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Democracy under threat: Southern, Middle Belt leaders

By Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja on 26/04/2018

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 •A cross section of Southern leaders
•A cross section of Southern leaders

Some Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt leaders yesterday expressed worries over recent happenings in the country and warned that the country’s democracy is under threat.

The leaders condemned the payment without the National Assembly’s approval of $496 million to the United States government for the purchase of Tucano aircraft by President Muhammadu Buhari which they described as a violation of the constitution.

The leaders argued that the Nigerian Constitution is clear on how the executive can spend funds. They also alleged that it was wrong for the executive to have approved the fund before approaching the National Assembly.

They called on the United States Government to return the money paid for the fighter jets to the country.

Besides, the leaders who met in Abuja yesterday described the invasion of the senate chamber by some hoodlums as a national disgrace.

The group also backed the call by a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, asking Nigerians to defend themselves against herdsmen invasion.

The leaders of the various group at the meeting are: Chief Edwin K Clark, PANDEF Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere Leader, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, President General, Ohanaeze and  Dr Bala TakayaPresident, Middle Belt Forum.

Also in attendance were Chief Olu Falae, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman, Senator Chris Anyanwu and Senator Jonah Jang.

Also at the meeting were: Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Col. Tony Nyiam, Femi Okunrunmu, Kayode Ajulo, Supo Shonibare, Yinka Odumakin among others.

The also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to drop the idea of creating new polling units ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Nwodo read the text of at the end of the meeting which lasted over four hours.

The comuniques said: “Section 80 (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution is very clear on how the President could spend Nigerian’s fund. The provision states; “No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly”.

“As it is, the President has violated the provision of the highest law in the land.

“Nigeria is a Republic founded on rule of law, where each arm of government is bound to be guided by the dictates of the constitution, this flagrant violation and unapproved spending must be abated as well as sanctioned.

“We therefore call on the National Assembly to do the needful as well as call on the United States Government to return the money paid to its treasury as the money paid is not authorised.”

They urged the security agencies to investigate and bring to book those behind the “national shame” of the invasion of the senate chamber.

On the issue of security, the group endorsed the call for self-defence by Gen. TY Danjuma, saying it is the right call in the face of the spate of attacks by herdsmen across the country.

The continuous spate of killing of innocent citizens of Nigeria especially from the Middle Belt, is totally unacceptable. More disturbing is the ever increasing evidence that our Military and Police Forces are compromised in the manner they have conducted themselves by aiding and abetting the herdsmen.

“In the circumstance, we are left with no alternative than to call on Nigerians to employ self-defence, self-defence as permissible in law when any citizen is faced with the risk of imminent death in the circumstances we find ourselves now.

“Nigerians must self-defend themselves now

“We also call on the Police Service Commission to immediately deploy Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) to their places of origin for a more effective policing, while we await State Police.”

On the alleged creation of 30,000 polling units by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the group asked the commission “to conduct the 2019 elections on the basis of the existing polling units so that the exercise will be credible and the outcome acceptable.

“The only exception that can be granted is for the polling units where there are about 1,500 voters at present for instance to be split into three while they are all attached to the mother polling unit.”

INEC has already dismissed the insinuation that it is planning to create 30,000 polling units

•The Nation

Source News Express

Posted 26/04/2018 1:20:37 PM

 

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