June 12: Protesters, PDP chieftain tackle NASS over insecurity, 1999 constitution

A handful of youths on Saturday, in defiance of the Delta State Police’s directive, staged a peaceful protest in Warri, decrying the spate of insecurity in the country.

This is just as a stalwart of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Sunny Onuesoke, in the spirit of June 12, urged the National Assembly to work towards a new constitution for the country.

The protesters, who marched from Enerhen to Refinery Junction and stopped briefly at Airport and Jakpa junctions in Uvwie Local Government Area, said they defied the police authority because they have the “right” to protest in a democracy.

They bore placards with inscriptions such as “I can’t travel to the north without fear of being kidnapped. Fix our security,” “We voted change but got death instead. We don tire,” among others.

One of the protesters, Mulu Louis, said they defied the police directive not to protest “because it is our right to protest. The police directive cannot stop us from exercising our rights. We are tired, we are angry over the killings, the unknown gunmen shooting and kidnapping people.

“The economy is down, nothing is working in Nigeria. The minimum wage does not reflect on the masses. We are tired of the social media ban, them gagging us, not wanting us to raise our voices. You criticise the government you are arrested, we are tired!”

A female protester, Nkiru Mejire, charged women and young ladies to lend their voices to the call for good governance and join in the protests.

Chief Onuesoke, while advocating a new constitution, faulted the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, for saying the National Assembly cannot enact a new constitution for the country.

He accused the National Assembly of shying away from its constitutional responsibility and lacking the political will to muster such change.

“The Deputy Senate President is not being magnanimous with the truth. Before independence, there were series of constitutional enactments to reflect the changing political structure back then and of course, post-independence also saw that in 1960, 1963 and 1979 to reflect Nigeria’s independent status.

“So what is so special about the 1999 Constitution that it cannot be rewritten to reflect the current political realities of Nigeria.

“By virtue of Section 13 and 14 of the 1999 Constitution, the National Assembly has inherent power to make laws for the country as representatives of the people since it sates that sovereignty belongs to the people and by the way Section 15 of the same constitution gives them the power by an Act to give INEC other responsibilities.

“By this, I mean the National Assembly by an Act can give INEC the responsibility of conducting a National Referendum to create room for a new constitution within the purview of it responsibilities,” Onuesoke argued.



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