A group of Nigerians led by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has said that the recommendations reached at the end of the 2014 National Conference are unrealistic and cannot be holistically implemented as clamoured for in some quarters.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the group said that an enforcement of the fundamental objectives enshrined in Chapter 2 of the Nigerian Constitution would foster national unity.
“On the latest agitation for restructuring of the country that has gained so much debate, from even least expected quarters and dominating the media, it is our respected submission that the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference cannot be wholly adopted due to their unrealistic propositions,” the group stated.
“Whereas the country is unsuccessfully grappling with 36 non-viable states as federating units, the Conference recommended 54 states for the country.
“However, the most important recommendation adopted at the Conference is that the fundamental objectives enshrined in Chapter 2 of the Constitution be made justiciable.
“We wish to emphasise that where education and health are made accessible to all citizens, a living minimum wage is paid as and when due, unemployment benefits and pension are paid promptly, housing is provided for all, the right of citizens to live peacefully in any part of the country is guaranteed as envisaged by chapter 2 of the Constitution the threats to national unity will disappear.”
The statement was signed by Mr. Falana, who was a part of the Conference; Jibrin Ibrahim; Lanre Suraj; Anwal Musa Rafsanjani; and Y. Z. Yau.
Others include Idayat Hassan; Ezenwa Nwagwu; David Ugolor; and Chris Kwaja.
The group described as “self-serving” the decision of the National Assembly to alter parts of the 2017 budget which had led to the face-off between the lawmakers and Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works, and Housing.
“However, since neither the amended 1999 Constitution nor the Fiscal Responsibility Act has empowered the National Assembly to increase the national budget through the insertion of constituency projects and other items in the course of debating the Appropriation Bill, we call on the Executive to approach the Supreme Court for the interpretation of the provisions of the relevant laws.
“The interpretation cannot afford to wait as the 2018 Appropriation Bill will soon be prepared and laid before the Joint Session of National Assembly by the President.”
On the decision of the Senate to suspend further confirmation of appointment by the Executive arm until Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is removed; the group advised the executive to seek a judicial resolution of the stalemate.
“Meanwhile, we assert that the Senate cannot annul his acting appointment, since his appointment was without consultation or confirmation from the Senate,” the group said.
“The second resolution was in reaction to the moves by the electorate in the Kogi State West senatorial district to recall Senator Dino Melaye from the Senate.
“While questioning the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission to attend to the demand of the electorate the Senate threatened to frustrate the move to recall the Senator.
“Since Senator Melaye has approached the Federal High Court for legal redress the Senate should not have discussed the case as it is sub judice in line with its Rules of Procedure.”