Senate to debate FG’s ‘constitutional breaches’

The Senate yesterday resolved to debate allegations of constitutional and human rights violations by the federal government, following a motion sponsored by Senator David Umaru to that effect.
Though the debate should have been conducted yesterday but because of the absence of the lead sponsor of the motion, Senator Umaru, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, the debate on it was shelved.
Among the constitutional breaches listed in the motion is the enactment of the controversial “Executive Order No. 006 as an Executive legislation, which allows security agents to freeze suspicious assets without recourse to court.
Also, the continuous detention of a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), for over two years in total disregard of four court orders including that of the ECOWAS Court, which granted him bail pending his trial over money laundering charges.
The motion entitled: “Alarming rise in cases of alleged human rights violations and consistent assault on the provisions of the 1999 Constitution by the Executive”, was listed as the Senate’s first Order of the Day and Umaru was to lead the debate before it was suspended.
Although the 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 Senate to suspend the debate till another legislative day.
The motion read: “Recalls with nostalgia, Nigeria’s tortuous journey to constitutional democracy which reached its climax with the promulgation of the 1999 Constitution and its adoption as the ground norm. The reins of power were subsequently handed over by the military junta to democratically elected leaders on May 29, 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”.
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 MN who were protesting the release of their leader, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaki, in Abuja and Kaduna respectively.

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