Law News
Herdsmen: Lawyers Knock Senators For ‘Politicising Delicate Issues’

LAWYERS yesterday hailed the Senates decision to hold a security summit on insecurity and herdsmen crisis.

They, however, disagreed with the Red Chambers’ calls that Senate President Bukola Saraki should “step in” as President because President Muhammadu Buhari has allegedly failed to adequately address the security challenges.

A Senior Advocate Nigeria (SAN), Norrison Quakers, who warned against politicising the issues, said there were constitutional procedures for removing the President if the lawmakers feel he has failed in his duties.

Another SAN Paul Ananaba advised the senators to close ranks with the executive and find solutions to the killings.

An Abuja-based lawyer, Iheanyi Maraizu, argued that the Federal Government has failed by not guaranteeing security to Nigerians.

Constitutional lawyer Ike Ofuokwu felt the President ought to have declared the marauding herdsmen a terrorist organisation before now.

Quakers said: “It is not enough for the Senate to indict the Presidency. There is a procedure for the removal of a President that is found to be incompetent or has challenges in discharging the duties and responsibilities of his office. I don’t think an issue like this should be sensationalised.

“If the President for any reason can be removed, the National Assembly is vested with the power to so do. How that can be done is clearly provided for in the Constitution. However, what is on ground is such that cannot be politicised.”

The senior advocate urged the President to act fast to forestall a possible civil war.

He said: “A decisive step has to be taken. And it has to be an all-inclusive thing. It’s at a point where it appears that the country is at a boiling point. If not carefully addressed, it could blow up in our faces.

“The so-called civil war that we’re trying to avoid, we might suddenly find ourselves in it. This is not only a regional thing; it has become a national issue. There is likelihood there will be conflict in any area with farmlands.

“So, it’s something that must be addressed before it gets out of hand. The President must take decisive steps, lest he’s seen to be partisan. When there was Hurricane Katrina, the United States (U.S.) President visited those affected.

“It’s important for the President to also come across as someone who is a father to the nation. He said in his inaugural speech that he belongs to everybody. That has to be seen to be done.”

According to Ananaba, the time for the Senate to look for whom to indict cannot be now.

Ananaba, who agreed that “the issue of the herdsmen has become serious and worrisome”, said “this is not the time the senators should be talking of taking over the functions of the executive.”

He said the Constitution was very clear on the separation of powers, adding that the lawmakers should only be concerned with oversight functions.

Ananaba, however, urged heads of security agencies to join forces to bring the matter under control immediately.

Maraizu said the National Assembly has the power to convene the security summit.

He said: “Section 4 (1) of the 1999 Constitution confers legislative powers on the National Assembly. Section 4 (2) provides that they can make laws for the peace, order and good government.”

He, however, said that President Buhari has not been decisive in tackling the problem.

Maraizu said: “I believe that the Federal Government has woefully failed. When the events started unfolding, Benue State Governor Samuel Orthom said they sent distress calls to the Federal Government, and that those calls were ignored. There is no reason the wanton killing should continue up till now.

“Section 14 (2) (b) of the Constitution says that ‘the security and welfare of the people shall the primary purpose of government’.

“Therefore, any government that cannot guarantee the security of its people is a failure and has no business being in power. So, the Senate can proceed from there.”

Aligning with the Senate’s constitutional purview to intervene, Ofuokwu said the lawmakers should make the right call, which “is to demand that the herdsmen be declared a terrorist group.”

“If truth be told, the Senate is being economical with the truth. Isn’t it shocking that the Senate and the executive continue to talk about herdsmen and farmers’ ‘clashes’? Which farmer has ever ‘clashed’ with a herdsman?”

By: Adebisi Onanuga, Joseph Jibueze and Robert Egbe
The Nation News