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Lawless Bauchi State Assembly

A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person be subjected expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinion are not made subject. – Section 42 (1a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

THE Bauchi State House of Assembly is a creation of Section 90 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Its powers are drawn from the same Constitution.

It is therefore an embarrassment for the Bauchi State House of Assembly to pass a resolution that the State could not guarantee the security of indigenes of Plateau State. This resolution could have been a reaction to the January 10 riots in Jos, but it is inexcusable.
Whatever the intention of that resolution, whatever informed it, it has created more tension between the bordering States. Plateau State indigenes are heeding the resolution; they are leaving Bauchi in their numbers.

The move if it is not condemned and halted has grave implications for all Nigerians. Various communities can borrow from the Bauchi example and expel other Nigerians who are not indigenes of the areas. Does the Bauchi State House of Assembly realise Bauchi indigenes in other parts of Nigeria by the same token could be asked to leave? How can a legislative body make utterances that violate the Constitution that created it?

Section 42(1a) above absolutely condemns all forms of discrimination against Nigerians. It is a part of the Constitution observed thoroughly in breach. Most state government institutions have long established the practice of charging higher school fees for non_indigenes of the State or denying them employment. None, however, has been brazen enough to expel Nigerians from its borders.

The decision of the Bauchi State House of Assembly again runs against Section 41 of the same Constitution which states, “Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereto or exit therefrom”. It is unconscionable that a legislative body can make the decision that issued from Bauchi.

Every member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly swears to the oath in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution with all legislators in Nigeria. Part of that oath pledges “…to perform my duties in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria… and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria…”

Did these legislators forget that Bauchi State is a part of Nigeria? How would their resolution contribute to the well-being of Nigeria?


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