ABUJA—THE Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s spending of $496 million on purchase of Tucano jets without National Assembly’s approval as a flagrant violation of the Constitution.
Consequently, the leaders asked the National Assembly to do the needful by sanctioning the President.
The leaders, who endorsed the call by former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma, retd, for Nigerians to defend themselves in the face of killings by herdsmen, said self-defence was the only option left for the people.
They asked the Police Service Commission, PSC, to urgently deploy all Divisional Police Officers, DPOs to their places of origin for a more effective policing, while the country awaits the much desired state police.
The leaders have also warned the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC against plans to create new polling units or voting points at this time as that was capable of bringing contention as well as over heat the polity.
These were part of the resolutions reached at a meeting which held at the Asokoro, Abuja, residence of South South Leader and former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark.
The communique was read at the end of the meeting by the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo.
The Communique was signed by Chief Clark on behalf of Pan Niger Delta, PANDEF; Chief Ayo Adebanjo for Afenifere and Dr. Bala Takaya, President, Middle Belt Forum.
Reading the communique, titled “ Democracy under Serious Threats in Nigeria.” Nwodo said: “It is with shock that we note the flagrant violation of the Constitution by the President by paying a whopping sum of $496 million to the U. S. Government for the purchase of Tucano Aircrafts.
“Section 80 (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution is very clear on how the President could spend Nigerian’s fund. The provision states; “No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.
“As it is, the President has violated the provision of the highest law in the land. Nigeria is a Republic founded on rule of law, where each arm of government is bound to be guided by the dictates of the constitution, this flagrant violation and unapproved spending must be abated as well as sanctioned.
“We therefore call on the National Assembly to do the needful as well as call on the United States Government to return the money paid to its treasury as the money paid is not authorized.
“The unauthorized expenditure by the President came amidst non-fulfillment of legitimate promises to spend money in the Niger Delta for instance to ameliorate environmental degradation, even when Senators are expressing doubts on the transparency and honesty in the disbursement of social security funds. It was this kind of disregard for the Constitution that made Mr. President to approve one billion US Dollars for military expenditure before approaching the National Assembly.”
“We have deemed it very urgent and important to address you on some issues of national importance that pose serious challenges to democratic governance in our dear country Nigeria and threaten the peace, unity and well being of our beloved polity.
“As Nigerian patriots, we believe these issues must be addressed and resolved in order to restore faith in the Nigerian project from all constituent units of the country and preserve democratic governance.
‘“It has come to our attention that former Chief of Army Staff, retired, Lt. Gen. T. Y. Danjuma has come under subtle harassments to his person and Community over his call for Nigerians to defend themselves in the face of failure and unwillingness of the State to protect them.
“We as a group, endorse the call made by Gen. Danjuma as the right call in the face of the mass killings going on in the country. The right to self-defence is guaranteed by the following procedures:
“The right to legitimate self-defence is a fundamental human right. It is a well-established norm in municipal and International Law, that any group of people that faces an existential threat to its very survival has right to legitimate self-defence.
“Section 33 of our 1999 Constitution accords the right to legitimate self-defence as a Constitutional right of all citizens. In the case of the Unites States of America, they have carried it to the extent that the right to self-defence and even pre-emptive self-defence, is a fundamental right of all Americans.
“Natural Law, Just War Theory, and International Law and Ethics, equally recognizes the right of all peoples to defend themselves against violation of their lives and those of their families and Communities. Article 51 of the United Nations Charter authorizes people whose existence is threatened to defend themselves. We, therefore, support General T. Y. Danjuma; he said the obvious.
“Indeed, two illustrious legal luminaries, Professors Itse Sagay and B. O. Nwabueze, have upheld general Danjuma’s assertion on purely legal grounds.