Nigerian Constitutional lawyer, Professor Ben Nwabueze (SAN), has argued that the acts establishing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Security (DSS) are to a large extent unconstitutional.
He also decried the unconstitutional means by which the present Nigerian government led by President Muhammadu Buhari and others before him have been fighting against corruption.
Nwabueze, who said that the lawless activities of the EFCC in the fight against corruption are increasingly assuming terroristic proportions, added that such activities are only helping to portray Nigeria in the ugly image of a police state.
According to the elder statesman, any fight against corruption that is based on unconstitutional process can only but create anarchy.
The constitutional lawyer stated this at the weekend in Lagos while briefing newsmen on a paper he entitled, “Emasculation of our Constitutional Democracy through the Subversion of the Safeguards Enshrined in the Constitution for the Protection of the Individual against the Oppressive Use of the Organised Coercive Force at the Disposal of the State.”
Under a subsection of the paper which he themed, ‘Constitutional Democracy and State Terrorism or a Police State cannot Co-exist Together’ he said,” At about 1 am on Saturday 8 October, 2016, men of the DSS raided the homes of seven judges suspected to have been involved in corruption…
Nwabueze lamented that the unconstitutional laws and enforcement activities of the EFCC and the DSS were yet to make any noticeable impact upon the rampancy of corruption in the country.
Part of the paper reads, “The issue raised is as to whether constitutional democracy and state terrorism or a police state can co-exist together. For twelve years since 2004 a regime of state terrorism has been foisted on us – in the name of a war against corruption. The lawless activities of the EFCC created ostensibly to fight corruption were increasingly assuming terroristic proportions.
“The activities of the SSS, combined with those of the EFCC, portray Nigeria in the ugly image of a police state, replete with the pernicious instruments of repression that characterise such a state. The name SSS (changed to DSS because of adverse comments) in itself is entirely out of keeping, an anachronism, in a constitutional democracy, due to its association in the public mind with the barbarities of Hitlerism and of socialist/communist despotism. It created fear and a feeling of insecurity amongst the citizenry.
“The tragic fact, about which the public is lamentably uninformed, is that the statutes establishing the EFCC and the SSS are, to a large extent, unconstitutional, because they are a subversion of the safeguards enshrined in the constitution for the protection of the individual against physical coercion by force of arms (vi et armis). Thus, the issue confronting us is not only as to whether the activities of these two agencies are in conformity with the law establishing them, but also whether, more importantly, the law, establishing them are in conformity with the constitution, the supreme law of the land.
“In the past ten or so years, I have cried out against the unconstitutionality of these laws, and the illegal activities committed under them by the EFCC and SSS. To me, the public outcry generated by the raid of the homes of judges is a welcome development, because it has helped to force the evil of the emasculation of our constitutional democracy upon the attention of the Nigerian public.”
“Regrettably, the unconstitutional laws and the so-called enforcement activities of the EFCC and the SSS have made hardly any noticeable impact upon the rampancy of corruption in the country”, he noted
By Ebere Ndukwu …
RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears
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