The recent resurgence of the mass massacre of villagers in Zango-Kataf, Kajuru, Kauru, Jema’a and Kaura LGAs in Kaduna State, has thrown up the glaring state of insecurity in the country. It used to be Boko Haram alone. It has worsened with deadly herdsman, armed banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and rape cases. 22 people were killed in Atyap (Zango-Kataf LGA) alone. The quarrel is over a piece of land, that has rocked the peace of the LGA for many decades. The intractable Nigerian fault-lives have since been replicated in most of the 774 LGAs in Nigeria. But, Nigeria leaders live in self-denial.
On December 14, 2017, the Nigerian Governors Forum had approved a $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account, to tackle security challenges in the country, which included the supply of military hardware, helicopters, ships and armament, training of military and other security officers.
Aside the Government telling bemused Nigerians two years earlier, December, 2015, that Boko Haram had been “technically defeated”, even though it was already sufficiently downgraded to allow for peaceful presidential elections in March, 2015, it was reported in Premium Times of 24th December, 2016, that President Muhammadu Buhari had declared “Boko Haram’s final crushing.” He stated that the last Sambisa stronghold had ‘fallen’. It was reported that Nigerian soldiers had raided Boko Haram’s “last enclave” in Sambisa forest, and the insurgents had finally been crushed. Mr. President enthused imperiously in a statement that he was “most proud” to receive the “long-awaited and most gratifying news of the final crushing of the Boko Haram terrorists.”
On 27th November, 2017, Daily Post quoted the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while representing President Buhari at the commissioning of the Pulaaku Radio Station in Yola, Adamawa State, as saying:
“Let me be clear, Boko Haram has been massively degraded and its surviving members put on the run. Instead of being hunters, they are now the hunted.”
“What we are witnessing now, are the last kicks of a dying horse. A dying horse manages to engage in some kicks. These kicks may be dangerous, but they don’t last long.”
“Progressively, they become weaker and weaker, until the horse finally gives up.”
Buhari had surprisingly a month later, requested $1 billion (a whooping N365 billion at that time; now about N472 billion), to fight a supposedly “defeated” Boko Haram.
In my Sun newspaper column (Hard Facts) of December, 20, 2017, I asked the following questions:
“1. What has happened within the last 12 months or one month to a massively degraded and defeated Boko Haram?
2. Has Boko Haram regained so much vigour and strength, that it now requires a whopping $1,000,000,000 to bring an already fallen Boko Haram to its knees?
3. What happened to the Sambisa forest that was allegedly already under the firm control of the Nigerian Army? Are there two Sambisa forests?
4. What happened to the weapons that have been previously acquired by the Nigerian Government for the Army, including fighter jets donated by the American government?
5. What happened to the funds, equipment, human resources, etc, that had serially been donated by foreign donors/agencies to the Nigerian government?
6. Was this not the same Boko Haram that was so degraded that elections held peacefully throughout the six States of the North East Zone in 2015, with some of the States turning in moon-slide and hardly believable figures?
7. Why has the bombing on civilians and military men, incessant attacks on defenceless villagers and settlements been on a spirally rise, after government has repeatedly assured Nigerians of the conquest of Boko Haram?
8. Is it that the resurrection of the recent bombings in the North East was a deliberate ploy to agitate for the $1 billion from the Excess crude account?
9. Why has the Federal Government deliberately blinded its eyes towards the continuous and deadly attacks on helpless sleeping communities by herdsmen?
10. Why has the Federal Government totally ignored issues of horrific environmental degradation and insecurity in the Niger Delta, which have been a long sore challenge, even before the advent of Boko Haram?
11. Why has the Federal Government failed to tackle the issue of mass unemployment, hunger and grinding poverty in the land?
12. Why is the President brazenly showing preferential treatment for his kith and kin, by sending the Vice President to go and pacify herdsmen who wantonly murdered people in Demsa and Numan in Adamawa state, whereas, when harmless IPOB members were protesting on the streets with berets, whistles, cudgels and flags, they were immediately mauled down by fully armed Army?
13. Is the $1 billion sought for actually meant for the 2019 elections as some political pundits have alleged?”
What is ‘Excess Crude Account’?
“The Excess crude account is a Nigerian Government account, which is used to save oil revenues above a base amount derived from a defined benchmark price. The Excess Crude Account was established in 2004, and its objective is primarily to protect planned budgets against shortfalls, due to volatile crude oil prices. By delinking government expenditures from oil revenues, the Excess Crude Account aims to insulate the Nigerian economy from external shocks.
Is the Excess Crude Account Constitutional?
“Though a salutary creative “save-for-the-rainy-day” outside-the-box policy, there is no provision in our Constitution for this coined amorphous contraption of the executive called “Excess Crude Oil Account.” There is no name or nomenclature of that nature, throughout the 320 Sections of the 1999 Constitution. Thus, the creation of so-called “Excess Crude Oil Account” is an illegal attempt to enlarge the provisions of the Constitution, which is therefore, null and void. PMB and his Government are bound to obey the Constitution. In Attorney-General of Abia State v Attorney-General of the Federation (2002) 6 NWLR (pt. 764) 264 at 479 paras D-F, the sagacious Kalgo, JSC made the opposite remarks that:
“…the Supremacy of the Constitution has made it abundantly clear and in no uncertain terms, that the provisions of the Constitution are superior … and are binding and must be observed and respected by all persons and authorities in Nigeria”.
There is, however, no doubt, that the Excess Crude Oil Account is overtly unconstitutional. All proceeds in that illegal Account outside (the Federation Account) is provided for under Section 162(1) of the Constitution, for sharing in contrary to the provisions of Section 162(2) of the Constitution. The constitutional implications of the creating a special account for the Federation under Section 162(1), is to mandatorily empower National Assembly members who are the true representatives of the people to supervise and authorise the sharing of the Federation Account in accordance with Section 162(2) of the Constitution.
The foundation of every modern democratic society is premised on the Rule of Law, which accentuates constitutional order and legal certainty. In such a society, the activities of government and its agencies are duly regulated by the supreme law of the land, popularly referred to in a federal system as the Constitution. The mode of sharing and disbursement of funds in Nigeria is not arbitrary, whimsical or capricious. It is constitutional”.
In my said intervention, I also wrote as follows:
“Where must Revenue be kept before disbursement?
The answer is found in Sections 80 and 120 of the Constitution which provide that:
80. (1) All revenues or other moneys raised or received by the Federation (not being revenues or other moneys payable under this Constitution or any Act of the National Assembly into any other public fund of the Federation established for a specific purpose) shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.
(2) No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation except to meet expenditure that is charged upon the fund by this Constitution or where the issue of those moneys has been authorised by an Appropriation Act, Supplementary Appropriation Act or an Act passed in pursuance of section 81 of this Constitution.
(3) No moneys shall be withdrawn from any public fund of the Federation, other than the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, unless the issue of those moneys has been authorised by an Act of the National Assembly.
(4) No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.
“The Constitution was not yet done. It applied the above provisions mutatis mutandis, to States in Sections 120(1),(2) and (3) of the same 1999 Constitution, as regards revenue warehousing sharing and disbursement of same, amongst the three tiers of government.
“Following from these provisions, it is crystal clear that no portion of the Constitution empowers either the President, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), or the Governors Forum to either appropriate or disburse any funds meant for the Federation account and/or State Joint Local Government Account. The only bodies saddled with such responsibilities are the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly. Any appropriation outside the contemplation of the Constitution amounts to misappropriation.”
Legal Issues Arising from Insurgency
As noted by the United Nations General Assembly, through a report by its High Commissioner, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria have ratified several international and regional human rights instruments. All are party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In addition, Nigeria is a party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families and the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in its annual report for 2013, and the International Criminal Court, confirmed the existence of an armed conflict between the Nigerian armed forces and armed groups since May 2013. Boko Haram has conducted operations and several attacks in parts of Cameroon, Chad and Niger bordering northern Nigeria. Boko Haram and other bandits have since unleashed on the Nigerian space, killing of civilians, abductions, torture and other cruel inhuman or degrading treatment, sexual and gender-based violence, violence against children and use of children in hostilities, attacks against civilian and protected objects, destruction and appropriation of property, etc. These are derogatory of the above international instruments. Quite a sad spectre!.