers to address controversial areas in the 1999 Constitution.

The Senate President is optimistic that this can be achieved as early as the first quarter of next year, and the lawmakers expect their findings will help provide answers to questions regarding true federalism in Nigeria.

Addressing the gathering, the Deputy Senate President, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, stressed the need to always conclude constitution amendment processes far ahead of election seasons.

He said: “It reduces the contamination of an otherwise patriotic exercise by personal, political or other considerations.

“In keeping with the matching order of the Senate President at the inauguration of this committee, we hope to conclude the process of the constitution amendment exercise by December 2016,” Senator Ekweremadu said.

Earlier in his opening speech, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, told the lawmakers to consider the experience of the past and reasons for the delay of the forth alteration.

“I will like you to kindly, for us and for all Nigerians, deliver a new constitution to this country by the time we open a chapter to the beginning of 2017.

“I think that if we so do, we will be leaving a legacy for ourselves,”he stressed.

Several issues are confronting the nation and some lawmakers gave their opinion on the sideline of the event on the issue of restructuring the nation.

While some said Nigeria had too many states than it could afford, others said the nation must have a leadership that should deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.

Cost of running Nigerian states was another issue that was raised by some of the lawmakers.

The Nigerian constitution bears huge burden and a lot of loopholes that many Nigerians believe if not address would hurt the nation badly.

In 2014, the administration of Goodluck Jonathan brought people from different parts of Nigeria together in Abuja for a national conference to deliberate and find a lasting solution to the nation’s challenges and implementations that could address agitations.

Former President Jonathan had promised to forward the deliberations of the national national conference to the National Assembly but could not do that before he lost in the presidential election of 2015.

Bill On Age Reduction For Elective Offices Passes Second Reading

House-of-Representatives-NigeriaA bill seeking to reduce the qualification age for some key executive and legislative positions, as stipulated in the Nigerian Constitution, has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which seeks to alter sections 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the 1999 Constitution, was sponsored by Honourable Tony Nwulu.

“Young people have been at the forefront of promoting democratic development and nation building.

“Nigeria’s pre-independence struggle was championed by young nationalists… These nationalists were reported to be in their youthful age when they led the independence struggle for this country,” he stressed.

Mr Nwulu further cited South Africa’s law that gave every eligible voter the right to be voted for.

The alteration proposes a qualification age of 30 years for the office of the President, state governors and senators while 25 years has been set for federal and state legislators.

The bill also seeks to introduce independent candidacy as part of Nigeria’s electoral process.

Presently, section 65 of the constitution puts the age limit for anyone vying for a Senate seat at 35 while that of House of Representative was put at 30.

Section 106 of the constitution also puts the age limit for anyone seeking a seat in the State House of Assembly at 30 while section 177 puts the age limit for the governorship position at 35.

The Constitution also puts the age limit for anyone seeking the position of the President of Nigeria at 40 years.

Child Rights: Saraki Asks School Children To Familiarise With The Constitution

Bukola-Saraki-Senate-President-Nigeria-Children-DayThe Nigerian Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has advised school children to familiarise themselves with the Nigerian Constitution in other to fight for their rights.

Dr. Saraki gave the advice on Friday when some school children visited him as parts of activities to mark this year’s Children’s Day.

He promised that the government would continue to work to protect the rights of children.

The assurance by the Senate President is coming on a day some groups marking this year’s Children’s Day in Abuja appealed to the government to intensify campaigns that discourage violence against children and punish perpetrators.

The 27 day of May is set aside by the United Nations to celebrate Children’s Day.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Protect the Rights of the Children in the Face of Violence and Insecurity and End Child Marriage”.

Away from the Senate President’s office, rights groups, march round Abuja, Nigeria’s capital to protest against violence against children.


They are asking the government to enforce existing laws and punish those who perpetrate violence against children.

Regarding the estimated 1.2 million displaced children in the northeast, the Director of Test Administration with the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Lawal Yusuf, said the rights of those children to education could be protected by providing education in the camps of the Internally Displaced Persons.

The theme for this year’s Children’s Day celebration sheds light on the level of violence children suffer around the globe.

It also calls on all to end such violence whatever forms they may take.

Pro And Anti Saraki Groups Protest At National Assembly

SarakiSupporters and opponents of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki on Tuesday, stormed the National Assembly as lawmakers resumed legislative proceedings for the week.

One group was protesting against the trial of the Senate President Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

They alleged that President Buhari is witch-hunting the Senate President because he emerged Senate President against the wishes of the party.

However, another group of protesters demanded that the Senate President steps down over allegations of false declaration of assets.

Both groups, armed with placards bearing varying messages marched to the National Assembly demanding that their voices be heard.

The protesters were, however, not allowed to proceed beyond the main gate of the National Assembly.

the protesters have vowed that they will lay siege to the National Assembly for the next three days.

Reacting to the protests, Senate Leader, Ali Ndume described the anti-Saraki protest as a dangerous precedent.