CISLAC Cautions Houses of Assembly against Arbitrary use of Impeachment Powers

PRESS RELEASE

CISLAC Cautions Houses of Assembly against Arbitrary use of Impeachment Powers

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) notes with great concern the sudden resurgence in the spate of impeachments and threats spreading across the political landscape and calls on lawmakers in the states Houses of Assembly not to abuse their powers of impeachment or deploy it arbitrarily.

CISLAC had always been and continues to advocate for strong legislatures with capacity to make laws for peace, security and good governance at both federal and state levels and hold the executive accountable through effective oversight and representation, including invoking the power of impeachment where the need arises, in a transparent and responsible manner to serve the interest of justice fairness and the electorate and not vindictively or to score cheap political points.

We are however concerned that the ongoing spate of impeachments may not pass the test of credibility, popularity and rationality, if closely examined. Without prejudice to the right, duties and powers of state legislatures to impeach erring executives, we are worried that many of the reasons invoked are either belated or flimsy. Others are indulgent and ridiculous with the procedures flawed and hurried in a manner that casts doubts as to the motives behind the actions.

CISLAC wonders why legislators would overlook acts of corruption or having failed to discharge their functions of oversight effectively or worse still, benefitted from such corrupt practices and looked the other way, suddenly awake retroactively to exhume such corrupt practices and use them as allegations for which a governor should be impeached. We consider this an indictment of the concerned legislators, an abuse of power and process and a betrayal of the trust reposed in them by the electorate.

We wish to note that with the spate of insecurity on some parts of our nation, which is spreading gradually, avoidable impeachment of executive governors few months to the end of their tenure may not be the most progressive actions law makers can take at this point of our national development. We are convinced that precious legislative time can be deployed into more constructive and people-impacting interventions.

We call on  members of states Houses of Assembly to concentrate on using their positions to promote community development, peace-building and citizens’ welfare through effective oversight and representation rather than engage in issues that could further polarizes the people, heat up the polity, create acrimony and fuel intolerance and conflict

We also call on them to channel their energies to promoting good governance and peaceful coexistence by committing themselves to performing their legislative functions putting the interest of the electorate first and above selfish and parochial interests. They must act with sincerity, integrity and uphold their independence and the principle of fairness and justice.

We remind them that they are accountable to the electorate and must uphold due process, the rule of law and constitutionalism in the discharge of their duties. They must discharge their responsibilities with the hidgets sense of responsibility.

Signed

Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)

Executive Director of CISLAC

$1bn Security Loan: CISLAC Demands Accountability on Security Votes

 

Following the recent submission to the Senate by the President Goodluck Jonathan demanding approval for a foreign loan of $1 billion to finance the fight against Boko Haram insurgents; and the subsequent rejection of such request by the Senate, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) observed that:

  1. In the last four years, trillions of naira financial resources committed to security and defence annually from national budget, yet the fight against the insurgents rages on with deadly consequences.
  2. Giving the daily kidnappings, massacres and destruction of property across the country by the insurgents, various reports are of opinion that upgrading arms and ammunition for the nation’s Armed Forces to tackle the insurgents would be of no benefit without constructive strategy to end the unwary attacks.   
  3. The degree of destructions on facilities has denied victims of various attacks access to adequate medical attention including the security personnel whose families have been subjected to life-threatening situations as they are not sufficiently compensated following the killings of their love ones.
  4. Apart from being the victims of regular attacks, security personnel are not adequately equipped, fortified and compensated to curtail the attacks; and the degree of attacks by the insurgents have clearly indicated they are well positioned to be at advantage of the ongoing calamity.
  5. While the Armed Forces groan in midst of poor working conditions and inadequate equipment, the Government has showed no appreciative effort to call to account the natural and artificial persons who have mismanaged various security contracts resulting in failure in national security; and consequently making the total sum requested by Federal Government to violate the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) which authorizes borrowing only for capital expenditure and human development.
  6. It is worrisome that such request to obtain whopping sum comes few months to 2015 general elections with the previous allegations of huge sums expend on campaign financing by the present administration; thus threatening the sincerity and honesty of the fundamental purpose of the loan.
  7. The recent lamentation by Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro on the lack of critical military equipment for the military in the last 25 years has further indicated total mismanagement and poor accountability in the nation’s security affairs.

CISLAC therefore,  

  1. Commends the Senate for its prompt response against such loan that violates the provision of Fiscal Responsibility Act; and calls on National Assembly to bring to account, all persons linked or attributed to mismanagement of security votes since 2011 to date.
  2. Demands immediate and patriotic efforts to recover and return the mismanaged and looted security funds back to the treasury.
  3. Calls for thorough and exhaustive audit of defence spending since the return to civil rule in 1999 by National Assembly and other relevant stakeholders.
  4. Urges the National Assembly and all well-meaning Nigerians to disregard duplicitous request to augment security vote without accountability for the past whopping sums allocated to the sector.  
  5. Advises the federal government to instead of subjecting the country to unnecessary debt, exchange the nation’s resource such as crude oil for military hardware like other needy countries have done in the past.
  6. Reminds the National Assembly that it owns Nigerians total accountability in any approval of deceitful request.
  7. Urges the Federal Government to embrace the suggestion of the international communities offering to assist Nigeria to curtail insecurity.  

CISLAC further commends the National Assembly, media and all well-meaning Nigerians who restrained themselves from such request that could further sabotage Nigeria’s economic.

Signed

Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)

Executive Director of CISLAC

Senate Snubs President Jonathan’s N160 Billion Loan Request

The Senate yesterday proceeded on two months annual recess without considering the request by President Goodluck Jonathan to take a foreign loan of $1 billion to finance the fight against Boko Haram insurgents.

Jonathan had on Wednesday written to the two chambers of the National Assembly seeking permission to borrow $1 billion (N160 billion) external loan to combat Boko Haram.

The President wrote to Senate President David Mark on the need to upgrade arms and ammunition for the nation’s Armed Forces to fortify them in the fight against insurgency.

However, the upper chamber did not list the item on its order paper of yesterday and has adjourned sittings to September which is contrary to its procedures and conventions where executive communications are usually given immediate attention, our correspondent reports.

The red chamber conducted other legislative businesses including passage of bills and consideration of some reports without making any reference to the request before adjourning plenary till Tuesday, September 16.

Since 2011, the Federal Government has spent not less than N1 trillion annually on defence and security sectors, all aimed at tackling the Boko Haram insurgency.

Source: allafrica.com

Manual for Civil Society Engagment with the Legislature

Legislature more than any other organs of governance embodies the sprite of democracy. It is also easier for this body to give connect to the principles of democracy. It can do this through consultative processes.  Even more important, modern legislatures must see themselves as agents and tools for development. As the authority for appropriate public funds, and ensure the effective utilization of these funds, the legislature is central to development of the society. This centrality is located in context that has framed the legislature as the key to the demanding inclusion and accountability in the budget processes, which is the key instrument for development. By even with the wider context of the functions and responsibilities of the legislature, which is law making, inclusion is critical to the process of the country and to the prospect for the deepening and consolidation of democratic systems and practice. By partnering with civil society organizations, it can hope to achieve three things.

Click the link below to download the full text: https://www.dropbox.com/s/t681p1h9pjssxic/CISLAC%20MANUAL%20FOR%20CIVIL%20SOCIETY%20ENGAGEMENT.pdf

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE MAIDEN MEETING OF THE NATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY FORUM ORGANIZED BY THE INSTITUTE FOR PEACE AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION (IPCR) IN COLLABORATION WITH CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) IN THE CONFERENCE HALL OF INSTITUTE FOR PEACE AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION, CENTRAL AREA, ABUJA ON THE 15th JULY, 2014

Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) in collaboration with Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) convened the maiden meeting of the National Peace and Security Forum. The objectives was to provide sufficient cooperation by all citizens, civil society organizations (CSOs) and think tanks to develop insights and be able to attract information from various levels that will be particularly useful for early warning and early response. The meeting discussed strategies, options and alternatives for our security institutions in combating insecurity in Nigeria. There were 42 participants in attendance including representatives from the Security Institutions, MDAs, CSOs, IPCR, NSRP, INEC, NEMA and the National Orientation Agency. After exhaustive deliberations on the issues, the following observations and recommendations were made:

 OBSERVATIONS:

  • Crimes and threats to Peace and Security have dramatically increased since 1999 when Nigeria resumed its democratic experiment. This democracy gave room for the emergence of the current insurgency threats since 2002.
  • The failure to counter security threats and crimes at incubation can only be blamed on our current methods of operations which promote turf protection, politicization of security claims as well as indifference to security matters.
  • There is lack of inter-agency collaboration amongst security institutions; superior knowledge claim and partisanship of CSOs and Media are cumulative tools that have deepened conflict in Nigeria. 
  • There is no articulated document on the National Security Strategy, except an ad hoc statement from government; this has narrowed strategies, approaches and options available to security and non-security apparatus in Nigeria.
  • Political actors have refused or failed to use intelligence and report in critical decision making process thereby creating weak systems, Structures and institutions.
  • There is no harmonized emergency response platform, weak identification of nationals as a means of security check, poor ICT and data availability and weak witness protection program.

 Recommendations:

  • There is need for the forum to engage actively in advocacy to relevant authorities for the adoption of the National Peace Policy as an instrument to promoting peace at all level in the country.
  • All security agencies should embrace new dynamics of security paradigms in the ongoing campaign on counter insurgencies, Early warning system and response as well as depoliticizing issues around security.
  • There is need to strengthen inter agency collaboration at state and National level between democratic, intelligence and action agencies, as well as build linkages to the Joint Intelligence Board, Intelligence Community Council Meeting and the National Emergency Board.
  • The forum should advocate for the Office of the National Security Adviser to finalize and release the recently validated draft of the National Security Strategy for the use of all security institution and the public alike.
  • Political actors are charged to demonstrate political will in responding to intelligence reports, implementation of past recommendations from various peace panels as well as build synergy with the citizenry to collect sensitive information whilst the forum is expected to carry out mapping of organizations working Early Warning System.
  • Simulate all emergency platform and popularize them to collect, collate and analyze information, forum to build capacity of emergency call center operators, advocacy to National Identity Management Commission to harmonize records and introduce unique identification codes.

Conclusion:

The meeting elected a co-chair of the National Peace and Security Forum from the Directorate of State Security Service. Participants expressed their appreciation to Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC). They also thanked Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Program (NSRP) for providing the support. Stakeholders fully demonstrated readiness to collaborating with all stakeholders on issues of conflict and security as a tool to sustain the engagement with the aim of promoting Peace in Nigeria.

Signed:

Dr. Joseph H.P. Golwa

Director General

Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR)

Abuja

 

Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)

Executive Director

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)

Abuja

 

Kubua Gabriel

Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)

FCT Command

NHQ, Abuja

 

Dangiri A.A

Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)

Abuja

Tobacco Control Update (September 2013 to April 2014)

Click the link below to download Tobacco Control Update for September, 2013:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/dmoylj360o7gt3y/CISLAC%20September%20Tobacco%20Update.pdf

Click the link below to download Tobacco Control Update for October, 2013:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/he5kpchzzpk2nm3/CISLAC%20October%20Tobacco%20Update%201.pdf

Click the link below to download Tobacco Control Update for November, 2013:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9943lq3n936vqyn/CISLAC%20November%20Tobacco%20Control%20Update%20PDF.pdf

Click the link below to download Tobacco Control Update for December 2013:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/c64a1e85kyasmlq/CISLAC%20DEC%20TCU.pdf

Click the link below to download Tobacco Control Update for January, 2014:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zcb8xua7tvjlf7v/CISLAC%20JAN%20TCU.pdf

Click the link below to download Tobacco Control Update for February, 2014:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/d9cu73pabq34f11/CISLAC%20February%20Tobacco%20Control%202014%20PDF.pdf

Click the link below to download Tobacco Control Update for March, 2014:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/v1s0uvokel4838e/CISLAC%20March%202014%20TCU%20pdf.pdf

Click the link below to download Tobacco Control Update for April, 2014:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mw3zi4jau3l5my3/CISLAC%20April%202014%20TCU%20pdf%202.pdf

PRESENTATION OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CISLAC, MR. AUWAL IBRAHIM MUSA (RAFSANJANI) AT THE OFFICIAL LAUNCHING OF FOUR COUNTRIES REPORTS ON VETTING AND SELECTION OF UN PEACEKEEPERS IN NEW YORK

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has been honoured to be part of this research effort and indeed this official presentation and launch of the four countries reports on Vetting and Selection of UN Peacekeepers.

As Nigeria is one of the United Nations’ (UN) largest troop contributing countries, CISLAC felt it was important to research the policies and practices in the selection of peacekeepers from our country. This is further so because, as many will remember, Nigerian peacekeeping troops have repeatedly been involved in serious human right violations and abuses, which have undermined the country’s image in the international community. For instance, the conduct of Nigerian forces in Liberia in the 1990s where they were implicated in the sexual abuse of many women resulting in many unwanted pregnancies and the recent case in 2011 when a unit of a Nigerian police peacekeeping contingent was withdrawn from Congo for sexual misconduct have damaged Nigeria’s international reputation.

Consequently, CISLAC and its partners with support from Open Society Foundation carried out this critical study to identify recommendations to various challenges facing vetting and selection of UN Peacekeepers in Nigeria.

The 57-page report first provides historical facts and figures regarding the Nigerian Army; and the influence of over 30 years’ military rules through six coups and counter-coups on civilian governance and politics. The Chapter provides historical accounts of the Nigerian Army’s engagements in United Nations Peacekeeping and domestic factors such as persistent killings of innocent civilians by Boko Haram insurgents across the northern part of the country necessitating the recall of some Nigerian peacekeepers from missions in Mali and Darfur.

More relevant to this research are recent reports that Nigerian Army and Police Force personnel have engaged in rape and sexual violence during the anti-insurgency operations against Boko Haram. There has to be serious concern that some of those involved in such violations may be selected for UN peacekeeping and that another Congo situation could present itself. Similarly, some of the Nigerian forces currently serving with the African Union forces in the Central African Republic could become UN peacekeepers. Among them could also be people who have committed serious human rights violations at home in Nigeria.

We regret the lack of a published vetting system within the Nigerian Army; the inadequate cross-referencing between the units and the Department of Army Administration during selection of peacekeepers and the influence of socio-economic and political factors on the process. There is no doubt that these factors have resulted in selection of unqualified candidates for peacekeeping operations and indeed other selection processes. The research found that no fewer than 211 Nigerian soldiers out of 1,377 vetted in 2012 to receive American training were rejected or suspended by the US on the basis of human rights concerns. The high level of corruption that has permeated the selection, recruitment, promotion and abuse of policies and procedures in the Nigerian Army is closely connected to this.

Chapter two of the report provides overview of the Nigeria Police Force and United Nations Peacekeeping. It demonstrates how protracted military rule, widespread insecurity, corruption, ethnic and religious conflicts, annulment of a presidential election in 1993 and the military dictatorship that followed impacted on the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and its policing tasks. The Nigerian Police Force has developed a reputation for being inefficient and unprofessional as a result of widespread incidence of corruption and extortion by a significant proportion of its members.

Consequently, several policy reform initiatives introduced by the Government and Force have failed to re-install the reputation of the NPF. The research also reveals a lack of human right training during recruitment at the existing Police Academies and Police Training Schools in Nigeria.

The continuous expansion in the size of the police force and decline in professionalism and effectiveness in part of the force over the years, resulting in poor policing in the country. It explains how financial rewards have influenced selection for peacekeeping assignments.

As with the Nigerian Army, the research found no published guidelines or standards setting out the peacekeeping selection policies for Police officers. The Force only requires its officers to have a minimum of five years of police service to participate in either UN or African Union operations. Despite documented evidence on widespread and systematic abuse by police, including torture and extra-judicial killings occurring regardless of the government in power, there is little or no accountability and it cannot be excluded that those sent on peacekeeping have been involved in such violations.

CHALLENGES:

The challenges identifies include

1. Lack of transparency in the police vetting system;

2. Corruption during recruitment, selection and the administration of payment of peacekeepers;

3. Lack of human rights policy;

4. Lack of policy on sexual exploitation and abuse;

5. Inadequate content for pre-deployment training;

6. Insufficient mechanisms for public input and oversight bodies; and

7. Gender discrimination.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

As recommendations to various challenges facing vetting and selection of peacekeepers from the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Police Force, the report demands prompt development of a National Policy on Peacekeeping Support Operations in line with the 2012 UN policy on human rights screening. Such a policy should detail among other things the principles, criteria, processes and mechanisms for the selection of peacekeeping personnel as well as create civilian oversight mechanisms.

We also recommend:

1. The development of relevant policies on sexual exploitation and abuse, and investigations of human rights violations by the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Police Force;

2. Speedy and full integration of women into the pool of peacekeeping operations in both the military and the police;

3. Establishment of Peacekeeping Operations Offices in all arms of the Nigerian Armed Forces;

4.Thorough screening for human rights violations as a system to monitor the selection of all contributor components for peacekeeping;

5. Development of a functional and easy-to-mine database on the conduct of members of Armed Forces and the Nigerian Police;

6. Involvement of the National Human Rights Commission in vetting for both the Nigerian Armed Forces and Police;

7. Fast-tracking the establishment of a Peacekeeping Training Institute for the Police alongside institutional supports;

8. Adequate review of the curricula of all military and police training institutions with a view to mainstream human rights and gender issues in their programmes and

9.Strengthening oversight mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability in the payment of peacekeepers’ allowances, among others.

CISLAC believes workable implementation of these recommendations will help to sanitize the Nigerian Armed Forces and Police Force and result in more accountable forces at home and more disciplined and effective forces abroad.

Finally, our gratitude goes to Open Society Institute, New York for supporting this research; our researcher Engr. Yunusa Zakaria Ya’u, CISLAC staff, the Asia Centre for Human Rights, India for the overall coordination of the report; and all other groups and individuals that contributed.

Thanks
Auwal I.Musa Rafsanjani

Why Legislatures must Prioritize Value for Money

By Abubakar Jimoh

As part of the efforts to enhance capacity of parliamentarians in addressing key bottlenecks in improving value for money to achieve maximum benefits from the money expend on social sectors, and promote transparency and accountability across Africa, African Development Bank Group (AfDB) organised a two days Capacity Building on Value for Money, Sustainability and Accountability in Social Sectors for Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) members of Parliament in Lagos from 19th to 20th June, 2014.

While spelling out the objectives of the event, the Director Nigeria Country Office of AfDB, Mr. Dore Ousmane in his introductory remark noted among the others things “to discuss key challenges and share knowledge and best practices in implementing strategies that advance the value for money in social sector; build capacity of parliamentarians to play their role in ensuring furthering of value for money; and identify areas of in-depth capacity building and continued learning on improving value for money.”