A pro-democracy group, Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), has expressed concern over the threat to impose emergency rule in Anambra State over rising insecurity and the agitation for secession in the entire southeast region.
In a release jointly signed by its Executive Director, Nelson Nnanna-Nwafor, and Head Corporate Accountability and Human Rights Enforcement, Barrister Akande Femisi, and made available to DAILY POST, on Sunday, FENRAD called for a regional dialogue involving all the political gladiators and stakeholders, governors, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, faith-based and cultural leaders in southeast and Anambra State to see all parties commit to peace in every election.
The rights group stated that the security situation in Anambra is worrisome and does not require an emergency rule to end in the state and entire southeast zone.
FENRAD lamented that Anambra has witnessed threats to life and killings in the last two weeks, the most worrisome being that of Dr. Chike Akunyili at Nkpoor, and also regretted that police and other security agencies had come under heavy attack in recent times with lives of personnel lost.
The organization told the Federal Government that Anambra or any state and part of the geopolitical zone is not due for emergency declaration as the chief law officer of the federation seemed to have implied, urging the government to declare a state of emergency in the northern region to quell the killing of innocent citizens by Boko Haram, bandits, kidnappers, and killer herdsmen.
On Operation Golden Dawn recently launched by the Nigerian Army to boost national security all over the nation, FENRAD, warned the army that the rights and businesses of the citizens must not be infringed upon in Anambra State and the whole of the region.
According to the group, “There is now, therefore, a crying need to ensure that activities of unknown gunmen are unravelled and peace restored in the region. Nothing should be done to infringe on the rights of citizens and businesses in the state and region. This is so because Operation Python Dance which enforcement came with violations and infringements is still fresh in the memory of citizens and residents of the region, a horrible lived experience”.
Parts of the release stated, “the Foundation also understands that given the timing of the Anambra election, considering the security situation in the Southeast following air raids by Nigeria Air Force, NAF at Orlu, Imo State, in search of ESN operatives and hideouts, and given also an earlier threat of election boycott by IPOB only recently said to have been relaxed by the separatists themselves, the Anambra polity, just like that of the Southeast and the entire federation is politically charged and tensed. There is a palpable fear among the electorate given how the sit-at-home order has been observed where properties and businesses became targets of arsonists masquerading as enforcers. The situation requires confidence-building than bringing the state under any martial law or military jackboot in the name of emergency. This is what FENRAD wishes to address together with all the recent happenings in the state and region; the latest being Malami’s statement.
“There are constitutional requirements under which emergency could be declared, and section 305, subsections 1 to 6 (Sec. 305, (1)-(6)) are not silent about this. According to the section and subsections under review, the governor shall write to the president who is the commander-in-chief, after the State House of Assembly of the affected state has voted for such move with a two-thirds majority, that the situation existing in the state requires emergency rule (see subsection 4 of the same section 305 under review for further clarification). Again, in subsection 3 of Section 305 (305(3)), only when there is invasion, war, breakdown of public peace and safety shall the president transmit a gazette to the National Assembly to the effect that emergency is to be declared in the federation or part/s thereof and whereupon the National Assembly shall, with two-thirds majority votes, pass a resolution to that effect.
“In all of this, Malami’s office was never contemplated in the 1999 constitution, as amended, when it has to do with emergency rule! Why is Malami who is not the national security adviser suggesting a would-be emergency in Anambra? From where is he deriving such powers? Is the security threat in Anambra worse than that in Kebbi, Jigawa, Borno, Plateau, and Kaduna states? Or is the same worse than Katsina, the home state of President Buhari himself where students and minors had been abducted with reckless abandon and where it is alleged that ransom is being paid bandits to ensure release?”
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