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Constitution Allows Workers To Participate In Politics – Falana



Govt Can't Resolve ASUU Crisis With Court Rulings - Falana

A human rights’ activist Femi Falana (SAN) has said that the nation’s constitution allows workers to participate in politics.

Falana was responding to the warning from the federal government to civil servants to stay off politics.

The lawyer relied on the position of the Supreme Court which tagged the keep-off order hare-brained.

Folashade Yemi-Esan, Nigeria’s Head of Service, in a memo dated May 5, 2022, ordered civil servants to abide by the provisions of the Public Service Rules (PSR) (2008 edition) on partisan politics.

She said her office had been inundated with requests for clarification on the apex court judgement.

She reached her stay-off conclusion on the strength of a legal opinion issued by Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s Attorney-General of the Federation. Falana, however, faulted the conclusion and by extension the premise (Malami’s opinion).

READ ALSO: Emefiele Takes INEC, Others To Court Over Right To Contest Presidential Election Without Resigning

n a lengthy op-ed, Falana noted, “Like other citizens, workers are equally entitled, by virtue of section 39 of the Constitution, to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.

“In Inspector-General of Police v All Nigeria Peoples Party (2008) 12(WRN 65), the Court of Appeal annulled the issuance of police permit for rallies and other public meetings on the grounds that it was a breach of the fundamental rights of citizens to freedom of expression and association guaranteed by sections 39 and 40 of the Constitution.

“In line with the judgment, Section 83 of the Police Establishment Act 2020 has imposed a duty on the police to provide adequate security for participants in peaceful rallies and public meetings.”

He added, “In addition to constitutional provisions, the Government of Nigeria has ratified the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)5 both of 1966 as well the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) 1981 which guarantee freedom of association and freedom of expression.

“Indeed, the right of workers to associate and organise is enshrined in the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention 1948 (No. 87)6 and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention 1949 (No. 98) of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Section 254C(2) of the Constitution has conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the National Industrial Court to enforce provisions of all ILO Conventions that have been ratified by Nigeria.”

On the supporting precedent provided by the apex court, Falana stated, “In the case of Independent National Electoral Commission v Balarabe Musa & Ors (2003) 10 WRN 1 the Supreme Court faulted the civil service rules which restrict the participation of civil servants and other public servants in the politics of the county.

“In the leading judgment of the apex court, the Honourable Justice Ayoola JSC held that, ‘There is nothing reasonably justifiable in a democratic society in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health in prohibiting a member of the public service or civil service … from eligibility to be registered as a member of a political party. The submission that the restriction is a valid derogation from section 40 by virtue of section 45 (1)(a) of the Constitution was erroneous.’

“In his concurring judgment, Mr Justice Uwais, the then Chief Justice of Nigeria said that ‘The provisions of section 40 of the 1999 Constitution are clear. Their import is to allow ‘every person,’ including public office holders and civil servants, the freedom to assemble freely and associate with other persons to form or belong to any political party, or trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests.’

“ The section has made no exception and there is no proviso therein limiting its application to civil servants or public officers.

“ Even though the civil service rules were not set aside as their legal validity was not challenged in the case, it has been held by the Court in several cases that sections 7, 66 (1); 107 (1) (f); 137 (1) (g); 142(2); 182 and 187(2) of the 1999 Constitution permit civil servants and other public officers who wish to contest elections to resign their positions 30 days to the date of elections for all the various positions of the president and vice president, governors and deputy governors, federal and state legislators as well as chairmen and councillors. See FAYEMI v. ONI & ORS (2019) LPELR-46623(CA); PPA v. PDP & ORS (2009) LPELR-4865;(CA); ADAMU V. TAKORI (2010) ALL FWLR (P. 540) 1387 (C.A)
“Notwithstanding that the Constitution is silent on the right of workers in the private sector to participate in politics it is submitted that they are equally entitled to contest elections without any legal entanglement.

READ ALSO: Why Jonathan Cannot Contest 2023 Presidential Election – Falana

“However, like civil servants, private sector workers who wish to contest elections are advised, subject to agreements reached with their employers, and/or the applicable conditions of service, to resign their positions or ask for leave of absence.

“It is, therefore, incumbent on workers in the private and public sectors to stop agonising about the problems confronting the country.

“This is the time to get organised with other pro-labour, radical and human rights forces and insist that a new Nigeria is possible,” he concluded.

Malami, in his legal opinion, said: “Neither the 1999 Constitution nor the Supreme Court has authorized civil servants to engage in partisan politics. The provisions of Rules 030422 and 030423 of the Public Service Rules (2008 Edition) were not nullified by the Supreme Court, hence, they remain in force and binding on all civil servants seeking to participate in nomination exercises or party primaries.”


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AfAW Condemns Killing Of Two Men Over Witchcraft In Benue



AfAW Condemns Killing Of Two Men Over Witchcraft In Benue

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches has condemned the gruesome murder of Kwaghange Ugbu and Atuur Shaaja of Gwer East LGA of Benue. The murder of Ugbu and Shaaja happened less than two months after some youths attacked an alleged witch in Shangev Tiev, Konshisha LGA.

Quoting local sources, Dr Leo Igwe of AfAW said that on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, David Terseer Nongobo, 25, a native of Mbaaku Mbasombo Gwer East LGA of Benue, slumped while working on the farm. He was later confirmed dead at a local hospital. David had recently completed his secondary school education.

In reaction to his death, some members of the community, notably, Aper Iorfa, Ter Tarnongo, Bamo Oraduen, Terhemen Agber, etc stormed the house of David’s uncles, Kwaghange Ugbu and Atuur Shaaja. They accused them of killing David Terseer through witchcraft. They beat and cut him with cutlasses and axes. They tied a rope around their neck and dragged them until they died.

READ ALSO: Advocacy For Alleged Witches Petitions NHRC Over Witchcraft Markets Event

Eyewitnesses said that as they were being tortured, the accused could be heard shouting in the local language: ” We don’t know anything about the death of this boy”. And the mobs were shouting back: “We will torture both of you to death for killing Tersoo with your witchcraft”. Members of their families; their wives ( Mary Kwaghhange and Martha Kwaghange) and sons watched helplessly as the accused were beaten and tortured to death.

A family member told AfAW that relatives of the deceased tried to intervene to save them without success. The son of Kwaghhange Ugbu, Sunday, tried to intervene and was told that he would also be tortured like his father if he tried to do so. His younger brother tried to resist the mob but was beaten. The corpses of the deceased were left in the open, at the compound of Ugbu, till the next day. No one was permitted to touch them. On September 29, the bodies were taken and deposited at the mortuary.

AfAW urged the Commissioner of Police and the Benue state government to arrest and prosecute the suspects and ensure that justice is done.

“They should send a strong message that jungle justice will not be tolerated in Benue and that those who engage in trial by ordeal and extrajudicial killings of alleged witches will answer for their crimes.

“The National Human Rights Commission, the International Federation of Women Lawyers, and the social welfare department should liaise and support the families of victims”, AfAW said.

AfAW enjoined the people of Benue to desist from witchcraft accusations and witch persecutions.

READ ALSO: Ukpabio’s Rescuing Families From Witchcraft Markets

“They should realize that witchcraft is superstition. Witchcraft accusation is a crime under the law. The people of Benue should abandon superstitions and embrace science and critical thinking”, the group added.

Dr. Igwe directs Advocacy for Alleged Witches, which campaigns to end witch persecution in Africa.


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BREAKING: Peter Obi’s Supporters Lock Down Lagos



PHOTOS: Massive Turnout As Youths Embark On One Million Match For Peter Obi

From Lekki to Surulere and Festac, thousands of residents of Lagos on Saturday demonstrated their support for Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP).

Many of the supporters on Saturday morning were seen holding the posters of the LP candidate and his vice, Yusuf Baba-Ahmed, who had branded vests as they marched around and moved to the bridge leading.

The rally caused both human and vehicular traffic around the Stadium axis, from Alaka and Teslim Balogun Stadium and down to Ojuelegba.

READ ALSO: Exposed: The Real Peter Obi

A Third Force Movement appealed to the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to approve the car park of the National Stadium Lagos, for the October 1 rally of supporters of Labour Party, LP, Presidential Candidate, Mr. Peter Obi.

Noting that the use of the stadium would avert unintended lockdown, The Third Force Movement, in a statement by Mr. Olawale Okunniyi, said without the approval the organisers cannot stop Nigerians from using other venues like Gani Fawehinmi Park or Lekki Toll Gate.

At Lekki Toll Gate, the Lagos State Police Command was able to enforce strict compliance with the no rally order.

A federal high court in Lagos had on Wednesday ordered the LP and its supporters not to converge on the Lekki tollgate


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BREAKING: APC Disagrees With Lawan , To Appeal Against Judgment Declaring Machina Senatorial Candidate



BREAKING: APC Disagrees With Lawan , To Appeal Against Judgment Declaring Machina Senatorial Candidate

Less than 24 hours after Senate President Ahmed Lawan declared that he would not appeal against the ruling of a Federal High Court in Damaturu, the state capital, on Wednesday on the Yobe North senatorial seat matter, his All Progressives Congress (APC) has decided otherwise..

The APC in the state is determined to go on appeal over the matter.

The lower court had in its verdict, not only affirmed Bashir Machina as the party’s candidate for next year’s election, but ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise him as such, a position the nation’s number three man said he would not appeal against.

However, in another turn of events, Mohammed Gadaka, Chairman of the APC in the state, arguing that the party had taken it as a duty to protect the Senate President, indicated party’s intention to proceed to the appellate court.

READ  ALSO: I Won’t Appeal Against Judgment Declaring Machina Senatorial Candidate – Lawan

“We are aware of the Wednesday, September 28, 2022, ruling of the Federal High Court in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, with respect to the forthcoming Yobe north Senatorial District election. However, we respectfully reject the decision of the President of the Senate, His Excellency Senator Ahmad Lawan, accepting the judgment of the court which disqualified his candidature and participation in the election.

“In exercise of our legal rights, the Yobe State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has decided to appeal the Federal High Court ruling in the interest of Yobe State, Nigeria and good governance. We have a duty to protect and sustain Senator Ahmed Lawan’s twenty-three years exemplary sojourn as a lawmaker and his impeccable record of leadership and patriotism – and commitment to making Nigeria work.”


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