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A leading pro-democracy and non-governmental organization, Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria, HURIWA, has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari’s purported directive to the World Bank to focus all her developmental assistance to Northern Nigeria, declaring the action as an impeachable infraction.

The Rights body said the disclosure by the World Bank president that the Nigeria president had asked the BrettonWood Funding Institution to focus exclusively on Northern Nigeria has confirmed the long held perception that the current president is a Northern irredentist who has scarce regards for the constitutional principles of equity, equality and social justice to all Nigerians and that he has no care in this World about respecting the constitutional principles of Federal character in the appointments and execution of government policies.

The group said it is also a breach of his constitutional oath of office and allegiance to the constitution not to implement government’s policies based on his ethno- religious interests.

In a media statement by the national coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs’ Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, the Rights group has asked the National Assembly to open a probe of this shocking disclosure and to censure President Buhari and ensures he either counter-instructs the World Bank to work for all of Nigeria or the National Assembly begins an impeachment process because a breach of constitutional oaths of office is extensively damaging.

“Under Sections 140(1) and 140(2), the President is required to take the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office, an act that is significant to the extent that the Oath of Office expands the responsibility to which the President commits himself when he bears true Allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and when he undertakes to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

HURIWA expounded further that scholars of constitutional law have affirmed that by taking the Oath of Office, the President commits himself to specific goals of general nature to wit:(i) bear allegiance to the Republic;(ii) faithfully discharge his duties in accordance with the Constitution;(iii) strive to preserve the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy;(iv) avoid influence caused by personal interest;(v) abide by the code of conduct; and(vi) treat all people equally under the law”.

Besides, HURIWA further accused president Buhari of breaching the constitutional provisions which absolutely prohibits discriminatory enforcement of policies to favour particular sections of Nigeria against other zones just as the rights group warned against the sweeping of these allegations under the carpets of impunity.

To buttresse her point that the discriminatory instruction to the World Bank by President Muhammadu Buhari to favour the North is unconstitutional, the Rights group cited 42.-(1) of the Constitution which affirmed thus:”A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person-(a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizen of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject; or (b) be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizen Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions”.(2) No citizen of Nigeria shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by reason of the circumstances of his birth.”

HURIWA recalled that the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, said on Thursday that the bank had concentrated on the northern region of Nigeria in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s request.

Kim and the Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, spoke at separate press conferences in Washington DC.

Kim said, “You know, in my very first meeting with President Buhari he said specifically that he would like us to shift our focus to the northern region of Nigeria and we’ve done that. Now, it has been very difficult. The work there has been very difficult.”

The Rights group said the World Bank’s chief had also disclosed that:”Despite that, there is so much turbulence in the northern part of the country, and there is the hit that was taken from the drop in the oil prices. Nigeria has to think ahead and invest in its people. Investing in the things that will allow Nigeria to be a thriving, rapidly growing economy in the future is what the country has to focus on right now.”

Kim also said, “Focusing on the northern part of Nigeria, we hope that as commodity prices stabilize and oil prices come back up, the economy will grow a bit more. But very, very much important is the need to focus on what the drivers of growth in the future will be.”

HURIWA therefore has called cibil society organisations that are patriotic to speak out in condemnation of this clear manifestation of Ethnic and regional preferences expressed by President Muhammadu Buhari which are capable of destroying the seed of national unity and equality of development which the Nigerian Constitution so much emphasises.

Author: Yemi Olarinre