The Senate on Tuesday deferred a motion that chronicled the alleged human rights abuses and disregard for the rule of law by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and Federal Government agencies.
The motion, entitled ‘Alarming Rise in Cases of Alleged Human Rights Violations and Consistent Assault on the Provisions of the 1999 Constitution by the Executive,’ was to be moved by Senator David Umaru (APC, Niger-East).
It was listed as the second agenda on the Order Paper on Tuesday.
The Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, who coordinated legislative activities at the plenary asked that the motion be deferred till another legislative day.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session, put it to a voice vote and the bill’s suspension was unanimously approved.
If the motion was moved and adopted by the Senate as planned, the lawmakers would have asked the Buhari-led administration to explain the continued detention of a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), despite different court orders and bails granted him.
Sambo is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for alleged diversion of $2.1bn to the electioneering of the Peoples Democratic Party and the then President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the 2015 elections.
Another issue raised in the motion is the onslaught by security agencies on members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, also known as Shi’ites, as well as the continued detention of the leader of the sect, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaki, despite the bail granted him by a court.
The motion also queried the “questionable circumstances” surrounding the arrest and five-day detention of Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe by the Department of State Services.
Also raised was the issue of the Executive Order signed by the President last week, which empowered security and anti-corruption agencies to freeze assets suspected to be proceeds of corruption.
The motion read in part, “The Senate is concerned that in the last few years, Nigeria’s democratic credentials have become questionable as a result of the alarming cases of alleged state-inspired human rights violations and consistent constitutional infractions perpetrated by agencies of government;
“The Senate is alarmed that in the recent past, allegations abound that the executive has not only consistently violated the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens, particularly the rights to dignity of human person and right to personal liberty as guaranteed respectively under sections 34 and 35 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, but also infringed on the constitution in several ways.
“Notable instances of such human rights violations are well documented by the Human Rights Watch and other reputable human rights organisations, and they include the continuous detention of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), for over two years in total disregard for over four court orders, including that of the ECOWAS Court which granted him bail pending his trial over money laundering charges.
“Continuous incarceration of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, also known as Shi’ite, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaki, for over two years contrary to an order of the Federal High Court which ordered his release in 2016.
“Lack of accountability for human rights violations by security agencies and other militant elements, including armed herdsmen; heavy-handed violent responses to peaceful protests as exemplified by previous crackdown on the Indigenous People of Biafra; and the recent violent clashes between the police and suspected members of the IMN who were demanding the release of their leader, Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaki in Abuja and Kaduna, respectively.”
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