We in the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) have once more observed with shock the deliberate delay tactics of the Armed forces to crush the terrorists in the North West of NIGERIA masquerading as mere armed bandits. We regret to observe that these terrorists who are mostly ethnic Fulani same ethnicity with all the heads of the internal security institutions are still operating freely in Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara and Katsina and have killed scores of citizens only in the last few days.
The primary responsibility as the President is the protection of lives and properties of citizens.
According to Section 140(1) A person elected to the office of President shall not begin to perform the functions of that office until he has declared his assets and liabilities as prescribed in this Constitution and he has taken and subscribed the Oath of Allegiance and the oath of office prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to this Constitution. (2) The oaths aforesaid shall be administered by the Chief Justice of Nigeria or the person for the time being appointed to exercise the functions of that office. Section 141 – There shall be for the Federation a Vice-President.
OATH OF OFFICE OF PRESIDENT STATES AS FOLLOWS:
“I .. .. .. do solemnly swear/affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity well-being, and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; .. .. ”
The Global Terrorism Index (2019) ranked Nigeria as the third-worst nation prone to terrorism with no improvement since 2017.
Asides insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and secessionist violence are pushing Nigeria towards the brink of collapse with many calling for the resignation of the president for “failing” to secure the country.
For the past six years the insecurity across Nigeria has worsened beyond the Boko Haram insurgency. Virtually all parts of Nigeria are currently battling one form or another of violent crimes, evidence that the president has failed to keep his promise on security.
Many Nigerians did not believe their President, and currently many more rather feel the opposite about his positive self-assessment – that things have actually gone from bad to worse under Buhari’s watch.
These sentiments were expressed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who said he was embarrassed about how President Buhari is running the country, insisting that Africa’s most populous black nation is moving towards becoming a failed State. The former President then openly accused the current administration of mismanaging diversity by allowing disappearing old ethnic and religious fault lines to reopen in greater fissures with drums of bitterness, separation and disintegration.
The analysis showed that insecurity affects economic growth by drying-out investments, increases unemployment and dwindles government revenue, amongst others. Despite these effects, government capital expenditure on internal security did not grow astronomically to match the hydra-headed problem.
Obasanjo is apparently not alone. Wole Soyinka, poet, essayist and first African Nobel prize winner, concurred with the former President’s assessment, describing the country as a crumbling edifice on the edge of collapse. According to another elder statesman, the former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, referring to attacks across the country by bandits and criminal herdsmen, the failure is because ‘no serious and patriotic government will allow this level of killings of its citizens by terrorists and be watching aimlessly’. A prominent Islamic scholar, Sheik Murtala Sokoto, described those still praising Buhari as liars and hypocrites.
Even within the President Buhari’s own party, many people who worked for his victory now complain openly that the mission that brought them to power might have been wilfully abandoned.
Adegbami (2013) noted that insecurity has led to the destruction of business and properties, equipment’s, relocation and closing down of businesses. Many business operators who were residing in the northern part of Nigeria have either close down or relocated their businesses due to Boko Haram insurgents.
THE EFFECT OF FAILURE OF THE PRESIDENT TO STICK TO HIS OATH OF OFFICE.
According to section 143 of the 1999 constitution (as amended),
- The President or Vice-President may be removed from office in accordance with the provisions of this section.
- Whenever a notice of any allegation in writing signed by not less than one-third of the members of the National Assembly:- (a) is presented to the President of the Senate; (b) stating that the holder of the office of President or Vice-President is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office, detailed particulars of which shall be specified, the President of the Senate shall within seven days of the receipt of the notice cause a copy thereof to be served on the holder of the office and on each member of the National Assembly, and shall also cause any statement made in reply to the allegation by the holder of the office to be served on each member of the National Assembly.
- Within fourteen days of the presentation of the notice to the President of the Senate (whether or not any statement was made by the holder of the office in reply to the allegation contained in the notice) each House of the National Assembly shall resolve by motion without any debate whether or not the allegation shall be investigated.
- A motion of the National Assembly that the allegation be investigated shall not be declared as having been passed, unless it is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of each House of the National Assembly.
- Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions, the Chief Justice of Nigeria shall at the request of the President of the Senate appoint a Panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegation as provide in this section.
- The holder of an office whose conduct is being investigated under this section shall have the right to defend himself in person and be represented before the Panel by legal practitioners of his own choice.
- A Panel appointed under this section shall – (a) have such powers and exercise its functions in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed by the National Assembly; and (b) within three months of its appointment report its findings to each House of the National Assembly.
- Where the Panel reports to each House of the National Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.
- Where the report of the Panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within fourteen days of the receipt of the report at the House the National Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of each House of the National Assembly supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the Panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.
- No proceedings or determination of the Panel or of the National Assembly or any matter relating thereto shall be entertained or questioned in any court.
- In this section – gross misconduct” means a grave violation or breach of the provisions of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion of the National Assembly to gross misconduct.
Where the President fails to fulfil his constitutional duties as stated above, we demand he step aside or the National Assembly initiates impeachment proceedings against him on grounds of gross misconduct as provided for in Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
We remain hopeful as citizens of Nigeria and call on all Nigerians to keep hope alive as we bond together and build a nation where true peace and justice reign
In law, whenever any provision of the Constitution is to be interpreted, that provision must be considered in the context of the whole Constitution. Thus, in the case of Efuawape Okulate & Ors vs Gbadamosi Awosanya & Ors  FWLR 1552 -1743 (Part 25) the Supreme Court, per Uthman Mohammed, JSC, stated the law at 1695 as follows:
“There is no doubt that it is settled law that when interpreting the provisions of the constitution, all its provisions must be read together.(Adesanya vs President of Federal Republic of Nigeria (1981) 2 NCLR 358 referred to p.1695,(para.C).
A security expert, Timothy Avele, in his reaction to the security situation in the country blamed both the security agencies and some state governments.
On the part of security agencies, Mr Avele ascribed the lack of improvement to what he described as the non-coordination of security agents.
He also said governors were aiding insecurity by paying ransoms to kidnappers rather than finding a lasting solution.
Security situation as it stands now is getting worse. A day hardly passed without hearing one form of insecurity or the other in many parts of the country.
The government is trying but it is not enough, it needs to do more. The missing link seems to be lack of proper coordination among security agencies and appropriate intelligence application.
Secondly, the state governments are contributing indirectly to the insecurity ravaging the country by negotiating with bandits, kidnappers and paying them millions as compensation. This action will only encourage others to form criminal gangs within and in other states.
Thirdly, many states are simply sitting and waiting for FG to come and remove criminal enterprise in their state instead of doing something concrete to battle the scourge
Lastly, we can only expect to see results when there’s a political will to end insecurity across Nigeria. A lot of sacrifices and compromises on the part of the government, institutions, security agencies and citizens is a must,” he said.
The follows are evidence to show that both the Armed Forces and the President do not want to crush these terrorists but are just busy engaging in semantic jargons.
Nov 21 , 2021: The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, has declared that henceforth, the Nigerian Army will engage bandits and criminals in a war.
Yahaya, who stated during a familiarization visit to 31 Artillery Brigade and Tradoc Minna, Niger State, said the army will be more resolute and decisive in dealing with them.
“I commend them on the job they are doing they should be more resolute and more decisive in dealing with the criminals and we will engage bandits just like in a war. We kill them and bring their weapons. And that is what we will continue to do but there are challenges,” he stated.
April 23/ 2021: President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the latest killings by bandits in Zamfara State, vowing that “such wanton disregard for life will be brought to an end sooner than later.”
PREMIUM TIMES reported how suspected bandits killed at least 83 persons and displaced hundreds of others, including women and children, in attacks on many villages in Zamfara on Wednesday.
The president in a reaction to the incidents via a statement by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Thursday, said that “this insane and persistent violence against innocent people must stop.
“These criminals should stop pushing their luck too far by believing that the government lacks the capacity to crush them.”
Oct 19 2021: President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a stern warning to bandits, saying that “the clock of your ultimate destruction is ticking as you will no longer have a place to hide.”
In a statement in Abuja on Monday, Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman, said President Buhari was reacting to the killing of over 30 people in Goronyo in Sokoto State on Sunday by bandits.
According to the president, the days of the bandits are indeed numbered because the military capabilities of armed forces are being boosted by the acquisition and deployment of advanced equipment.
May 13 2021: PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday warned bandits terrorizing Nigerians especially the farmers that their menace would soon be addressed to ensure that the nation’s food security was not threatened.
To this end, the President has pledged that his administration will use all available resources and manpower in dealing with bandits.
Speaking to reporters at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after observing the Eid prayer, marking the end of the month-long Ramadan fast, President Buhari said he will ensure that they (bandits) did not create havoc against access to farms and food production in the coming growing season.