The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) yesterday said the challenges of governance in the recent time have kept the nation drifting aimlessly and in danger of being shipwrecked if some measures are not immediately put in place to arrest the situation.
Daudu said it is a popular demand for the 2011 election timetable to shift from January to April 2011, but such a change equally has its consequences. In other words, the election petitions would not be filed before state governors and the president are sworn in into office which was the main reason for amendment of the 1999 constitutiton.
The legal body said the huge failure of the amended constition despite the nation’s tax payers’ billions of naira expended on it could have been avoided if NBA and other civil society groups were involved or consulted.
“The National Assembly appears to have forgotten that achieving legitimacy and acceptability of the entire electoral process requires adequate and appropriate consultation with all levels of civil society. It is not sufficient to assume that the members of parliament speak for all Nigerians, this is especially so when there is a confidence crisis between the electorate and elected.
The Federal Government ought not to have gazzetted the controversial amended constitution since many court actions have been filed against it.
“It should be noted that the constitutionality of the amended constition is presently being challenged in Federal High Court. The latest submission of bills by the presidency to the National Assembly for the further amendment of a number of constitutional provisions is being carried out in total disregard of the matter before the court. For an administration that seeks to achieve respect for the courts, this is a major short coming.” NBA said.
He said the appellate court can only boast of 70 justices and it would be ill-conceivable that they would be enough to handle election petitions from the 36 states, assuming there would be 3 justices handling state governorship petitions.
The Nigerian Bar Assocation said from all indications, the law and order in Abia State have totally broken down. They added that state of emergency had been declared in a situaion for less than what is available in Abia State in the past and wonders whose interest is the present conditon is serving in that state .
The banks, courts and several government establishments have been closed down, which if it is not nailed could extend to other states in no distant time, the body added.
On the recent kidnapping of school children in the East, the NBA said the situation has brought to the fore the dire state of policing in Nigeria and the continuous failure of our criminal justice system.
“President Goodluck Jonathan’s instruction to police to arrest the kidnappers is an indication of a tragic underappreciation of the challenges of policing and the dire state of the criminal justice system”, he said.
To this end, NBA head said it is now relevant for the introduction of state police for adequate policing of the country.
NBA also adviced President Jonathan to transform the Nigeria police into a true public servant.