JOINT STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) AND PROTEST TO POWER (P2P) MOVEMENT ON THE AGITATION FOR SEPARATION AND ULTIMATUM FOR CITIZENS TO LEAVE SOME PARTS OF THE COUNTRY
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Protest to Power (P2P) Movement express concern and urge for caution on the on-going agitations by some groups calling for separation from Nigeria and also on those issuing ultimatum to Nigerian citizens to leave some parts of the country.
Section 2(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) clearly states that “Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state…”Furthermore, the Constitution provided in section 41(1) that “every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit thereof…”
Furthermore, relevant international charters, including the UN and African Charters on Human Rights recognise the Right to Self Determination of peoples.
Although the Constitution guarantees Freedom of Expression, however; related experiences both within Nigeria and across the continent have revealed that freedom of expression, if not exercised with caution, occasionally gives room to dangerous speech, which can incite violence and lead to a breach of peace.
Nevertheless neither the Nigerian constitution nor the relevant international charters envisages or encourages the use of force or the resort to violence as a means of realising these rights.
We understand the Constitutional role of the media as the fourth estate of the realm to inform, educate and enlighten citizens on various national and international issues. In this way, they shape public opinion and set agenda for government and their role in this on-going discourse cannot be over emphasized.
While we understand the complexity, dynamism and sensitivity associated with ethno-cultural and religious issues and relations in the country, continuing on the negative side of combative and mutually antagonistic ethnic and religious rhetoric can only breed divisive and dehumanising violent tendencies, which, if left unchecked, can escalate and degenerate into a catastrophic national disintegration.
The history of political corruption and governance in Nigeria is replete with episodes that range from the condemadable to the most absurd. Yet the struggle against corruption and the quest for good governance has been constant, though historically chequered. Our young people have been abandoned without quality of life, no jobs, they can’t afford quality education and entire poor political system that allows incompetent leaders to governance us. Therefore the political class are only interested in looting and misusing the energy of our young people for unproductive issues.
- We call on any groups agitating for division and separation from Nigeria to tread carefully and discontinue unguarded call for provocative agitations utilising increasingly divisive rhetoric or verbal attacks that may further intensify the present tension-soaked moment, and engender the outbreak of violence.
- We equally call on any groups who are opposed to separatist and or self-determination agitations to also desist from using language and taking action capable of provoking violence or violent restributions.
- We call on interest groups across the various divide to shun speeches and statements that are inciting, threatening, divisive and inflammatory; and also capable of jeopardizing the peace, security and general well-being of the entire citizenry.
- We demand strict adherence to and respect for the fundamental human rights of every Nigerian citizen to reside and legally conduct business or commercial activities anywhere in the country.
- We urge relevant authorities to ensure that the fundamental rights of citizens are protected and public order is maintained.
- We urge the media to display high level of nationalism and patriotism and ensure that their reportage place a premium on unity, peace and security of the nation and its citizens.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director, CISLAC
National Coordinator, Protest To Power Movement