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NBA faults military on curfew imposition



Chief of Army Staff, Kenneth Minimah

THE Borno State Chapter of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has faulted the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri over incessant imposition of curfews since the deployment of troops to the state in June 2012.

Members of the NBA who were reacting to last week’s curfew imposed in Maiduguri following last Wednesday’s attack by Boko Haram insurgents, said that the decision of the military to impose curfew on the city beyond 48 hours was in flagrant disregard to sections of the Nigerian constitution that gives such powers to the state governor alone.

In a press statement issued by the NBA Maiduguri Branch and signed by its Chairman, Abdulwasiu Alfa and made available to newsmen yesterday in Maiduguri, the lawyers also expressed their anger over what they described as “an attempt of the military to run a parallel constitutional power with an existing democratically-elected government.”

He said: “We have carefully gone through the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 (As amended) and did not find the source of the power of the military to restrict movement of people within a state, especially when the state is not under an emergency.”

“The NBA is not aware that there are two state governors in Borno State. The law recognises only one; and he is the only one that is vested with such powers over the state. The era of military tyranny is long gone in the history of Nigeria.

“Today, the military should either remain in the barracks or go to Sambisa Forest and fight the insurgents. The military has no business subjecting civil populace to military tyrannical laws such as the one at hand.

“The restriction of movement by the 7 Division under whatever pretext, is however, illegal, unconstitutional, null and void; and of no effect whatsoever. We challenge the military to disclose to the public, which law empowers them to make laws in Borno State. We are not in the state of war.”

The lawyers said Borno State government needs to assert its powers as the sole body empowered by law to protect lives and property of the its citizenry.

Wasiu in the statement also noted: “It is important at this stage to remind the Borno state government that security of lives and property of the people is in its hands. Government must protect it having sworn to do so. We find the lukewarm attitude of the state government towards protecting the rights of its people from abuse.”

Calling on clubs, unions and other professional bodies to resist what they called further “tyranny illegality and indifference” of the military, the lawyers implored on the military to consider their action pertaining curfew as illegal and cannot stand.

They also expressed their resolved that; “the freedom of movement is a constitutional right of the people as enshrined under chapter 4 of the 1999 constitution (as amend); and such rights cannot be taken away by any person, body or authority except in accordance with the Law. And that Borno state government should live up to its responsibilities by being in control of the state security.”

The lawyers who called on citizens of the state to continue being law-abiding said they would be dragging the military in Borno state to court should there be any further imposition of curfew directly from them.

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