The Pan African Lawyers Union, a transcontinental professional organisation bringing together lawyers and jurists of the African Continent and the Diaspora, headquartered in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, Member of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union, our Assembly;
Having reviewed the situation in Nigeria and the on-going Constitutional Crisis, arising from the long absence of (over sixty-four days) of President Umar Yar’dua from Office on the ground of ill health and hospitalisation in a Saudi Arabian Hospital.
States that the impunity with which the Nigerian Constitution is being breached by those who are constitutionally empowered to act in the present circumstance, by filling the power vacuum created by the long absence of President Umar Yar’dua, namely: The President Yar’dua, the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly of Nigeria.
Emphasizes the fact that the situation in Nigeria does present a very serious threat to peace, security and in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, and could easily escalate into a wholescale constitutional crisis and instability of the country and Africa as it is presently the situation in Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mauritania,The Gambian and Niger.
Welcomes the attitude of the Nigerian Bar Association and other patriots who are in favour of up-holding the Nigerian Constitution to the letter;
Reiterates the need to abide by the provisions of Sections 144, 145 and 146 of the Nigerian Constitution which deals with transfer of power from the President to the Vice-President and are applicable in the present situation.
Denounces the avoidable political tension prevailing in the country, including insinuation for military intervention and other threats to democracy and a Just Rule of Law.
The PAN AFRICAN LAWYERS UNION Hereby:
1. FULLY ENDORSES all the steps taken so far by the Nigerian Bar Association and other patriots in calling for strict adherence to the Nigerian Constitution.
2. CALLS UPON:
1. President Umar Yar’dua, (in the interest of Democracy, a Just Rule of Law and personal sacrifice to the Nigerian State) to comply with the provisions of Section 145 of the Nigerian Constitution by forthwith transmitting a written declaration to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office.
2. In the alternative, calls on the Executive Council of the Federation of Nigeria, the President of the Senate and the House of Representatives to immediately evoke and ensure compliance with the provisions of Section 144 of the Nigerian Constitution by respectively passing the required resolution and making a declaration that President Umar Yar’dua is incapable of discharging the functions of his office; and causing the required Notice to be published in the official gazette.
3. On all Nigerians to uphold the Nigerian Constitution by supporting strict adherence to the Constitution, in order to ensure peace, security, stability and avoid constitutional crisis with its attendant human tragedies and woes.
3. CALLS UPON ECOWAS and the African Union to firmly request the strict adherence to the Nigerian Constitution.
The Pan African Lawyers Union
The President, The Secretary General
Akere T. Muna (of Lincoln’s Inn London), Akin Akinbote Esq.
26th Day of January, 2010