Why Some Customary Practices In Nigeria Are Illegal, By ‘Yinka Oyesomi

‘’ As legal practitioners, you cannot close your eyes to the social, political and economic problems of our time. Therefore, you have a duty to help rescue our society from pervasive lawlessness, corruption and anti-social activities.’’— Hon. Justice W.S.N Onoghen
Lawyers and budding legal practitioners who shy away from condemning ridiculous cultural practices in our society, have not only betrayed their callings, but the entire existence of man.
Hence, it would not be deemed out of place for budding legal practitioner like myself to criticize some anachronistic customary practices in our society. The Chief Justice of Nigeria, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Walter Onoghen affirmed this, too, at the July 21, 2017 call-to-bar ceremonies while addressing the new wigs.
It should be noted that customary practices like ‘Oro’ and ‘Agemo’ as prevalent in some Yoruba communities are not only repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience, but incompatible with the provisions of our laws, and against public policy.
Let it be known that these customary practices are very illegal and thus are alien to our jurisprudence. Though, Section 315(3),(4),(b) and (c) and section 265 and 280 gives special attention to customary law and makes provision for the establishment of the customary court of appeal for the Federal Capital Territory as must as of customary courts of Appeal for each states respectively.
Importantly, in law , it is settled that for a customary law to be deemd to be valid, it must pass through some validity tests, which customary practices like ‘Oro’ and ‘Agemo’ have failed. Hence, they cannot be rendered to be valid.
The court has held in the celebrated case of Agbai V. Okagbue that the importance of these validity tests is to fine-tune customs so they might maintain relevance in our legal system. Section 315 of the 1999 Constitution is the basis of these tests.
The repugnancy test is the first test of validity. This test requires that any custom or customary law must not be repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.
Natural justice is obviously a test of fairness and fair hearing of a custom. This is upheld by the grundnorm where Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution guarantees the fundamental right to fair hearing.
In the popular case of Guri V. Hadejia Native Authority, it was exclusively held by the court that such Malik custom preventing fear hearing of a suspect accused of high way robbery was not fit to be classified as customary law as it was against natural justice.
It would be of golden benefit to note that natural justice upholds two key principles: ‘audi alteram partem’ which guarantees fair hearing and ‘nemo judex in casua sua’ which also prevents one from being the judge in a case of interest to him. See the landmark decision in the celebrated case of Garb &  Ors. V. University of Maiduguri.
Hence, for traditional rulers to display fascist-like tendencies by decreeing that punishments will be meted out to those that have refused to follow their anachronistic, draconic and illegal orders is everything but an insult to our sacred laws. Let it be known!
In the same vein, customary laws must not be against equity and good conscience. Equity in its totality is fairness, rightness, and justice. Any custom must have the nature of equity while it must be born of good conscience, purpose and reason. See Inasa V. Oshodi.
Another test is the incompatibility test. This test requires that any rule of customary law must not be incompatible with any existing provisions of the constitution nor any existing statute for the time being in force in such a community in Nigeria. See Re Effiong Okon Ata where the court held that the right to administer with the property of a slave was now incompatible with the Slavery Abolition Ordinance No. 35 of 1916.
Pursuant to the above, it is crystal clear that this is where the traditional rulers have goofed. What a big time goof! It is a common knowledge that during these ‘Oro’ and ‘Agemo’ festivals, the fundamentally guaranteed right to the freedom of the inhabitant of such communities are always restricted. See Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution.
It should be a point of note that during ‘Oro’ and ‘Isemo’ festivals, females are mostly restricted to their homes as they are not allowed to move freely. This is not only an aberration of their rights to freedom of movement, as expressed hereinabove, but also a gross infringement of their right to freedom of discrimination as provided in Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution and several international covenants and protocols like the Covenant on the Eradication of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), though not yet domesticated in our jurisdiction. Notwithstanding, the proviso of the grundnorm still hold sway!
No doubt, this prompted the decision of the court in Mojekwu V. Mojekwu where a customary law discriminatory against female children was held to be against Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution and not enforceable.
Lastly, as a matter of necessity, customs or customary law must pass the public policy test. Public policy principally centers on the security and welfare of the people which is the primary purpose of the government as provided in Section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution. This formed the line of decision in Okonkwo V. Okagbure.
In the final analysis, to predicate on the above expostulations of the law, it can be deduced that customary practices like ‘Oro’ and ‘Agemo’ as trodden in some Yoruba communities are not only repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience, but also mitigate the provisions of our laws and against public policy. Hence, they should be jettisoned.
Anyone who disagrees with the already established arguments hereinabove is either delusional or deliberately violating the already established facts, empirical precedents and statutes.
No dilly-dally, these customary practices are not only illegal but an affront to justice. Can the traditional rulers claim to be oblivious of the law? Are they above the law?
In Nigeria, can we for once, be lawful?
‘Yinka Oyesomi is an undergraduate of law and the Secretary-General, Legal Minds for Good Governance Initiative(LMGGI). He can be reached via adeyinkaoyesomi@gmail.com and +2348143490113.

Jibrin Baba Ndace : Changing The Narrative Of Information Management, By Fodio Ahmed

Weeks after he, Jibrin Baba Ndace was appointed Chief Press Secretary to the dynamic Governor of Niger State Alhaji (Dr.) Abubakar Sani Bello, my boss Dr. Mustapha Jibril during our normal discuss informed me that,  the newly appointed press secretary of Mr.  Governor is very impressed with the little know-how of my handling his media activities and that he wants to meet me.
First,  I was shocked but most importantly, it challenged me to even put more effort considering that,  my modest ability is been noticed and recognized by an A-Class Journalist, PR czar and fine public analyst.
But “make I no lie, my big head come increase in size, I mean would you blame me ? I doubt”  .The thought of having a media heavyweight recognise my passion for journalism further deepened and restamped my resolve to keep pushing for greatness in the field.
Jibrin Baba Ndace, a persona whose humility, compassion and affections were tender and warm, his mentoring and encouragement can be best captured as simple and sincere.
An image maker with distinguished characteristics, a spokeperson who truly understand what professionalism stands for against all temptation by over-zealous persons’.
Ndace did not only succeed in refurbishing the narrative of the job description of press secretaries and information managers, he designed stand-out strategies of selling the restoration agenda of his principal, Governor Sani Bello.
Notable is the fascinating manner that Ndace deliberately adopted in handling the non-stop and notorious proposed ‘Pig-Fight’ laid by a ‘Sin-nator’ from  Zone B senatorial district of Niger State, Ndace saw the need not to engage in rejoinder-riot  with a distractor, the more reason the ‘Sin-nator’s frustration got even louder.  Silence is Golden, they say.
Admirably, the scenario I love most is how Ndace has been able to manage the unprofessional and likely-sabotaging acts canvassed through interfering with his Job Description  by those who arrogantly think or rather believe that they are too important to do what they want and Nothing will  happen,  I mean those who feel the Abu Lolo Government is their ‘Yahuza Chicken’  and ‘HABEEB FURA DA NONO’ .
Between Niger State Government and Nigerlites, information is what binds us to, remain informed with government activities and policies,  appreciate as well  hold accountable our public officers which is a citizen’s fundamental rights, so information is necessary,  if not a must. In that regard,  Ndace has displayed and sustained decorum and ethical image making and management, communication and publicity objectives.  Kudos. !
It was Henry Anatole Grunwald that opined “Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air”.
On Social Media: Despite the atrocities, excessive blackmail and raw e-yellow journalism (sensationalism gone digital, Lols) Ndace stood out by ensuring that there is a harmonious co-existence between citizens and the administration of his Boss. Of worthy mention is how he was able to manage freedom of speech, objective criticism and even ‘hate’ by citizens devoid of intimidation and harassment.
His ethical rationalism of respecting the diverse views and opinions of all, an attribute that reminds me of a saying by Ted Rubin ( @tedrubin ) “Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth”
The role of media in all aspect of human and society is as crucial as existence itself
and should never be underestimated, therefore,  with a vision that read thus  “to continuously, consistently, strategically and tactically deploy PR and media skills, expertise in reputation management of Mr Governor, Alhaji Dr. Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State in line with the cardinal priority of the administration and for the good of Nigerlites” what else do I say, if not keep excelling boss.
To this end,  Happy birthday Media-Bull and game changer.  More blessings, grace pon grace.

Buhari/Osinbajo Synergy Continues To Inspire, By Akinyemi Ayo

Last week was an array of political brouhaha ranging from the various defections of lawmakers and governors from the ruling party to the opposition party but amidst all, the siege on the National Assembly cannot be Jettisoned as Masked Armed Personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) barricaded the entrance thereby restricting lawmakers and staffs of the National Assembly from gaining access into the complex.

Recall that in April, the security details of the National Assembly were compromised and some hoodlums invaded the hallowed chamber of the senate, stole the mace which was an emblem of authority.

There were assertions that the besiegement of the parliament by the masked DSS Personnel was an attempt to avert another invasion due to intelligence report but on a contrary, it was tantamount to coup against Nigeria’s Democracy bearing in mind that recently, there has been intense criticism concerning the DSS involvement in some political activities from being illegally deployed to the Nigeria Football Federation’s office Abuja to eject the President, Chris Giwa out of office and to also being used to orchestrate the planned impeachment of Benue State Governor on the basis of “Orders from above”.

However, the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, swiftly terminated the appointment of the DSS Director General, Lawal Daura; and the DSS personnel at the National Assembly retreated afterwards.

The acting President in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, described the unauthorized takeover of the National Assembly complex as a gross violation of constitutional order, rule of law and all acceptable notions of law and order.

According to him, the unlawful act which was done without the knowledge of the Presidency is condemnable and completely unacceptable.

By this statement, Professor Osinbajo assured Nigerians that all persons within the law enforcement apparatus who participated in this travesty will be identified and subjected to appropriate disciplinary action.

The Prompt action taken by the Acting President in intervening in the siege of the National Assembly has generated a lot of remarks thereby regarding him as a true democrat and leader.

Nevertheless, the sack of the DG DSS has also generated a lot of controversies asking if the Acting President has the powers to fire Daura.

However, some analysts saw it as insubordination on his part making claims that the acting president carried out this orders without proper clearance from the president himself.

Prior to that, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina disclosed that the actions taken by the acting president in sacking the DG DSS shows that there’s unanimity in the government and it confirms the full transition of power by President Buhari to his deputy before proceeding on his vacation.

It should be noted that the Acting president will always maintain conscious correspondence with the President over the matters of the Nation after all the Buhari led administration is all about change agenda and it is subject to the duo.

Meanwhile, it is very important to note that the head can never stand alone; neither can the body making it clear that Prof Osinbajo could not have carried out these orders without the consent of the president.

Recall that days before President Buhari embarked on his 10-day vacation, he wrote the National Assembly and categorically informed them as he is expected to do constitutionally, that Vice President Osinbajo will assume the role of Acting President and as an Acting President, he has all the powers of the President, hence he can hire and fire as much as the President can.

The provisions of Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution makes this clear when it says the Vice President as Acting President shall discharge all the functions of the President.

Aside from the constitution, the undoubted loyalty of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is second to none, which means his decision is after liaising with President Buhari, his Boss, because of the synergy between them.

Even the Emir of Daura, HRH, Alhaji Farouk Umar Farouk, attested to the loyalty of Prof Yemi Osinbajo during the courtesy visit to his palace, in his remarks he said “We are happy with you and we are particularly proud of the way you have supported our son, President Muhammadu Buhari in leading our country Nigeria to prosperity and that explains why loyalty and trustworthiness among political class is being talked about, you stand as an example worthy of note. I wish that you carry on with this level of trustworthiness and continue to uphold the confidence that our son has in you”.

You would admit that the duo, President Buhari and Prof. Osinbajo always work together on everything, hence it would be fair to conclude that the Vice President consulted with him before taking this key decision that many Nigerians are applauding.

It would also be fair to shower the accolades on the duo rather than limiting it to one because what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander and a neck cannot function properly without the head.

The sack of the DG DSS is clearly a strong indication that the rule of law remains sacrosanct in Nigeria, the Buhari-led administration is proactive in its fight against corruption and bad leadership hence no stone will be left unturned.

Ayo is a Lagos-based journalist and public commentator

Development And Infrastructure In The Niger-Delta: Fruits Of Buhari – Osinbajo’s Stabilizing Interventions, By Chukwudi Enekwechi (JP)

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has become famous among Nigerians for gainfully using the powers of his office to advance the socio-economic agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. For example in the heat of the Niger Delta crisis when militants resorted to blowing up oil installations, which crippled the country’s economy Professor Osinbajo  took up the gauntlet and waded into finding  lasting solutions to the problems in the Niger Delta region.
His interventions as manifested in his engagement with the Niger Delta leaders under the umbrella of Pan Niger Delta Forum led to the acceptance of dialogue by the Niger Delta agitators who eventually dropped their arms and saved the country from a total economic collapse and perennial restiveness in the region.
While it clear that some demands of the Pan Niger Delta Forum have not been fully implemented by the federal government, yet we see an obvious commitment on their part to fulfill most of their obligations to the Niger Delta region, and Professor Osinbajo is at the helm of seeing all these come to fruition. His inclination towards the maintenance of peace in the region has helped to stop the incessant interruption in the production and exploration of oil as a result of militancy, thereby improving the country’s economy and development.
In finding solutions to the problems confronting the region he has adopted some pragmatic approach, and the results are visible to all Nigerians. The reopening of Maritime University Okerenkoko in Delta state and establishment of modular refineries resonated well with the people and stakeholders of the region. The setting up of the modular refineries is a practical solution to the degradation of the region’s environment traceable to oil exploration.
Gladly the Buhari/Osinbajo administration is committed to the environmental remediation of the region as exemplified in the start of Ogoni clean-up programme.
The various empowerment programmes of the federal government which are targeted at supporting the youths of the region to lead useful lives have helped to provide the youths with gainful employment. In addition, the impartation of knowledge in various skills to the youths has played an important role in enhancing the productivity of the companies and other public institutions in the region.
The strengthening of the capacity of the Niger Delta Development Commission to deliver maximally on its mandate has raised the tempo of development in the region, especially in the area of infrastructural development and improvement in living standards.
As Nigerians continue to applaud Professor Yemi Osinbajo for his proactive leadership style, especially in the latest sacking of the director general of Department of State Services, Mr. Lawal Daura for acting ultra vires in the security siege at the National Assembly, it is discernible that the duo of Acting President, Professor Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari are determined to bring succour, not only to the people of Niger Delta but to all Nigerians.
His timely intervention in bringing the National Assembly siege to a stop played a significant role in restoring the confidence of Nigerians to the security agencies, and reemphasised that rule of law remains sacrosanct in Nigeria.
By Chukwudi Enekwechi (JP)
An Abuja based Journalist

Skill Acquisition; Paramount To National Security, By @DejiAdesogan

Guthrie (1952) defines skills as the ability to bring about some end result with maximum certainty and minimum outlays of ?energy or of time and energy. Such abilities can be only be made possible through practice, it is the process of developing such abilities through consistent practice that is referred to as skill acquisition.
In fact, skill acquisition is often a complementary knowledge but for some a source of livelihood.
Common skills within the Nigerian environment include Fashion Designing, Farming, Catering, Soap Making, Shoe-Making, Welding, Painting, Blogging, Information Technology etc. The widening gap between the demand and supply of jobs in the labour market has made the acquisition of entrepreneur skills necessary in the 21st century especially in developing countries like Nigeria, the giant of Africa.
Joblessness is a serious threat to national security, It may lead to many of our teeming youths been eventually recruited into the rank of oil theft syndicates, armed robbers, kidnappers, militants and insurgents. The unemployed army of young people in poor urban neighbourhoods is closely related to involvement in various forms of offences, including expressive and acquisitive offenses, such as, vandalizing, petty crimes or
more serious crimes such as, burglary and robbery.
To create balance between the growing needs for jobs and the availability of it. There is indeed a need for an intervention plan, so far, skill acquisition has proven to be a panacea for National Security and a sure guarantee for sustainable development particularly for youths as they constitute the larger force within the society that is at the receiving end of the drought in jobs all over Nigeria.
Though as we all know that Skill Acquisition is a capital intensive, there is urgent need for our governments (local, state and FG) to channel more resources into skill acquisition programmes so as to make loans readily available and easily accessible for many that are interested in developing and making livelihood through an acquired skill instead of depending on a “white collar” job that is not even available enough. The Nigerian government led by President Muhammadu Buhari must create more Technical and Vocational Schools because i believe firmly that they will serve as an effective medium in encouraging the acquisition of skills among our teeming jobless youths, and also to create more sustainable youth developmental policies, government must also consider give her youths Vocational and Technical education that can equally provide formal education for them.
It is often said that an idle hand is the devil’s workshop, Nigerian youths must on their own part seize every possible opportunity available to develop themselves in one skill or another because everyone can or should rely on prospects of western education whether in the arts, science or humanities. Skill acquisition could actually be a money spinning venture for future dream actualization. Nigerian Youths must learn to imbibe the virtue of patience and avoid being ruled by the “get quickly and anyhow” syndrome because there is dignity in labour.
Skill acquisition guarantees self empowerment which of course is a great mark of true freedom, they should not rely solely on certificates but acquired skills. White collar jobs are no longer what they used to be, so it is high time for each Nigerian youth to fold his/her sleeves and acquired skill(s) aside formal education since many degree holders feel been a graduate automatically gives them instant wealth without sweat or hard labour. Like what OB Afuye a close friend of mine said, most Nigerian graduates allow their degree certificates to override their decision making wether to venture into entrepreneurship, you hear things like how can a degree holder become a mere plumber, tailor, cobbler, barber, driver etc.
Lastly, the latest strategy of Government fighting unemployment with certificated skill acquisition is a welcome development but it can only yeid desired positive result(s) when all the tiers of Government (local, state, and FG) see this meance as a common enemy that must be forcefuly and jointly defeated without unecessary delay.
?’Deji Adesogan, adesoganayodeji@gmail.com, a Security/Media Consultant, writes from Kaduna. Tweets via @DejiAdesogan on Twitter.

Dattijo: The Super Commissioner, By Engr. Imam Maiyki

Kaduna State has a tradition of producing colorful technocrats.People like Gidado Idris,Andrew Nok,Rilwanu Lukman,Ishaya Audu etc all fall into this category.The current Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Kaduna state also falls into this category.

Dattijo is a charismatic and brilliant orator and an intellectually gifted personality which made him the integral part and leading light of the government.

Over the past 12 years, he has built up significant experience in development policy, finance and project implementation in addition to holding several positions of responsibility within Nigeria and abroad.

Academically, he has a first degree in Economics from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, an MSc in Development Economics and Policy from the University of Manchester, a second masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and has studied Public Finance at the London School of Economics, Sustainable Development with Columbia University in New York and Advanced Project Management at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Before his appointment as Commissioner, he was the policy adviser at the executive office of the United Nations Secretary General in New York. In that role, he was a member of the Secretary General’s core team designing the next global development agenda that seeks to end poverty, transform economies and enhance shared responsibility across the world. This agenda, named the SDGs replaces the MDGS having significant impact in the architecture of development across the World.

Prior to his position at the United Nations, he was an Economist and Deputy National Program manager in Nigeria’s presidency where he was tasked with supporting the design and coordination of MDGs projects across Nigeria. He was subsequently appointed economic adviser of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum where he had the opportunity to interact with the country’s 36 elected Governors on issues of development policy.

These positions have provided him with valuable experience not only across the world but also particularly around Nigeria having visited and implemented projects in deep rural areas in at least 25 of Nigeria’s 36 states including several hundred project locations in Kaduna.

He is a UK Chevening Scholar, member of the University of Oxford Business Alumni Network and a Fellow of the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Institute. He also worked in the APC Transition Committee in various capacities.Most recently,the World Bank selected him  as a member of expert advisory council on citizen engagement.

Considering his academic background and his working experience,no wonder he keep making the Kaduna project a huge success.Some of his achievements as a commissioner includes: Prompt budgeting and planning of the state financies using the available data and statistics of the state IGR which makes Kaduna state to always be the first state to pass it’s budget; monthly publication of Consumer Price Index(CPI) which provides analysis of price movement of selected commodities,Collaboration with development partners such as World Bank, Rockerfeller Foundation, DFID etc which yielded a lot of positive results such as Digital African Woman entrepreneurship workshop, Click-On-Kaduna workshop and training and many more to come.

His achievements includes the training of elected government officials on governance,leadership and service delivery. He also successfully linked Kaduna state as a member state with Open Government Partnership (OGP) towards an open, transparent and accountable governance.

He initiated the Eyes & Ears mechanism to register and monitor every complain lodged in by the citizens and also to track the physical developmental projects of the state.These are just some of the numerous developments Dattijo brought as a commissioner in Kaduna state.

Muhammad Sani Dattijo always simplifies complex problems with his characteristic humour,reforming the unreformable and making us to see and belief that governance is not rocket science. With People like Dattijo,the task of Making Kaduna Great Again is not just a slogan. It’s already happening.

 

By Engr. Imam Maiyaki

@MaiyakiImam

imammaiyaki@gmail.com

Fifth Columnists In Our Recent History, By Senator Babafemi Ojudu

Once upon a time a General took over the reigns of power in Nigeria. He was determined to straighten Nigeria and instill discipline in the hope that in no long time Nigeria will be counted among the developed nations of the world.

He introduced economic nationalism, frowned at corruption, and said loud and clear that trafficking in drug was anathema to our national goals. He advocated that Nigeria no matter their social class, powerful or powerless must exhibit discipline in all they do.

Some fellow Generals who were in power with him but whose vision were diametrically opposed to his could not tolerate his stubbornness. They plotted against him. They found accomplices in the media, the traditional institution, among politicians and in the business community. Some foreign interests too were wooed.

They came up with a script. This man is too popular. We need to make him unpopular, tag him a dictator, high handed and uncompromising.

Yes the Yorubas bought into his vision and they loved him. What do they do to give him a bad name before they strike to institute their regime of locusts. They hired a band of boys within the security to proceed to the house of the revered leader of the Yorubas, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

In the middle of the night the boys sacked the house, forced their way into his bedroom, ransacked everywhere and broke down his ward robe. They claimed they were sent by the then Head of State Gen Muhammadu Buhari to go look for some confidential documents acquired illegally by the Chief. The Yorubas and other sympathizer of Buhari were outraged. That was the end of the romance between the anti corruption duo of Buhari and Idiagbon and the people.

They didn’t stop at that they sent another band of marauders to Kaduna. Destination was the home of the Islamic cleric, Alhaji Gumi. Their goal: embarrass the much respected cleric and set the Muslims against the regime. They succeeded at this as well.

A couple of months thereafter when they struck and overthrew the regime, these were listed among the offenses committed by Gen Buhari. The people having been deceived applauded them and Buhari adjudged high handed, brutal and a dictator.

When a couple of days ago Senator Bukola Saraki visited the gap tooted General in Minna, I interpreted as going to ask “Oga I hope I am doing well?”.

Nigerians should be vigilant . The children of yesterday’s tricksters are adults and are adopting the tricks of their fathers.

We must all rise up and say we shall not be deceived by them.

From the shenanigans at the Benue House of Assembly, to the siege on National Assembly, the attack on judges home in the night, the so called barricade of the Senate President’s house, the laughable kidnap of Boy Dino and “his eleven hours on a tree’, the freezing of Benue and Akwa Ibom accounts all are scripted, produced and acted by Oloye Productions .

Soon they may come up with a bullet riddled vehicle and claim that the Executive Producer has survived an assassination attempt. After all some of the Offa sharp shooters are still at large.

May God save us from these power mongers.

How Osinbajo Saved Nigeria’s Democracy With Daura’s Sack

On Tuesday, armed Department of State Service, DSS barricaded the National Assembly blocking members of the hallowed chambers from seating until later in the morning.

Even though the lawmakers were later granted entrance, they were not allowed to enter the chambers neither were  staff of the National Assembly.

In recent times, the DSS has come under intense criticism over some political activities it has involved itself in.

Two weeks ago, the DSS was alleged to have been used to orchestrate the planned impeachment of Benue State governor by 8 out of 30 members. The DSS allowed the 8 lawmakers of the state House of Assembly alleged to be President Buhari’s supporters entrance into the chamber but refused other 22 lawmakers alleged to be sympathetic to the governor access to the cambers.

On the 23rd of July, the DSS was illegally deployed to the Nigeria Football Federation’s office Abuja to eject the President, Chris Giwa out of office. The security men, as has become their trademark, said they were acting on others “from above.”

However, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, denied involvement of the President, Mohammadu Buhari in the sordid and illegal invasion and stated that the President cannot disobey the judgment of the Supreme Court that returned Giwa as the NFF president.

In April, some hoodlums, from nowhere invaded the hallowed chamber of the Senate, grabbed the mace and went away with it with the security details of the National Assembly deeply compromised.

The event on Tuesday, many believed, was tantamount to coup against Nigeria’s democracy. And acting in a manner characteristic of a true democrat and leader, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo swiftly terminated the appointment of the DSS Director-general, Lawal Daura.

Upon the announcement of the sacking, the DSS personnel at the National Assembly retreated.

Announcing the sack on his Twitter handle, the Acting President said; “As a start, I have directed that the appointment of the DG of the DSS, Mr. Lawal Daura be terminated. He has been directed to hand over to the most Senior Officer in the State Security Service.

“The unauthorized takeover of the NASS complex today is a gross violation of the rule of law and all acceptable notions of law and order.

“Persons within the law enforcement apparatus who participated in this travesty will be identified and subjected to disciplinary action,” Osinbajo twitted.

The Acting President in a later press release signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, described the unlawful act which was done without the knowledge of the Presidency, as condemnable and completely unacceptable.

This is not the first time the professor of law is ascending the number one office in the land in acting capacity amidst challenges. In the third time he has become the Acting President of the country, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has distinguished himself with remarkable strides.

Professor Yemi Osinbajo as Nigeria’s Acting President has gained some good popularity among the Nigerian people due to his leadership sagacity.

In his first sojourn as the Acting President he appointed Justice Walter Onnoghen as the Chief justice of Nigeria, CJN and forwarded his name to the Senate for confirmation. The appointment received the National Assembly’s blessings.

On February 8, 2017, he chaired the FEC and gave approval of N21 billion for the construction of the Ilorin-Omu Aran-Kabba Road, Section I. Also on February 15, he approved the award of N126 billion road projects spread across Kano, Bauchi, Adamawa, Kwara, Gombe, Enugu an Kaduna states.

On February 16, he presided over the first National Economic Council meeting of the year and directed the CBN to review the foreign exchange policy. The meeting also resolved that fresh $250 million be injected into the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). The CBN subsequently released about $500 million through the interbank market, where the 23 banks bought $371m.

Still on his FIRSTS, on February 17 2017, Professor Osinbajo signed seven bills into law. The bills were: Oaths (Amendment) Act 2017; Defence Space Administration Act 2017; Veterinary Surgeons (Amendment) Act 2017; and others. He then paid an unscheduled visit to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, as part of the 60-day action plan for business reforms in the country.

The visit took many airport workers by surprise. Osinbajo inspected facilities and interacted with airport officials. Less than 24 hours after his unscheduled visit to Lagos airport, the federal government announced the sack of 10 directors of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). Three new directors and a general manager were also appointed for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

The FEC meeting, Osinbajo chaired on February 22 approved N32 billion for the resuscitation and completion of the 50km dual carriage Kaduna eastern bypass highway. The Council also approved $39.9 for the construction of the Cameroon-Nigeria border link bridge at Ikot Efiem. The council also approved the Revised National Policy on Environment.

To those who know the Acting President very well, what he did on Tuesday is a tip of the iceberg as more are to come. His vow to fish out the perpetrators of the Tuesday’s National Assembly siege and bring them to justice should not be taken with levity.

Indeed, by removing the former DSS boss, Daura from office, Acting President Osinbajo has saved Nigeria’s democracy.

24 Senators Can Remove Saraki, By Sunusi Musa

The recent upheavals in the National Assembly has further brought to the fore the argument of what is the constitutionally required number of Senators or members of the House of Representatives to remove any of the presiding officers or their respective deputies.

By this I mean the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Deputy President of the Senate and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

While some lawyers hold the view that the removal of any of the above mentioned officers required 2/3 majority of the all the members of each house, others are of the view that what is required is 2/3 of the members present at a sitting provided they form a quorum.

Each of the two opposing views are basing their argument on the provision of the Section 50 (2) (C) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as altered) (1999 Constitution). It is apposite to quote the said provision before going further. The section provides;

2 The President or Deputy President of the Senate or the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall vacate his office –
a. …
b. …
c. if he is removed from office by a resolution of the Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of the members of that House.

The contention of both sides is with respect to the meaning of the phrase ‘…not less than two-thirds majority of the members of that House…’ In other words, what does the framers of the constitution meant by “two-third majority of the members of that House”? Does it mean for instance to remove the President of the Senate, it requires a resolution passed by at least 73 Senators which is 2/3 of the 109 Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Or it means 25 Senators which the 2/3 of the 37 Senators that the Senate require to perform its legislative duties as provided under Section 54 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.

In interpreting the provision of the Constitution, the Courts have over the years insist that words should be given their natural meaning, unless doing so will lead to absurd situation. It is also not allowed in interpreting a legislation to import words which are expressly or impliedly excluded in couching the provision of particular statute. The Supreme Court, in AG of Abia State V. the AG of the Federation & Ors (2005) LPELR-3151(SC) held;
It is also good law that as a general rule of construction of statutes that a court is not entitled to read into a statute, words which are excluded expressly, or impliedly from it. See Attorney-General, Ondo State v.Attorney-General, Ekiti State (2001) 17 NWLR (Pt. 743) 706 at 767, (2001) FWLR 1431, where at pp. 1472

It is therefore with the above holding of the Supreme Court in mind that I intend to begin this journey of finding the true intent of the framers of our constitution while couching the provision of Section 50 (2) (c) of the 1999 Constitution.

It is my humble opinion that for us to unravel the meaning of the phrase not less than two-thirds majority of the members of that House…’ used in subsection (2) (c) of the Section 50 of the 1999 Constitution, the constitution must be looked at holistically. In other words, the provision shall not be read in isolation of other provision of the Constitution. It is important to consider other provisions of the Constitution in order to determine the meaning and effect of the words being interpreted.

In this regard, the provisions of sections 54, 143, and 188 are of relevance vis-à-vis interpretation of section 50 (2) (c) of the 1999 Constitution. This is because the sections contains provisions that deals with required number of legislators needed at a different times with respect to particular legislative business.

Section 54 of the constitution deals with the quorum required to conduct legislative business by each house of the National Assembly. Sub section (1) of the section provides;
54. (1) The quorum of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall be one third of all the members on of the Legislative House concerned.

Section 143 makes provision with respect to the removal of President or Vice President from office and of particular relevance here are subsections (1), (2), (4) and (9) thereof which provides;
143. (1) The President or Vice-President may be removed from office in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(2) Whenever a notice of any allegation in writing signed by not less than one-third of the members of the National Assembly-
(3)…
(4) 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.
(5)…
(6)…
(7)…
(8)…
(9) 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.

Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution deals with the removal of the Governor or his deputy form office and subsections (2), (4) and (9) of the section have, (apart from substituting the word ‘President’ with ‘Governor’) similar wordings with those of Section 143 (2), (4) and (9).

I have taken the pain to quote the above provisions in order to make it as easy for non-lawyers to understand my argument. The provisions above, like section 50 (2) of the same constitution makes provision with respect to the number of legislators required at a particular time for particular legislative business. Sections 54 (1), 143 (4) & (9) and 188 (4) & (9) have a common denominator that qualifies the number of legislators required for a particular business of to be carried out. The denominator is the phrase ‘all the members’.

On the other hand, reading section 50 (2) (c), 143 (2) and 188 (2) one will observe the absence of the phrase ‘all the members’ in qualifying the number of legislators required for the legislative business being dealt with by the said provisions.

From the provisions of the above sections of the 1999 Constitution, one can easily deduct that by the combine provision of section 50 (2) (c) and section 54 (1) & (4) of the 1999 Constitution, what is required for any motion intended to remove President of the Senate or his deputy is two-third of the members present at any sitting of the Senate provided there are up to 37 senators when such motion is tabled.

It amount to standing logic on its head to posit that a Constitution that empowers 37 Senators to exercise the legislative powers of the National Assembly provided by sections 58 and 59, will turn around and make the less important duty of dispensing with who is leading the Senators to perform the legislative duty more daunting. It cannot be the intendment of the framers of the same constitution makes it possible for 19 senators to make a President of the Senate to turn around to require 73 senators to unmake him. If 19 can make a President of the Senate, it is only logical to posit that 24 can unmake the same President of the Senate.

If the intendment of the framers of the Constitution is to require 73 Senators to remove President of the senate, certainly the word ‘all’ could have been inserted in between the words ‘of’ and ‘the’ in phrase ‘…not less than two-thirds majority of the members of that House…’ of section 50 (2) (c) of the 1999 Constitution.

Sunusi Musa Esq. is Abuja based legal practitioner

Bauchi Senatorial By- Election: The Rebirth Of Sak And The Game Players, By Abdulmajid Waziri

It is evidently clear that many Nigerians are unhappy with the school of thought that preaches  for voting strictly based on party identification popularly known as SAK  and rubbished all other candidates outside the annoited party no matter how credible they are . Many believed that effective change can only be successful if electorates  shun homogeneous voting since politicians are not attracted to political parties based on established principles or remarkable achievement made by the parties.  It is a quest for comfort zone and where I can easily get what I want.

It is illogical to advocate for anything SAK in a system where party ideology is absent and no standard is present to recruit incoming members of political parties, especially when other factors ; past record,competency, communication and credibility are not properly understood by the propagator.

Since the demise of the finest Bauchi Senator on the 17 March,2018 – Sen Ali Wakili (Allah Yajikan Malam Ali) many politicians have indicated interest to contest for the Bauchi South Senatorial district which comprises of 1944 poling unit across Seven(7) local government of the state. The forerunners in this contest are; Ex-governor Isa Yuguda (GPN), Lawal Yahaya Gumau (APC), Ladan Salihu (PDP), Maryam Begel(SDP) and Hussaini Umar (NNPP).

President Muhammadu Buhari was in Bauchi on Thursday to campaign for his party’s candidate – Lawal Yahaya Gumau. There, the president appealed to the mammoth crowd that graced the campaign rally to vote for Gumau and APC candidates in all  other elections. Many have received the President’s appeal for SAK with shock even though the expectations were not for the President to campaign for the other party but the present nightmare in governance was believed by many Nigerians to have gain grounds due to the president call for SAK voting during the 2015 elections. Many expected a shift from call for SAK voting or even silent on the issue until when the President relaunched this ideology in Bauchi which is likely going to be extended in other campaign rallies for 2019 general elections.

The president was recently reported to have endorsed voting based on credibility and past records, this was however not unconnected with the poor reletionship between the National Assembly and the presidency. Even with the majority, the APC remains voiceless in getting exactly what it wants in the National Assembly. Can voting for SAK make it easy for the president this time around?

Gumau is the present member representing Toro federal constituency in the House of Representative and right man to governor Abubabakar. Many have known him as a silent legislator who hardly talk on the floor of the house though this popular insinuation could hardly influence vote especially  considering  the support he received from the governor and Baba Buhari on last week. The number of votes Mr Gumau will get on August 11th By- election will in extension determined the strength and or weakness of President Buhari’s SAK appeal especially in a state believed to be one of his biggest stronghold.

Ex-governor Yuguda was also screened and cleared by INEC for the senate race, he will be contesting under a new Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), many believed that the party is an underdog party with few members across the state. Malam Isa’s popularity and the human development projects he championed  when he was governor will add value to his contest, he has written his name in gold by executing  many visible project especially in the area of educational development in the state. The performance of a said underdog  party in this contest is important in forecasting the faith of many new parties come 2019 general election. This is also important especially when an important figure identifies with one them.

A veteran journalist com politician and former DG Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria FRCN, Malam Ladan Salihu is another contestant for the Bauchi South Senatorial seat under the PDP. Mr Ladan is to contest under the biggest opposition party in a state with one of the largest supporters of the President. The most interesting part of Malam Ladan Salihu’s contest is that he is the most talk about candidate though from a popular but poorly accepted party in the state. He is the owner of  Alheri Radio and helds from Bauchi central city. Even with the many calls and appeals for electorate not to allow party difference alter  their voting pattern, I don’t think that will help the PDP to regain its momentum especially in the North. The support  for Buhari cannot be easily wiped away from the heart of many Northerners; it’s  for better and for worse and I don’t expect any miracle that could change this ideology in a short time. Many people who have identified with Ladan are not comfortable with his party platform even with his high sense of credibility and popularity.

Barr Hussaini Umar is contesting under the New Nigerian Peoples Party, the fastest growing opposition party in Bauchi. NNPP might be an underdog party elsewhere but never in Bauchi.Hussaini helds from Toro LGA same local government with Gumau- The President’s candidate.  The leadership of NNPP in Bauchi have sufficiently labored and took the party to all the nooks and crannies of the state, it has strong momentum and popularity to win an election. Nevertheless, how Hussaini will generate votes under a baby party they brought, nursed and labored for in a state where the president has many supporters is a moment one can wait to see.

Hon Maryam Begel is the only female contestant in the race, a member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly and a close ally to speaker Dogara. Mrs Maryam pitch tent with the SDP and subsequently became the partys candidate against DR Aliyu Tilde, Begel enjoys huge support from the women electorate. Until her decamp to the SDP she belongs to the camp of  Speaker Dogara and always in brouhaha with the state government. With the growing popularity of her party many will expect to see how far the party can go in a tight contest like this one.

Abdulmajid Lawan Sani Waziri is a Political Analyst based in Jos.

abdulmajidlawan@gmail.com

08133124313

Acting President Osinbajo Has All The Powers To Fire DSS DG, By Nathaniel Adoji

For those asking if Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has the powers to fire the DG DSS, Lawal Daura, the answer is YES, HE CAN!

Days before President Buhari embarked on his 10-day vacation, he wrote the National Assembly and categorically informed them as he is expected to do constitutionally, that Vice President Osinbajo will assume the role of Acting President.

An Acting President has ALL the powers of the President. Thus he can hire and fire as much as the President can. The provisions of Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution make this clear when it says the Vice President as Acting President shall discharge all the functions of the President. The power of ‘hire and fire’ is undoubtedly one of such functions.

Those who know the duo of President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo, you would admit that they always work together on everything. Thus it would be fair to conclude that the Vice President consulted with his boss before taking this key decision that many Nigerians are applauding.

And even if he did not, he has all constitutional powers to do so!

Nathaniel C. Adoji

The Anti-Corruption Fight Of The APC Administration, By M. Abdullahi

It is common knowledge that the present administration rode on to power on the three cardinal promises made by the then presidential aspirant; fighting corruption, improving the security and rejuvenating the economy. ‘
With merely months before another round of campaigning and seeking for votes before general elections hold come February, it is only natural that the polity be heated and intensified. Having recently spent three years at the helm of affairs, much criticism has been garnered on the way the government have delivered on their key promises. While no doubt the Boko Haram have been drastically combatted, numerous security threats have manifested in many states of Zamfara, Benue, Kaduna, Taraba and Plateau.
The Herdsman-Farmer clashes, The Bandits in Zamfara, the kidnappers in Kaduna and other agitators still pose a challenge. The way the FG handled the economy amidst recession and inflation and dwindling oil prices has generated lot of outcry. Perhaps this is best left for the economists. The anti-corruption campaign has also been described as a charade, selective and witch hunting the opposition while those close to the seat of power remain free.
Whether or not the fight is selective, I am of the opinion that successes have been achieved so far. From the implementation of the TSA, purge of numerous ghost workers, The BVN policy, Repatriation of looted funds, Discovery of stolen funds and prosecution of high placed individuals, it is without a doubt that successes have been achieved. However, that does not mean more cannot be done. The assumed shielding of close associates of the president, the pursue of an anticorruption campaign devoid of favoritism and not targeted at a few individuals, the enactment of laws that would help in fighting corruption, massive awareness and sensitization, much more is left to be done.
To borrow from the words of former Finance minister Ngozi Okonja Iwella, fighting corruption is dangerous in Nigeria. Not only is it dangerous, it is also an extremely arduous and heinous task that can only be pursued relentlessly by a few zealous individuals. Ours is a country that corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of, and has cantankerously damaged and became enmeshed into our normal lives. A fight against such enemy whom many may refer to as our single greatest enemy since independence needs not be magnanimous only, but also needs all available hands, resources and help on the deck. The various actors all need chip in, to combat such a disaster, from the Executives, the judiciary, legislature, Civil societies, Civil servants, The media and the general populace at large. Unfortunately, not all hands are om deck.
To adequately fight corruption, we need need Laws are needed to not only prosecute guilty offenders but also to assist in repatriation of stolen funds. Even though the national assembly has passed the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters bill and the whistle blower bill, other equally important bills such as the mutual assistance bill or the other have been languishing in the national assembly since 2017.
Many have been quick to observe that the national assembly have not been in tandem with nor a dependent ally in the anti-corruption fight of the president largely due to the non-confirmation and rejection of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the nation’s top anticorruption czar along other reasons. One of those who held such views include PACAC, the advisory body to the president on corruption and the Attorney general of the federation It is somehow ironic that those who are fugitives and offenders of the law as is evident in the upper legislative house are relied upon to pass such anticorruption bills. For the fight against corruption to be successful, the leadership of both houses as well as the entire body be equally in support of the campaign and be a valuable ally.
The judiciary is another important ally, being the one who uphold the laws. Despite the fact that a little headway has been made with regards to the fight, as evident in the sentence of two former governors to 14 years’ imprisonment each for corruption and money laundering, much is needed to be done. The directive of the Chief justice to all courts to operate special cases against corruption pending the time it becomes a law in the national assembly is also a welcome development. Many cases have been stalled in courts for years, some as much as 11 years and are being continuously delayed on flimsy excuses. Such should not be tolerated; corruption cases should be trialed within a stipulated time. Investigations should also be carried out to ascertain why fewer convictions have been garnered in courts. The welfare and salary packages of the judges also need to be reviewed, and any judge found wanting of abuse of abuse should be promptly dismissed and be prosecuted as appropriately. The DSS raid on the home of some judges late 2016 was a bad way to go about it.
While the limelight is shone more on government officials and appointees, another critical area is being neglected; the civil service. The corruption, scams, inflation of contracts, ghost workers, demands of kickbacks and ‘the 10% rule’ going on in the nation’s and state civil service is perhaps greater than the sins committed by elected officials. The classical case of Maina, the retired director who was adjudged to have looted billions of pension funds is a case to look further into. The government’s handing of the situation is also below par.
While much has been done to purge the civil service of ghost workers by implementing the IPPS thereby saving the nation billions, much can still be done to fish out the culprits. A thorough review, reform and audit of the various MDAs and parastatals of the government under a fearless Head of service bent on ridding the service of corrupt practices need to be done, with all those found guilty of wrongdoing be made to face the consequences. All being said, perhaps only a purge of the civil service akin to that of the General Murtala led regime may prove effective in remedying the mess.
While much has been done to “fight” corruption, less has been done to “cure” it. The numerous reforms and measures have so far been targeted at fighting corrupt individuals while the system has very much remains the same. Even if we succeed in convicting those accused, without adequately understanding the genesis and the roots of the problem, others would spring forth. Corruption has become one of our national habits and can be found in all facets of our life, from the top echelons of government, our civil service, government appointees to our institutions, private organizations down to the market woman waiting to dupe an unsuspecting customer. It is safe to say corruption is institutionalized.
Though people engage in corrupt practice for variety of reasons, abject poverty, unemployment and avarice can be alluded to be the most common causes.  Some however get involved in shady practices simply to get their slash of the national cake. It is simply our own way of living; our trait. As such curing it would involve the use of all the diagnostic tools at our disposal and would not be easy.
The government should focus on poverty alleviation and provision of employment to our teeming population. Those at the helm of affairs should also distance their selves from corrupt practices and individuals.  Also, corrupt persons should be made to suffer the consequences of their actions, which also means strengthening our institutions to ensure efficient justice delivery.  Perhaps we can take a cue from China and establish death sentence on theft of government funds above say, a billion naira. This could serve as deterrent to others toying with the idea.
Most importantly, sensitization workshops, colloquiums and massive awareness campaigns should be made a priority, especially among the youths. The change begins with me, which was launched amidst much fanfare and jamboree should be revived to employ the use of artists, filmmakers, entertainers and athletes to help propagate the negative effects of corruption on our nation and why it should be shunned. The ministry of education, specifically the NERC should help in incorporating studies of corruption in syllabus of our primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
The media and civil societies and organizations also have important roles in curbing this menace. Most importantly, we must all join hands in not only condemning but also shunning and avoiding acts of what perhaps is the greatest calamity to have befallen us as a nation. As President Muhammadu Buhari aptly said; “if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us”.
M.A Abdullahi

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