By Abayomi Adeshida, Abuja
The President of the Senate, Alhaji Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has been urged to activate the constitutional powers through the special intervention by the Senate President and the House Committee on disabilities to prevent a leadership crisis that is brewing in the Nigerian Disability Commission to prevent erosion of the legacy which took over two decades to achieve for the disability community in Nigeria.
These were contained in a statement that was widely circulated in the media and signed by the President, President Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International, Inc, Chief Eric Ufom.
In the statement which was done for a non-profit body based in Houston, Texas, Chief Ufom reasoned that unless the leadership of the legislative arm of government takes wade into the crises once and for all, and acts through the special intervention, ” the implementation of the laws that established the Commission would take off on a wrong footing and once the foundation is faulty, the builder is wasting his efforts.
“The law that established the Commission had envisaged this type of crises and has made provisions for what to do by the National Assembly once the situation arises.
“Section 37 of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 (Nigerians with Disabilities Act (NDA)) Mandated the Nigerian National Disability Commission to be Managed as an Independent Implementation Commission by the General Council Members.
” It took us 20+ years-long journeys, crawling, walking, and running through very rough roads and forests, and full of man-made barriers and taps set up by our members, fighting, advocating and negotiating with different National Assembly members and Federal Republic of Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo, Late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua, President Goodluck Jonathan and now President Mohammadu Buhari, to finally arrive at the promised land, the Nigerians with Disability Act (NDA) and its Independent, Implementations, National Disability Rights Commission.
” That long journey took us those 20+ years not because of Government, but because of some of our very selfish, greedy, unprofessional, unethical, immoral, power-drunks and overzealous, fake disability leaders, who work for the Government sabotaging our every move just to be recognized and rewarded with POTIONS or APPOINTMENTS.
“Unfortunately, today, per the ongoing, endemic corruptions, Insecurity, Terrorism, Banditry, Kidnapping, irreconcilable community disputes, etc…, they equally sabotaged the Federal Republic of Nigeria, HE President Muhamadu Buhari’s mission, vision and goals.
“It is sad and unfortunate that today, same fake disability leaders are fully back inside the National Disability Commission to sabotage its progress and INDEPENDENT implementations as mandated by the National Assembly on Section 37 and we will never, ever allow any of them at anywhere near the Commission.
“Constitutional Powers vested on members of the National Assembly to directly implement and domesticate Every International Treaties in Nigeria, under the UN Charter and its Treaty Agreements signed and ratified by Nigeria on October 7, 1960, clearly stated bellow, an event the President of Nigeria, has no constitutional or legal power to change what members of the National Assembly make or do for the Commission.
“Please note that our members in the National Assembly did not exceed their legal authorities, under the Nigerian Constitution, UN Charter and its Treaty Agreement on the UN Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), to enact, vote and pass into law, the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act into law in 2018, with the intents that their Mandates on the Seven members of the General Council, led by the Hon. Dr Hussaini Suleiman Kangiwa, Chairman be unconstitutionally, unethically, immorally and fraudulently, be changed by Mr James Lalu, as they clearly EMPOWERED only the General Council members on, PART VII — ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES; Section 37.
“It was clearly stated that Council Shall have Power to; Manage and superintend over the affairs of the Commission and Make Rules and Regulations for the Effective Running of the Commission.
“The aforementioned does not empower, the Executive Secretary, Mr. James Lalu to make rules for the General Council members, nor manage, nor employ anybody, nor assemble those who will serve his selfish purposes.
“It gave such powers to ONLY the General Council members, led by the Chairman, Hon. Dr Hussaini Suleiman Kanagawa.
“Also, Section 37 of the Nigerians with Disabilities Act (NDA) became valid, arguable and verifiable evidence showing that members of the National Assembly did not exceed their legal authorities, under the Nigerian Constitution, UN Charter and its Treaty Agreement on the UN Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), to enact, vote and pass into law, the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act into law in 2018, to mandate the General Council members, led by the Hon. Dr Hussaini Suleiman Kangiwa, Chairman, to be completely INDEPENDENT in their day-to-day, managing and running of the affairs of the National Disabilities Rights Commission, without any direct or indirect interference by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Developments.
“Quoting one of our Nigerian Legal experts on Implementation and Domestications of International Treaties in Nigeria, BARR. OKEKE & ANUSHIEM, LL.B, BL, LL.M, who is a Private Legal Practitioner, in his publication titled, “Implementation of Treaties in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and the Way Forward,” ABSTRACT he clearly described powers vested on the National Assembly, indirectly implementing and domesticating International Treaties;
“The Role of the National Assembly in the Implementation of Treaties in Nigeria The role of the National Assembly in the domestication of treaties in Nigeria is not only primary but also exclusive. Thus, section 12 (1) of the 1999 Constitution provides that ‘no treaty between the Federation and any other country shall have the force of law [in Nigeria] except to the extent to which any such treaty has been enacted into law by the National Assembly.’ This section makes it very clear that the National Assembly is the only legitimate organ of government that is responsible for implementing treaties in Nigeria.
The logic behind this provision is not far-fetched: the National Assembly is the only entity empowered by the Constitution to make laws on behalf of the Federal Government. Of course, it would amount to usurpation of the legislative powers of the National Assembly if a treaty that is made by the executive is allowed to have the force of law in Nigeria without the intervention of the National Assembly.
Thus, it was once observed that ‘law-making power is given to the Legislature, not to the Executive. Accordingly, the signing of a treaty by the Executive cannot promulgate the law.’;
“The power of the National Assembly to enact laws for the purpose of implementing treaties is not limited to matters under the Exclusive Legislative List and Concurrent Legislative List, but also extends to matters under the residual list. Hence, section 12 (2) of the 1999 Constitution provides that “[t]he National Assembly may make laws for the Federation or any part thereof with respect to matters not included in the Exclusive Legislative List for the purpose of implementing a treaty.”
“This subsection specifically empowers the National Assembly to make laws for the Federation or any part thereof with respect to matters in the Concurrent Legislative List and residual matters for the purpose of implementing a treaty. It is, however, our view that this subsection is a mere surplusage as regards matters included in the Concurrent Legislative List because section 4 (4) (a) of the Constitution has already empowered the National Assembly to make laws with respect to matters included in the Concurrent Legislative List.
It would have sufficed if the National Assembly was empowered by the said section 12 (2) to make laws with respect to matters not included in the Exclusive Legislative List and Concurrent Legislative List. This was in fact the case under the 1963 Constitutions which empowered the Parliament to make laws for the Federation or any part thereof with respect to matters not included in the Exclusive Legislative List and Concurrent Legislative List for purposes of implementing treaties;
“The process of enacting a treaty into law in Nigeria by the National Assembly is in pari materia with the process of enacting an ordinary bill into law.26 However, a bill for an Act of the National Assembly for purposes of implementing a treaty with respect to matters outside the Exclusive Legislative List shall not be presented to the President for assent.27 It is not very clear why this provision is limited to bills involving matters outside the Exclusive Legislative List. It is submitted that all bills for Acts of the National Assembly for purposes of implementing treaties shall not be presented to the President for assent, because those treaties were ab initio signed and ratified by the Executive arm of Government which is headed by the President himself.”
” Therefore, per the aforementioned, It is our duties to make sure that all that we say are truths derived from valid, arguable and verifiable EVIDENCE-BASED information, so that our younger leaders and Disability Civil Rights Activists/Advocates and Journalists, can on time, start learning of how to take over from u, ” Chief Eric Ndubueze Ufom, stated.