Press statement of the Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL) on the President’s declaration of state of emergency
We welcome the declaration of state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States respectively and applaud the President for taking the bold and courageous steps of confronting those who have held ordinary citizens down for too long.
Though the declaration, coming at the heels of the declaration of state of emergency in fifteen local government areas across the North-east of Nigeria almost two years now, came almost too late considering the insecurity challenges ordinary citizens contend with, it is however commendable of the President.
On the surface, the declaration made within the purview of Section 305 (2), (3) (c), (d) and (f) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) guarantees the President the powers to so declare, the troop surge that follows the declaration would invariably allow our soldiers to gain footholds on those parts of our sovereign territory that have been seized by insurgents in Borno and Yobe States for instance.
We would however be disturbed if in discharging their combat remits, soldiers abuse the fundamental rights and liberties of citizens of states affected by the declaration as we have seen in Baga and Bama.
Though, it isn’t in all cases of declaration of state of emergencies that fundamental rights instruments and charters are left unsuspended. We shall however be concerned if the Presidential Proclamation contained in the Official Gazette transmitted to the National Assembly derogates from or suspends the rights and liberties of citizens of the affected states. We hope it doesn’t.
Abdul Mahmud, ESQ
15th May 2013
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