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Nigeria’s rising insecurity & terrorism: between crocodile tears & afflictions

By: Hameed Ajibola Jimoh Esq.

Nigeria’s rising insecurity and terrorism: between crocodile tears and afflictions heightened by stylish denial of guaranteed but unprotected socio-economic rights of citizens

For some years past, terrorism which risks security of Nigeria and her citizens has continued to rise beyond control. A law prohibiting Terrorism was also enacted to curb and punish terrorism and its perpetrators. Then, of recent, other crimes affecting the security of the nation have come to complement terrorism vis-à-vis: kidnapping, rape, armed robbery, bribery and corruption, fraud (of whatever category), etc. The government has been making efforts to eradicate these menaces of insecurity and terrorism but some of the efforts have almost become futile. This paper is of the view that government really needs to really give adequate effects to the provisions in the Chapter II of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)-herein after referred to as the Constitution- on the socio-economic rights of the citizens so that these curbing efforts can be effective, else, it might just be a form of crocodile tears and afflictions heightened by this stylish denial of those guaranteed but unprotected socio-economic rights of the citizens which causes the terrorism and insecurity to befall the country to the effects that it is becoming that there is no single area that is safe and secure.

As an introduction, the Constitution by the Chapter II on FUNDAMENTAL OBJECTIVES AND DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY in section 13 of the Constitution has guaranteed the socio-economic rights of the citizens as contained in the said Chapter and mandates all the arms or organs of government to conform to, observe and apply the provisions thus ‘It shall be the duty and responsibility of all organs of government and of all authorities and persons, exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of this Chapter of this Constitution.’. Very unfortunately, the said socio-economic rights have been left unprotected by virtue of the provisions in section 6(6)(c) of the Constitution which restricts the judicial powers of a court of law to adjudicate on the enforcement of the said socio-economic rights thus (6) The judicial powers vested in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this section— (c) shall not, except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, extend to any issue or question as to whether any act or omission by any authority or person or as to whether any law or any judicial decision is in conformity with the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy set out in Chapter II of this Constitution; …’.  When one considers the socio-economic rights that have been left unprotected but were actually guaranteed, it would show clearly that the law has been made to do injustice to the Nigerian citizens considering the benefits of those socio-economic rights were they to have been enforceable and or implemented by the government, which was in my humble view, a stylish way of taking away by the left hand from the citizens what the rights hand had guaranteed to the citizens which in my humble view, is responsible or is most likely be responsible for the heightened insecurity and terrorism in the country leading to the loss of thousands of lives, destruction of more than billions of naira worth of property, displacement of settlers from their communities and homelessness of some thousands (if not millions) of Nigerian citizens and the destruction of the Nigerian economy and destabilization of government and its policies such becoming a regular and unavoidable afflictions in the land! I therefore humbly recommend the amendment of the said Section 6(6)(c) of the Constitution to give effects and implementation to the impacts of the socio-economic rights of the citizens as a way of eradicating these twin: insecurity and terrorism.

Some of the socio-economic rights as socio-economic rights to: i. democracy; ii. social justice; iii. Security; iv. Welfare; v. participation in the government in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution; vi. the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs to be carried out in such manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies; vii. .the composition of the Government of a State, a Local Government council, or any of the agencies of such Government or council, and the conduct of the affairs of the Government or council or such agencies to be carried out in such manner as to recognise the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the peoples of the Federation; viii. national integration; ix. Freedom from discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties; x. provision of adequate facilities for and encourage free mobility of people, goods and services throughout the Federation ; xi. Security of full residence rights for every citizen in all parts of the Federation; xii. Encouragement of inter-marriage among persons from different places of origin or of different religious, ethnic or linguistic associations or ties ; xiii. promotion or encouragement of the formation of associations that cut across ethnic, linguistic, religious or other sectional barriers; xiv. Fostering of a feeling of belonging and of involvement among the various peoples of the Federation, to the end that loyalty to the nation shall override sectional loyalties. xv. Abolishment of all corrupt practices and abuse of power; xvi. Harnessing the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, a dynamic and self-reliant economy; xvi. control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice, equality of status and opportunity; xvii. without prejudice to its right to operate or participate in areas of the economy, other than the major sectors of the economy, manage and operate the major sectors of the economy; xviii. Protection of the right of every citizen to engage in any economic activities outside the major sectors of the economy without prejudice to the right of any person to participate in areas of the economy within the major sectors of the economy; xix.  Direction of government’s policy towards ensuring— (a) the promotion of a planned and balanced economic development ; (b) that the material resources of the Nation are harnessed and distributed as best as possible to serve the common good ; (c) that the economic system is not operated in such a manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of a few individuals or of a group ; and (d) that suitable and adequate shelter, suitable and adequate food, reasonable national minimum living wage, old age care and pensions, and unemployment, sick benefits and welfare for the disabled are provided for all citizens; xx. setting up  a body by an Act of the National Assembly which shall have power— (a) to review from time to time, the ownership and control of business enterprises operating in Nigeria and make recommendations to the President on same ; and (b) to administer any law for the regulation of the ownership and control of such enterprises. xxi. ideals of Freedom; xxii. Equality; xxiii.Justice; xxiv. equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the law ; xxv. the sanctity of the human person and human dignity; xxvi. humane government’s actions ; non-exploitation of human or natural resources in any form whatsoever for reasons other than the good of the community shall be prevented; xxvii. Security and maintenance of the independence, impartiality and integrity of courts of law, and easy accessibility thereto; xxviii. formulation of policy towards ensuring that— (a) all citizens without discrimination on any group whatsoever, have the opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunities to secure suitable employment ; (b) conditions of work are just and humane, and that there are adequate facilities for leisure and for social, religious and cultural life ; (c) the health, safety and welfare of all persons in employment are safeguarded and not endangered or abused; (d) there are adequate medical and health care facilities for all persons ; (e) there is equal pay for equal work without discrimination on account of sex, or on any other ground whatsoever ; (f) children, young persons, the aged are protected against any exploitation whatsoever, and against moral and material neglect ; (g) provision is made for public assistance in deserving cases or other conditions of need ; and (h) the evolution and promotion of family life is encouraged; xxix. Formulation of policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels; xxx. Promotion of science and technology; xxxi. Eradication of illiteracy; xxxii. provision of: (a) free, cumpulsory and universal primary education ; (b) free secondary education ; (c) free university education ; and (d) free adult literacy programme. Xxxiii. Direction of the foreign policy objectives towards— (a) promotion and protection of the national interest; (b) promotion of African integration and support for African unity; (c) promotion of international cooperation for the consolidation of universal peace and mutual respect among all nations and elimination of discrimination in all its manifestations ; (d) respect for international law and treaty obligations as well as the seeking of settlement of international disputes by negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and adjudication ; and (e) promotion of a just world economic order; xxxiv. Promotion and improvement of the environment and safeguard of the water, air and land, forest and wild life of the country; xxxv. protection, preservation and promotion of the Nigerian cultures which enhance human dignity and are consistent with the fundamental objectives as provided in the said Chapter II of the Constitution; xxxvi. Encouragement of development of technological and scientific studies which enhance cultural values; xxxvii. Freedom of the Press, Radio, Television and other agencies of the mass media to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in the said Chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people; xxxviii. Duties to:  (a) abide by this Constitution, respect its ideals and its institutions, the National Flag, the National Anthem, the National Pledge, and legitimate authorities ; (b) help to enhance the power, prestige and good name of Nigeria, defend Nigeria and render such national service as may be required ; (c) respect the dignity of other citizens and the rights and legitimate interests of others and live in unity and harmony and in the spirit of common brotherhood ; (d) make positive and useful contributions to the advancement, progress and well-being of the community where he resides ; (e) render assistance to appropriate and lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order ; and (f ) declare his income honestly to appropriate and lawful agencies and pay his tax promptly.

Finally therefore, while some of the above listed items are duties of government, others are duties of the citizens while the others are socio-economic rights of the citizens. What this paper considers much more is the duties of the government towards its people and in other words, the socio-economic rights of the citizens, which the government is urged to consider in order to eradicate the twin insecurity and terrorism.

Email: hameed_ajibola@yahoo.com

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