Breaking News
Translate

Counsel Corner: Can government be sued over people’s welfare?

Kindly Share This Story:

With Dayo Benson

I really want to know if any action can be instituted against the government to compel it to cater for people’s welfare? I ask this question because recent developments in the country seem to suggest that this democracy is not for the generality of the people, but only for the ruling elite. For example, some state governors are not willing to pay the new minimum wage which has now become law. They have asked the federal government to remove fuel subsidy if the new minimum wage has to be paid.

This is certainly not in the interest of the people. Also, from July 1st electricity tariff will go up despite persistent darkness Nigerians are being subjected to. The question one may ask is why hike the tariff when power supply is still epileptic? So, are people going to be paying more for improved power supply or longer hours of darkness? Amid all these, our lawmakers are earning jumbo pay when millions of Nigerians are suffering.

As if this is not enough, President Goodluck Jonathan is planning to create more ministries so that every state will have ministers of equal status.

The implication of this is that government recurrent expenditure will leap sky-word while capital expenditure for development will further slump. So, I ask the question again, can any legal action be taken against this government on this issue?

–Samuel, Abuja.

There is no doubt that people’s welfare is the fundamental objective of government. That is where democracy derived its widely accepted definition as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. What this definition implies is that the essence of democracy is about the people.

Specifically. S. 14 (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended provides that the security and welfare of the people shall be the government’s objective. According to the Section, (a) sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through its Constitution derives all its powers and authority; (b) the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government: and the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

Additionally, the issue of people’s welfare is further provided for in other sections of chapter two of the Constitution which deals with fundamental objectives and directives principles of state policy. Such provisions are found in S.13, S16 (1) and (2) (a), S.16 (2) (a) and (b).S. 17 (a) © (d) and (f) and S. 18 (1).

According to the sections. 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. 13.

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. (a) sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through its Constitution derives all its powers and authority;  (b) the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government: and (c) the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. 16.-(1)

The State shall, within the context of the ideals and objectives for which provisions are made in this Constitution – adequate medical and health facilities for a persons; (a) children, young persons and the aged are protect against any exploitation whatsoever, and against moral  material neglect; d, a dynamic and self-reliant economy; (b) .control the nationa1 economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of  (c) the health, safety .and welfare of all persons i employment are safeguarded and not endangered or a.-(1) Government sh(a) harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an there are adequate medical and health facilities for a persons;     (f) children, young persons and the aged are protect against any exploitation whatsoever, and against moral  material neglect; 18.-(1) Government shall direct its policy towards ensure that there are equal and adequate   educational opportunities at all levels.  Government shall promote science and technology.

Regrettably however, these provisions of the constitution are not justiciable.That is, they cannot be enforced by court of law even the government fails to comply with the provisions despite the letters and spirit of S.13.

So, a direct answer to your question is that no action can be taken against the government even if it neglects the people’s welfare.

But this situation may change if a subsisting class action filed by former NBA president Mr. Olisa Agbakoba against the Federal Government succeeds. The suit which is pending before a Federal High Court in Enugu was filed by Mr. Agbakoba on behalf of himself and the South-East geo-political zone over alleged neglect of the area and its subjection to inequitable share of the nation’s resources over the years.

Kindly Share This Story:
All rights reserved. This material and any other digital content on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from VANGUARD NEWS.

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!