AYODELE ADEGBUYI faults some of the resolutions usually made by the Lower Chamber, saying they are mostly non-implementable
The House of Representatives last week passed a resolution calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately relocate the headquarters of the Nigerian Army to Maiduguri. In its view, this would enable the Chief of Army Staff to not only have a first-hand touch with the reality on ground but also the opportunity to devise ways of properly tackling the matter.
The lower chamber said it was worried by the series of attacks resulting in the loss of scores of lives in Borno State. The resolution followed the adoption of a motion moved by Peter Biye Guntha (APC, Borno). The House also called on the Nigerian military to provide additional personnel to strategic areas in some parts of the villages affected so that security could be strengthened in the areas.
Guntha in his motion, expressed concern that apart from the people and the soldiers killed in Izge village, several others lost their lives in Gavva West and East local governments, while 150 houses were burnt.
Further recalling the losses of previous attacks, Guntha said “In Ngoshe town, 46 people were killed, while 30 houses were razed down; 7 people were killed in Hambaged and about 140 cattle were taken away.”
“In Chinene village, seven people were killed and also Krawa town, 20 people were slaughtered and 20 shops razed down. Emir of Gwoza’s house at Jaje village was razed with property and food stuffs worth millions of Naira destroyed. Several houses in Juba village and places of worship were razed down with property worth millions of Naira destroyed,” he said.
The lawmaker said 10 people were also killed in Wala ‘A’ and three people in Wala ‘B’, adding that many cattle were taken away during an attack on the two villages. In Ndufa village, six deaths were recorded and 120 cattle taken away, while in Pulka town, one person was killed and eight people were abducted. In Ngoshe Sama village, 18 people were killed and 80 houses razed, and 150 cattle taken away. A total of about 120 places of worship were destroyed by the gunmen from December, 2013 to February, 2014, including churches and mosques,” he added.
In his contribution, Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno), said the insurgents appeared to be more equipped than the military personnel handling the crisis, while his colleague Titsi Ganama (PDP, Adamawa), stressed the need for government to, as a matter of urgency tackle insurgency as it was getting out of hand.
But beautiful as this motion appears, can President Gooduck Jonathan by a mere stroke of the pen relocate the Army Headquarters from Abuja, the seat of the Government of Nigeria.? This is why some of the House resolutions are simply ignored by the President.
Without playing to the gallery, the Green Chamber ought to have asked the President to strengthen the Army base in Borno and other North Eastern states. If the Army Headquarters is moved to Borno, where will Jonathan who is the Commander-in -Chief be? For such an important organ to be relocated, it can’t be by a mere resolution. Can the President afford to allow the Nigerian Army to be relocated to such a distance in an uncertain state of affairs? What of the logistic and financial implication of this relocation? Would the Air force Headquarters not also be relocated since the war against insurgents is being fought by both the Army and Air force. Anyway, the House hit the headlines the following day by this resolution. This, of course was part of what the motion was designed to achieve. This will also be included in the pile of resolutions gathering dust at the villa.
In another development, the House last Thursday declared illegal and unconstitutional the suspension of the Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. The House also mandated its standing Committee on Legislative Compliance to compile all resolutions of the House which indicted any public officer and which President Jonathan has refused to comply , and therefore requested him to act expeditiously. The decision followed a motion on urgent public Importance calling the attention of the House to the suspension of Sanusi.
The motion was moved by Samson Osagie (Edo, APC). Moving the motion, Osagie noted that the CBN Act 2007 as amended does not have provisions empowering the President or anybody to suspend the CBN Governor “Only section 11 (f) of the Act gives the President powers to remove the CBN Governor subject to approval of 2/3 majority of the Senate,” the lawmaker submitted.
He expressed concern that the suspension was coming at a time the CBN Governor had made the unresolved allegations of some missing funds unremitted into the Federation Accounts.
He noted that the allegation of recklessness by the financial reporting council upon which he was suspended did not indicate whether Sanusi was given fair hearing in accordance with the constitution.
Continuing he said, “the fact that the National Assembly has made numerous resolutions bordering on corruption against certain officers for which the President has refused to act. In a democracy, the rule of law and not the rue of man is the only condition that can guarantee freedom, protect the rights of the citizen and remove impunity.”
Faulting Osagie through a point of order, another lawmaker, Raphael Igbokwe (PDP, Imo) cited section 11 (f) of CBN Act. He noted that the Act did not make any provision for suspension, adding that the president has not violated the act.
He explained that Osagie’s motion was misplaced because CBN was bound by civil service rules and if any public officer is found wanting, he should be sanctioned in accordance with that rule, and cautioned the House against dabbling in what he called purely executive affairs .
Corroborating his position, Deputy Leader, Leo Ogor who spoke amid shout of no! no! from APC members, said the subject matter was serious, adding that the President was acting in line with section 11 of the constitution.
Speaking on the issue after the plenary session, the House spokesperson, Zakari Mohammed said the House became concerned because Sanusi’s suspension could make investors develop goose pimples. “We are all concern about what the international community will say. The CBN Act did not envisaged suspension. The matter raises question because of the timing,” he said.
The concept of theory of Separation of Power propounded by a French thinker John Montesquieu in 1747 is to the effect that the three organs of government must act separately to prevent collision or arbitrariness. In that context, the legislature will make law, the executive will implement the law while the Judiciary interprets the law.
In the case in point, the CBN Act is an Act of the National Assembly. If in implementing the law, Jonathan committed an infringement by suspending Sanusi, it is believed that the appropriate organ to declare the action illegal, unconstitutional null and void is the Judiciary.
This is why some are of the opinion that if the lawmakers feel so strongly about it, it should approach the Apex Court for interpretation. This will not only strengthen the jurisprudence, but also help Jonathan or anyone coming after him to apply caution and obey the spirit and the letters of the law in dealing with such a sensitive matter in the nearest future. Making weird resolutions would not help the cause of democracy but rather overheat the system.