At the meeting of the President-in-Council of Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) held on the 8th day of March, 2018 it was resolved as follows:
NATIONAL DEFENCE AND INTERNAL SECURITY
CLASFON President-in-Council considered the pervasive insecurity and the inaction and apparent indifference of our national defense and internal security forces; as manifest in:-
The escalation of herdsmen and terrorist attacks across certain parts of the country especially in Benue State, Plateau State, Taraba State, Kaduna State, Zamfara State;
The escalating genocidal herdsmen attacks on defenseless, indigenous communities and unabated Boko Haram offensives;
The continued bombings, kidnaps of innocent Nigerians, particularly, the Dapchi School girls and disruption of socio-economic activities in North-East Nigeria;
And notes with dismay;
The tough policy and judicial action of neighboring nations of Niger, Chad and Cameroon, against convicted terrorists, as against the pacifist and ambivalent policy and stance of the Federal government against same; and
The deliberate and conscious exposure of local communities and people by the selective disarming of local vigilantes and the technical displacement of indigenous communities;
And therefore resolved that;
The Federal Government should review its anti-terrorism strategy and harmonize its penal sanctions with those of neighboring States and rescind its pacifist policies towards terrorism and thereby avoid turning Nigeria into a fertile terrorist enclave;
(ii) The National Assembly should review the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2013 with a view to amending it to meet the challenges of national security and to conform to regional security standards;
(iii) The seeming indulgenceof herdsmen terrorists by the Federal Governmentand her apparent reluctanceto apprehend local and trans-national terrorists which has left Nigerian communities vulnerable to unprovokedattacks and invasion is unacceptable and symptomatic of a failed State brought about by political incompetence.
The meeting considered the destruction of farmlands and displacement of farmers and communities across the country resulting in low agricultural yield and induced famine and poverty amongst the people;
And demands that;
The Federal Government which has exclusive authority over defence and internal security matters should stop playing lip-service to the issue of national security and as a matter of urgency, restructure the security architecture and intelligence services to meet the challenges of national security.
The meeting considered the statements credited to the Inspector-General of Police and the Minister of Defense, respectively, with respect to the enforcement of legitimate laws passed by State Houses of Assembly on acts of criminal trespass and mischief by nomadic and transnational herdsmen;
And demands that;
The Federal security authorities should respect the authority of the State Governments to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of their States, enforce those laws and protect the lives and property of ALL Nigerian citizens wherever resident in the country.
The Council observed with utter dismay the high-handedness of the Department of State Security (DSS) operatives in the unlawful, arbitrary arrest and harassment of citizens who express their constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms and the usurpation of Police functions;
That the DSS should devote itself exclusively to the provision of supportive intelligence to defence and internal security agencies and to operate in a manner as to engender national loyalty and thereby promote unity and faith among the diverse Nigerian populace.
B. INTEGRITY OF THE NIGERIAN STATE AND SANCTITY OF THE 1999 CONSTITUTION AND MUNICIPAL LAWS
1. The Council considered the issues of abuse of power, blatant violations of Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) by the unilateral, illegal and unconstitutional establishment and funding of the National Board for Arabic & Islamic Studies, by the Federal Ministry of Education;
And notes that;
The said policy is discriminatory against other faith and seeks to promote and project the Islamic religion as State religion;
Besides its unconstitutionality, the promotion of Arabic language and Arabian cultural values and social etiquettes under the guise of education is unpatriotic and an act of bad faith andcontrary to the intent and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution;
And demands that;
The said National Board for Arabic & Islamic Studiesshould be scrapped and all funds already allocated to it should be retired back to the national treasury while physical structures in place for same be reallocated to constitutionally recognized bodies; and
Calls upon the National Assembly to be awake to its oversight responsibilities to ensure the use of public resources only for the implementation of policies that promote national unity and faith among the diverse peoples of Nigeria.
2. Considering the issue of transnational traffic, extra-judicial killings and abysmal destruction of properties and displacement of communities by herdsmen;
The Council noted as follows:-
– That the primary purpose of the State and its government is the provision and guarantee of enabling environment and conditions for citizens to live, carry on and realize their legitimate aspirations; and
– That Regional protocols, and indeed, principles of International Law, remain inferior to the national Constitutions;
And therefore demands as follows:-
i. That the Customs and Immigration Services of the Nigerian State should rise up to their constitutional and statutory responsibilities in controlling the influx of aliens through our porous borders without proper documentation;
ii. Calls on the Federal Government authorities to review existing strategies and adopt regional best practices of less-endowed nations that have stemmed the tide of insecurity in their nations;
iii. That the authorities of the Nigerian State should eschew acts and policies that seem to relegate matters of security and welfare of Nigerian citizens thereby creating distrust and a sense of insecurity among the populace;
iv. That the elevation of Regional protocols above Municipal laws by the Federal Government, notwithstanding the threat to national security and economic well-being of Nigerian citizens is unpatriotic and is an abdication of duty and negates the essence of good governance.
3. Considering the purported illegal, unconstitutional and unilateral scrapping of the Customary Court of Appeal by the Governor of Nasarawa State and threats by other State Governmentsto do likewise, thePresident-In-Council noted that the Customary Court system, is constitutionally guaranteed for the recognition, preservation and ventilation of matters pertaining to the native laws and customs of citizens and therefore resolved that;
– The decision be rescinded and the State Houses of Assembly should ensure the preservation and adequate funding of the essential Customary Court system.
Dated the 10thday of March, 2018.