The Nigeria Civil Society Situation, a coalition of civil society organisations, on Wednesday in Abuja condemned the National Assembly’s proposal to change the order of elections already set by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The convener of the group, Clement Nwankwo, told newsmen that the move by the legislatures was an unwarranted interference in the constitutional powers of INEC to determine the conduct of elections.
Mr Nwankwo also said that it would further interfere with the powers of INEC to carry out its electoral duties without directives or control from any person or authority, using the instrumentality of legislation.
“This is unacceptable and is hereby condemned; the National Assembly needs to backtrack from passing self-serving legislation that contradicts constitutional guarantees of the independence of INEC.
“Additionally, the National Assembly needs to backtrack from passing self-serving legislations that contradicts constitutional guarantees of the independence of INEC,’’ he said.
Mr Nwankwo said that the Situation Room also expressed grave concern about the current state of affairs in the country.
He noted that insecurity, kidnappings, killings and unrestrained crime pervades across the country.
“Yet, the security agencies have exhibited unparalleled incapacity and incompetence to deal with the problem.
“The Nigerian nation appears to be descending into chaos before our very eyes and the government’s inability to confront the challenges and provide security for our people is becoming very alarming and frightening.
“Citizens are seriously losing faith in the ability of security agencies to protect their lives and secure their properties.
“Never before has the effectiveness and competence of our security agencies been questioned this much as we have today,’’ he said.
Mr Nwankwo said that the group was determined to carry out nationwide comprehensive and effective observation of the forthcoming 2019 Nigeria General Elections.
He said that the Situation Room was also concerned about the delays in the passage of the amendments to the Constitutional and Legal framework for the conduct of the 2019 elections.
He said that apart from the incapacity of the security services, another major concern was that security services had failed to apply evenness, balance or fairness in the manner in which they carry out their work.
He said that other major concerns of Situation Room was the growing and unabated levels of violations of human rights of citizens by security and other agencies of government.
He said that the violations of Rule of law and Due process by agencies of government and the increasing levels of unemployment were also of great concern.
Mr Nwanko added that poor performance of the economy, general poor performance and high incompetence among appointed public officials were of great concern.
The convener said the group called on President Mohammadu Buhari to live up to his responsibility of securing lives and property of Nigerians and revamp the national security apparatus.
He said that this also included reconstituting the leadership of the security agencies to reflect the diversity and national character of the country.
He added that there was need to ensure that persons who head the security services had a clear understanding of modern security operations.
He advised Buhari to begin to hold his appointed officials to account by punishing the incompetence and high failure levels prevalent among his appointed public officials.