One hundred and fifty two years(1861) after not-literate King Desomu of Lagos ceded Lagos to the British colonialists, which formally signaled ninety-nine years of Nigeria’s colonization that terminated in October 1960; history is about to repeat itself downwards. The repetitive history this time is the perceived disastrous and steady efforts of a strategic component unit of Nigeria-called Lagos State of Nigeria to become what looks like a sovereign political territory within another sovereign political territory by way of its anti social and anti territorial laws and policies in recent times. It may be credibly unchallenged to submit that Lagos State is disastrously opting out of the Union it disastrously entered 152 years ago with other entities by way of thumb-printing. The State’s strange and utterly discriminatory set of laws and policies in recent times are enough evidence guiding the hallowed position of ours today.
From every indication, Lagos State is speedily marching to the enclave of disastrous self-governed territory with set of laws and policies clearly at variance with the all-binding Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and federal policies; part of which is its re-introduction of human slavery in Nigeria. The only difference between the Atlantic Slave Trade and the one complained of is” Trade”. The despicable conducts forgoing are also an eye-opener to all Nigerians and the rest of the world over what the governing political party in the State-the ACNmay have in stock for Nigeria, Nigerians and other parts of the country it seeks by election to govern. The State’s faith in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and allegiance to her Constitution is no longer trusted.
We are totally at loss as why a component unit of a country under the authority and supremacy of a supreme Constitution would choose to be corporately lawless and utterly unrepentant in such criminalist and unconstitutional conducts. Not even the State’s leading roles in the agitation fortrue federalism so called can comfortably assuage our rationality as per reasons behind these clearly unconstitutional conducts of the so calledNigeria’s Center Excellence. Federalism theory is like the principles of separation of powers that have no common definition and uniformity in application.
In other words, there is no clear-cut separation of powers and universally applicable federalism. Law also recognizes that in everything, exception is entrenched. Theorists of federalism and separation of powers always disagree on common definitions but agree at the end thatdomesticated federalism is the best in a credible democratic setting. That is to that federalism with local contents that is not repugnant to the credible democratic values; defined, agreed upon and adopted by all component units with the collective consent of their constituents in a federation is the best federalism needing adoption. This simply means that the federalism concept of Lagos State, if applied in this context and subject matter, is dead on arrival because it is sectional, unpopular and constitutionally void.
Statistical Journey Of Lagos To Separatist Enclave:
On 18th of September 2012, over one hundred citizens made of destitute-beggars, children, women, and the aged and the physically challenged were dumped at about 4: am under the Upper Iweka Flyover in Onitsha, Southeast Nigeria. They were conveyed in 9 buses by unnamed agents of Lagos State Government believed to be working under the State’s Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI). The Lagos State Government, as expected, weakly denied knowledge of the human cargo. Those interviewed by journalists, Red Cross officials and rights groups presented clear and horrible pictures of their ordeal in the hands of the Government of Lagos State.
As if that was not enough, on Wednesday, July 24, 2013, at about 3: am, another 72 people including beggars, petty traders, the aged, women and children and the physically challenged, were dumped at the same spot in Onitsha. Journalistic and rights investigative reports revealed that: 1. They were arrested and detained in a non-formal or State detention center in Okorodu area of Lagos State, near Ijebu Ode in Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria since December 2012. That is to say that they were detained for over seven months. 2. They were detained incommunicado and inhumanly with one pro-dysentery and non nutritious meal a day. 3. They were arrested in connection with alleged offences of misdemeanor/ simple offences of wandering, begging, etc, which according to Nigerian Criminal Code; attract days, weeks and some months of imprisonments and options of fines as low as N100.00 (about 70 US cents).
4. Despite the fact that the alleged offences are loosely and easily bailable, they were held in non State detention centers against their will and without trial for over seven months. 5. Among the victims of the Lagos State generated human cargos were petty traders and wheel barrow hawkers. Citizens Osundus Mbuto and Agwu from Ohazara LGA of Ebonyi State, Southeast Nigeria, are such victims. They were arrested since December 18, 2012 on their way to their trading spots. Citizen Osundu Agwu told Intersociety that three suspected KAI officials accosted him on his way to his wheel barrow kiosk and asked him to enter their vehicle and as he was trying to explain to them, two anti riot police personnel emerged and forced him into their vehicle and drove him away with KAI officials to their Ikorodu illegal detention center where he was held till July 23, 2013. 6. Most of the victims are not from Anambra State. The trio of Osundu Mbuto, Osondu Agwu and Sunday Irabor, who hail from Ebonyi and Edo States, are a clear case in point.
7. All the 72 people were arranged by the Lagos State Government for its Onitsha human cargo disposal spot after they were deceived by being asked to put their names on a sheet of paper in exchange for their freedom. 8. They were conveyed on Tuesday evening (23-7-2013) in four commuter buses with eighteen passengers each and escorted by two Toyota Hilux Vans marked Rescue Operation filled with armed anti riot police personnel(police mobile force). 9. On getting to Onitsha Upper Iweka Flyover by 3: am, all the 72 people were forced to disembark, after which their conveyors turned and sped off back to Lagos. 10. Before 7: am in the morning, 54 of the 72 people have escaped, leaving behind 18 people made up of the aged, women, children and the physically challenged. They were later taken to the Zik’s Avenue Primary School at Fegge in Onitsha, from where they were transferred to the Onitsha General Hospital on July 26, 2013. The social and health identities of the escapees were not ascertained. In other words, nobody knows whether they are light or hardened criminals or citizens with mental or infectious diseases or challenges.
Apart from the foregoing gross misconduct of the Government of Lagos State, the State has also engaged in other grossly unconstitutional acts in recent times. One of them is the unconstitutional creation of 37 Local Government Areas (LGAs) outside the clearly laid down constitutional processes. The State also violates the Constitution by seizing the Federal fiscal allocations meant for its 20 constitutionally recognized LGAs and re-distributes them among its so called 20 LGAs and 37 LGDAs. In furtherance of its harsh and separatist policies, the Government of Lagos State has introduced a distinct motorization driver’s license and particulars policy that bars other Nigerians not resident in the State from entering the State with their private vehicular except they are in possession of Lagos State Driver’s License. This not only violates the constitutional right to freedom of movement of other Nigerians, but also renders the uniformed federally issued driver’s license inoperable in the State that is considered as Nigeria’s melting pot.
Other despicable and discriminatory policies pursued by the Government of Lagos State are demographic and electoral sectionalization; whereby despite the over 6 million citizens of Igbo Southeast extraction in Lagos, for instance, none of them occupies any elective position in the State, not even a councillorship position in Ojo LGA-fondly called Igbo LGA of Lagos State. Other set of laws and policies not in tune with the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as well as all-binding federal policies also abound in the State.
We join other rational and conscientious Nigerians and the rest of the world in condemning the gross constitutional abuses by the ACN led Government of Lagos State. Its continuing denials and unrepentant postures despite abundance of testimonial evidence are not surprising and speak volume of a government of recklessness and falsehood. By the despicable actions of the State, the Constitution of Nigeria is grossly abused and threatened. The two pillars of our Constitution: Chapter Two and Chapter Four are now at an unprovoked war with the Government of Lagos State. Under our hallowed Chapter Four, her Section 41 is grievously wounded by Lagos State-a state governed by an acclaimed Senior Advocate of Nigerian Law. The Section under reference is not only sacred; but also justiciable. This is by the provision of Section 46. The Section 41 states that every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof; and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereto or exit therefrom.
Under our Chapter Two, which contains the Ten Constitutional Commandments (sections 13 to 23) handed down to our 17,500 top public office holders including the Government of Lagos State, her Sections 15(2)- national integration and 17(1b)-sanctity and dignity of human person are grossly in breach by the Government of Lagos State. By Section 13 of our Constitution, our Chapter Two tolerates no infraction of any of her Sections or provisions by any tier of government in Nigeria, yet the State under reference violates same with reckless abandon. It is also important to point out that no State law in Nigeria; be it wandering or anti begging, can invalidates living provisions of our Constitution especially her Chapter Four.
We call on all Nigerians and the rest of the world to watch the macabre dance of the Government of Lagos State of Nigeria. The State is steadily opting out of our federated union to self-governed enclave by creating and midwifing a set of laws and policies layered in the confines ofmechanical solidarity. “When laws and policies are designed by an enclave to disfavor 90 percent of the federated population and make federal laws and policies under which the lager citizens live and cohabitate inoperable and worthless, then federalism is gone for good and citizens ‘ liberties endangered”-Says Emeka Umeagbalasi today in Onitsha Nigeria.
‘We call on the Anambra State Executive Council to direct her Attorney General to take the Government of Lagos to the Supreme Court of Nigeria by way of originating summons to determine the constitutionality or otherwise of the gross misconducts complained of as well as obtainment of perpetual injunction stopping the wicked acts from being repeated”-Says Comrade Umeagbalasi, who chairs our Board. We also call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to carefully watch Lagos State including its set of laws and policies. Elsewhere in the United States, where agitations by some interest groups for the secession of some States from the Union, are on, their laws and policies are now under tight scrutiny at all times by the sovereign partner-the Federal Government of USA.
Chairman of the Board
Comrade Justus Ijeoma,
Head, Publicity Desk