Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana on Thursday said Nigeria is on the verge of collapse as the 2023 general election is threatened in view of series of attacks on INEC offices.
Falana spoke at the final sitting of the Senate Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution, South West, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Zonal Public Hearing, Lagos Center, held in Ikeja, under the chairmanship of Senator Oluremi Tinubu, representing Lagos Central.
According to Falana, Nigeria is ruled by rule of the rulers and not rule of law, lamenting that people commit all manner of crime and got away with it because there are no sanctions.
“This must change. The Social Security Bill must also work so that jobless people can get stipends pending when they will get full employment. What can we do very quickly to save this country which is on the verge of collapse? If you don’t want people to break away from Nigeria, we must give them confidence and sense of belonging, don’t declare a war,” he said.
Falana said for the constitutional amendment to be fruitful, for Nigeria to have genuine outputs from this meeting, peace must reign.
He stated that Nigeria’s problem must be addressed frontally, as well as give people the confidence of peace and inclusion if the government must kill the cries for secession.
“In fact, in some parts of the country, the 2023 elections are already threatened. “INEC offices are being burnt, police stations are being burnt. In that kind of atmosphere, we cannot pretend that there is political stability in our country.
“Essentially, I am making a case for the poor, the masses of our people who are generally not represented in fora of this nature which are most times for the elites and privileged among our people,” he added.
The rights lawyer explained that chapter two of the constitution guaranteed the right to education, health, living minimum wage, good adequate housing, unemployment benefits, among others, but that members of the ruling class conspired and agreed, regardless of political affiliation, that these provisions shall not be enforceable or made justiciable.
“But unless we are prepared to make these provisions justiciable and enforceable, this country will know no peace. Whatever constitution will come forth after now must make justiciable the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state without which there will be no political stability in Nigeria,” he said.
Falana submitted that the Child Rights Act enacted in 2003 be made applicable throughout Nigeria, adding that as of today, only 25 states have adopted the law, “but even then, not fully implemented. Unfortunately, it is states where banditry, kidnapping and terrorism thrive that have refused to adopt or domesticate the law, and that is where banditry, terrorism, and kidnappers recruit daily.
“We also advocate a 50/50 representation for men and women in government. We should emulate other African countries where women even take a larger percentage in government affairs.”