Says it is illegal, unconstitutional and indefensible

The National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Lai Mohammed, has said that the $40 million annual salary paid to ex-militants to guard pipelines in the Niger Delta is illegal, unconstitutional and indefensible.

Mohammed, who announced this in Abuja on Thursday, said one of the main causes of the overheating of the polity today ?is the reckless manner political power is exercised and monopolised by a few individuals”. He added that some actions and inaction of the current administration have lent credence to the widely held belief that “this administration is waging and exerting power only for the benefits of a section of the country.?

It will be recalled that on January 22, 2012, the party questioned the rationale behind the memo presented to the Federal Executive Council, seeking approval for a strategic concessionary partnership between NIMASA and Global West to enforce regulatory compliance and surveillance of the entire Nigerian maritime domain.

?We state again emphatically that it is totally unacceptable and unconscionable ? even unprecedented, especially in a fragile federation like ours ? for any government to hand over the security of its entire maritime domain to a private firm, a group of ex?militants for that matter, given the far reaching implications of such a decision for trade, security, ports and shipping of the country,? the party said.

?What is the agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan in allowing this to happen? Why would a government so willingly abdicate its responsibility of ensuring the security of its maritime domain? What were the ministers thinking when they approved this dangerous memo.”

Mohammed noted that the party is strongly against the handing over of the security of not only our entire maritime domain but also the responsibility of protecting our pipelines to ex-militants.

?In the first instance, a decision as momentous as this ought to have been a subject of rigorous national debate. The entire transaction lacks transparency and due process, and, finally, it passes a vote of no confidence in our armed forces and security agencies who are constitutionally mandated to provide these services,? he said.

The party also negated the claims that the country’s output had witnessed a boost since the ex-militants took over the security of Nigeria?s pipelines.

?The real issues at stake, apart from those raised above, are as aptly put by the spokesman for the Arewa Consultative Forum, Anthony Sani, that it is the inalienable right of Nigerians to know how they are governed and how their resources are allocated, and that the Federal Government must at all times conduct its affairs in conformity with the constitution of the country to ensure that no individual or section of the country dominates access to natural resources.?

The ACN called on the National Assembly to immediately reverse the development, in view of its national security implications.

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