The Nigeria Voters Assembly, a human rights, pro-democracy and principal legislative advocacy group has frowned at the incessant disregard for the invitation from the Parliaments across the country and condemned in strong terms the seeming indifference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Courts to the “unbecoming practice fastly becoming a normal attitude of unelected institutions of government.”
Media platforms have been awashed with the practices of open disregards for invitations on noticeable lapses found by the National Assembly in the course of carrying out its oversight assignments, many of which have been attended in the breach without consequences.
The group in a press release signed by its President and Convener, Comrade Mashood Erubami, said the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali; and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; the Inspector General of Police (IG) and Federal ministers, have at different times, snubbed the Senate and House of Representatives invitations, prompting public outrage because of the ridiculing that attended these actions in an outright disregard for Section 88 of the constitution which confers on the National Assembly, the power to summon public officials.
“It is becoming a common trend among government institutions which are responsible for works over which the National Assembly has the responsibility to carry out oversight functions and strongly condemned the act of not attending to the calls as a criminal denial of opportunity to give better and further information or explanation to the National Assembly on issues which they were invited,” it said.
This, according to the group, represents a clear criminal snub against the people who the Legislators are representing and accountable to, regardless of whatever interpretations the Invitee government institution or its officials might have given the invitation.
The group further posited that “any disregard for promulgated laws in Nigeria is foremost an affront and unbecoming act on the part of the institution or officials who are found culpable and this unveiled act of disrespect for the constitution and democratic institutions must not be treated with levity.”
The Assembly of Voters call the attention of the President to these “ignoble disrespect for the law and constitution which he sworn to uphold and defend in order not to send wrong signals that the power of disobedience to the Parliament is derived from the silence which is intolerable and inexplicable for the President, his Attorney General, the Nigeria Bar Association and even the judiciary to keep silent when such cases are reported.”
Finally, the group called on stakeholders to prevent the laws and Nigeria’s constitution from being brazingly disrespected and perverted for democracy to thrive.
“Nigeria’s Civil Society must not maintain calm on the practice of gross insubordination to law and disrespect to the provisions of the Constitution, hence every effort must be made to call to order any such institution or individuals from insulting the collective intelligence of our elected representatives.
“The Nigerian Bar Association should rise in defense of all promulgated laws when it is clear some elements are trying to undermine such laws. It is not when punitive measures are being taken that the Bar will now decide to defend offenders from serving required punishment, deterrent measures must be inflicted on law breakers to allow the law to rule !
“The Courts should also stand stoutly against law breaking by unelected government institutions so as not to undermine the powers of elected key institutions of government by pronouncing heavily on law breakers, taking decisive actions against them to deter others would-be law breakers from taking the laws into their hands,” the statement added.