Last Updated on May 3, 2019 by Ope Quadri
A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, is advocating for the ban of public officials from foreign trips, apparently referring to President Muhammadu Buhari who is currently on a 10-day private visit to the United Kingdom.
The human rights lawyer stated this while presenting a paper on press freedom in Nigeria and the rule of law.
He said the president and all governors ought not leave the shores of the country until there is a solution to insecurity.
He attributed the root cause of insecurity to poverty, adding that the menace cannot be curbed outside Nigeria.
“It is high time President Buhari and all state governors who are abroad returned to the country to attend to the urgent crisis of insecurity,” he said.
“With the virtual take-over of the country by armed bandits, terrorists and kidnappers, the president and all top public officers should be barred by Nigerians from embarking on foreign private or official visits to other countries until further notice.
“It is common knowledge that the security challenges facing the nation include terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, human trafficking and extra-judicial killings. As the root cause of such violent crimes is traceable to the excruciating poverty in the land, a critical examination of the security challenges cannot be undertaken outside the nation’s neo-colonial capitalist political economy.”
Commenting on the role of the media, Falana said the constitution has charged members of the fourth estate of the realm to hold public officers accountable.
He advised the press to shun putting light on the certificate controversy of politicians but nudge them to provide solutions to underlying issues of poverty and underdevelopment.
“In Nigeria, no attempt has been made to repeal any of the repressive media laws while the national assembly has been trying frantically to censor the media and use the pending press council to gag the media,” Falana said.
“All elected public officers should be made to proffer solutions to the crisis of underdevelopment and stop the irrelevant debate on the educational qualification of any candidate.
“Since the 2019 elections have been concluded the duty imposed on the media is to ensure that political parties and elected officials are held accountable.
“To that extent, the media should ensure that the political parties are made to explain to the Nigerian people how they plan to address the crisis of underdevelopment that has reduced a richly endowed nation to a beggar taking questionable loans to pay salaries of public officers and service unproductive bureaucracy.”
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) therefore called for a review of the concept and understanding of the rule of law among politicians.
“While senior public officers continue to give the impression that the country is operated under the rule of law their actions and utterances suggest otherwise. In the process, the country is reduced to a banana republic where the rule of law is substituted for the rule of the rulers,” Falana said.
Killings, banditry and kidnapping have intensified recently.