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Femi Falana: State of Emergency: Why the president deserves commendation

Femi Falana says retired judges should handle election petition cases


Femi Falana: State of Emergency: Why the president deserves commendation

by Femi Falana

Following the break down of law and order in some parts of the country President Goodluck Jonathan has declared a state of emergency in three states to wit: Borno,Yobe and Adamawa.

The declaration made pursuant to section 305 of the Constitution requires the approval of both houses of the National Assembly. While appealing for approval of the declaration the National Assembly should appropriate adequate funds for upgrading the security of the nation.

In the face of incessant terrorist attacks, kidnapping, armed robbery and other violent crimes the Federal Government ought to stop playing lip service to the security of life and property in the country.

It is not sufficient to deploy more troops to the affected states if the terrorists and other nihilist groups have more sophisticated weapons than the Joint Task Force.

However, President Jonathan deserves commendation for acting within the ambit of the constitution. Unlike President Olusegun Obasanjo who illegally removed elected governors under the guise of a state of emergency President has not dissolved democratic structures in the affected states.

That is in order because an elected governor can only be removed by impeachment, resignation or on ground of infirmity of body or mind and NOT through a state of emergency.

For the avoidance of doubt the proviso to section 11 (4) of the constitution which empowers the National Assembly to take over the legislative powers of a state in case of emergency states that

” nothing in this section shall be construed as conferring on the National Assembly power to remove the Governor or the Deputy Governor of the State from office”.

Having complied with the constitution with respect to the state of emergency in 3 states President Jonathan should henceforth demonstrate to Nigerians that the days of presidential impunity are gone for ever in the country.

– This Best Outside Opinion was written by Femi Falana

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