A paper presented at the Pre May Day lecture organised by the Joe Ajaero faction of the NLC on 30th April,2016 by Femi Aborisade

Comrade Femi Aborisade

Introduction

This paper is structured as follows:

  1. Definition of concepts – “inclusive society/social inclusion” and “sustainable development”.
  2. Elements of an inclusive society
    1. Transparency
    2. Constitutional Elements of an inclusive society.
  3. Challenges to building an inclusive and sustainable Nigerian society.
    1. Non-justiciability of Chapter 2 of the Constitution.
    2. Corruption.
    3. Resistance to paying a living wage.
    4. Climate change as a challenge to sustainable development.
    5. Respect for Fundamental Rights, Rule of Law and Obedience of Court Orders as Preconditions for an Inclusive and Sustainable Development.
  4. Conclusion

What is meant by social inclusion?

The concept of social inclusion refers to multi-dimensional processes aimed at creating conditions which enable full and active participation in the society. In other words, efforts at attaining social inclusion are efforts to consciously prevent social exclusion. Social exclusion occurs when individuals or groups are unable to participate, wholly or partially, in all aspects of the society in which they live.

The World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995)[2] defines an inclusive society as a “society for all in which every individual, each with rights and responsibilities, has an active role to play”. In the literature, it has been opined that “a society for all” can only be based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including respect for cultural and religious diversity, respect for special needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, promotion of policies to reduce income inequality and eliminate poverty.

From the standpoint of the World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995), a key element of an inclusive society is guaranteed universal access to the resources, rights and services which can enable socio-economic cum political participation in society. These include the right to work, public infrastructure, services and basic needs such as public schools, hospitals, water supplies, public/social housing, public libraries, recreational centres, resource centres with internet facilities, basic income, food, etc. Access of ordinary people to basic services and facilities will tend to eliminate feelings of frustration and exclusion from the benefits of common patrimony.

World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995) emphasis that an inclusive society must be based on the fundamental rights value and principle.

What is “sustainable development”?

There is no single acceptable definition of “sustainable development”. The definition that appears common in the literature is that offered by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), which defines “sustainable development” as “development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising future generations to meet their own needs. Central to the IISD definition is the concern with “need” – the critical needs of the world’s poor, which ought to be given overriding priority.

 

The concept of sustainable development is therefore concerned with how to manage societal resources today in order to guarantee the welfare of ordinary people at the present in such a way that does not disturb the welfare of future generations.

 

A critical concern is that in Nigeria, a government that is unable to manage resources for the satisfaction of current generation can hardly be bothered with future generations.  Governments that are unable to pay wages as and when due can hardly spare a thought for the future.

 

ELEMENTS OF AN INCLUSIVE SOCIETY

There are several elements of an inclusive society. I intend to discuss two (2) in this section of the paper. They are transparent and constitutional elements.

 

Transparent elements of an inclusive society

An institutionalised transparent governance process may involve the following elements:

  • Making it constitutionally mandatory for public sector officers (particularly those occupying elective offices and the top appointed officers, such as Ministers, Commissioners, judges, board members, directors and management cadre in all government bodies and state owned enterprises) to publicly declare their assets and interests annually.
  • A commission such as the Code of Conduct Bureau should be created to administer the register of interests for senior public officers. The registers should be audited each year by the relevant Auditor General.
  • The registers of interests and assets should be accessible to the public, e.g. by being put online and in libraries that are accessible to the public.
  • Public projects to be executed through direct labour or Public-Public Partnerships, nationally or internationally.
  • Where public projects have to be awarded to private contractors, such should be monitored by democratic bodies involving representatives of local communities, trade unions and professional bodies, in addition to the oversight role of the legislature.
  • All procurement notices, received bids and contract awards to be published on local notice boards and on the internet.
  • All procurement boards to include local representatives of trade unions and professional bodies.
  • All service establishments, for example, public hospitals, health centres, primary schools, etc to publish accounts of money and goods received and how the money was spent, each month
  • The Federal Inland Revenue Service and state inland revenue services should report full details of the revenue they collect each month and the tax paid by all rich individuals (with monthly incomes above N5million and/or around ten times average per capita GDP) should be published on the internet.
  • Daily publication of earnings from sale of crude oil in the international market.
  • All public sector salaries (particularly those of the executive and legislative arms of government) to be published on local notice boards and on the internet.
  • Elected public officers to be on national minimum wage, provided incidentals are reimbursed. Alternatively, no elected public officer should earn more than 10 times the minimum wage so that inequality is within the context of the inequality of the human fingers.

 

Constitutional Elements Of An Inclusive Society

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended aims at building an inclusive society that is needs-based or rights-based.

 

The socio-economic rights constitutionally guaranteed include:

  • Right to General welfare and security : the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government (S. 14(2)( (b);
  • Provision of Transportation: adequate facilities for movement of people, goods and services throughout the Federation (S. 15(3)(a);
  • Provision of Physiological needs: suitable and adequate shelter, suitable and adequate food, reasonable national minimum living wage, old age care and pensions, and unemployment, sick benefits and welfare of the disabled are provided for all citizens (S. 16(2)(d);
  • Right to employment or unemployment allowance: section 16 (2)(d) and 17(3)(a), CFRN, 1999 – all citizens, without discrimination on any group whatsoever, [shall] have the opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employment. Currently in the UK, there is an unemployment allowance of £57.90 per week for under 25.
  • Conditions of work: [it shall be ensured that] conditions of work are just and humane, and that there are adequate facilities for leisure and for social, religious and cultural life (S. 17(3)(b); Also, the state is to put in place policies to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of all persons in employment are safeguarded and not endangered or abused (S. 17(3)(c);
  • Right to health, including sick benefits/allowance: adequate medical and health facilities for all persons (Ss. 16(2)(d) & 17(3) (d), CFRN, 1999. In the UK, medical care is free at the point of need, regardless of the health condition.
  • Gender sensitive rights – Right to equal pay: for equal work without discrimination on account of sex, or on any other ground whatsoever (S. 17(3) (e);
  • Right of the child: children, young persons and the aged are [entitled to be] protected against any exploitation whatsoever, and against moral and material neglect (S. 17(3)f);
  • Right to public assistance in conditions of need (S. 17(3)(g);
  • Right to education, from cradle to grave: free, compulsory and universal primary education; free secondary, university education and adult literacy programme (S. 18(3)(a) to (d). Currently, in the UK, there is a students’ loan scheme of £14,000 per annum. Out of this, a typical university student pays £9,000 tuition fees and uses £5,000 for his or her upkeep. It should be noted that the student is only required to pay back the loan only if s/he is employed and earns above £21,000 salaries per year. Otherwise, the loan is not required to be paid back.
  • Right to a safe environment: The State shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air and land, forest and wild life of Nigeria (S. 20).

In order to ensure that the State has the capacity to fund socio-economic rights that require budgetary provision to execute, S. 16 of Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended[3], provides essentially for state ownership and control of the major sectors of the economy. That the state shall:

  • manage and operate the major sectors of the economy, without prejudice to equally operating or participating in other sectors of the economy (S. 16(1)(c)
  • protect the right of every citizen to engage in any economic activities outside the major sectors of the economy, even though any person may still participate in the major sectors of the economy (S. 16(1)(d);
  • not operate the economic system in such a manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of few individuals or of a group (S. 16(2)(c);
  • ensure that the material resources of the nation are harnessed and distributed as best as possible to serve the common good; (S. 16(2)(b);
  • control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity (S. 16(1)(b).

 

CHALLENGES TO BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE NIGERIAN SOCIETY

Some of the key challenges in building an inclusive and sustainable society include the following:

 

  1. Non-justiciability of Chapter 2 of the Constitution.
  2. Corruption.
  3. Resistance to paying a living wage.
  4. Climate change as a challenge to sustainable development.
  5. Respect for Fundamental Rights, Rule of Law and Obedience of Court Orders as Preconditions for an Inclusive and Sustainable Development.

 

 

NON-JUSICIABILITY OF CHAPTER 2 OF THE CONSTITUTION

The change in the governance of Nigeria that is required is that the wealth of Nigeria must be used to satisfy the basic needs of ordinary people rather than being used for the satisfaction of the greed of the rulers. The wealth of Nigeria may be used to meet the welfare of ordinary people if Chapter 2 is made justiciable. But the predominant judicial attitude is that Chapter 2 is not justiciable. An urgent campaign issue is to mount pressurize to ensure that all constitutional impediments making Chapter 2 non-justiciable are removed.

The change that is required in the governance of Nigeria lies in ensuring a constitutional amendment that would make it a crime for any government official who fails to implement Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution. Chapter 2 is the most important part of the Constitution.

The campaign to make chapter 2 justiciable may be enhanced where it is appreciated that the predominant judicial attitude that Chapter 2 is not justiciable, is politics, not law and that there are several provisions in the same Constitution that provide for justiciability of Chapter 2. In other words, a community reading of all relevant sections of the Constitution make chapter 2 justiciable. These sections are:

  1. 6(6)(c), CFRN, 1999
  2. 1(1), CFRN, 1999.
  3. Section 13, CFRN, 1999.
  4. section 224, CFRN, 1999, and
  5. Item 60(a) of the Exclusive Legislative List.
  6. The Oaths sworn to by the President, Vice President, Governor, Deputy Governor, Minister, Commissioner, Special Adviser and members of the National Assembly and House of Assembly of the State includes “striv[ing] to preserve” Chapter 2 of the Constitution.

S.6(6)(C) Does Not Completely Foreclose Justiciability of Chapter II It allows justiciability or enforcement of Chapter 2 if there is provision for enforcement in any other section of the Constitution.

  1. 1(1), CFRN, 1999, as amended, proclaims the supremacy and bindingness of the Constitution and Chapter 2 being part of the Constitution, is therefore binding.

Section 13 provides that all authorities and persons exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers ‘shall’ observe and apply Chapter II.

Section 224 provides that:

‘The programme as well as the aims and objects of a political party shall conform with the provisions of Chapter II of this Constitution’ (S. 224, CFRN, 1999).

Item 60(a) of the Exclusive Legislative List places responsibility on the Federal Government to establish and regulate ‘authorities for the Federation or any part thereof – to promote and enforce the observance of the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles contained in this Constitution’

 

CORRUPTION

Research findings have shown that inequality and corruption are positively correlated. Countries with high levels of corruption tend also to have high levels of inequality.  Therefore, the labour movement should argue that the fight against corruption must simultaneously be linked with measures to reduce inequality.

 

The labour movement should adopt a broad perception of corruption which suggests that corruption is the abuse of public power for private benefit/profit. In this regard, violation of the constitution, rules and regulation for private benefit is a form of corruption, which should equally be punished. Unless corruption is defined in this broad perspective, the fight against corruption may itself be dubious and corrupt.

 

Our proposed definition of corruption brings privatization policy within the framework of corrupt acts. As we have shown above, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, provides that the economic system shall not be operated in such a manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of few individuals or of a group (CFRN, 1999, S. 16(2)(c).

 

Within the framework of the Constitution, the labour movement should resist the planned privatization of the refineries. Government should take the fight against corruption to the oil and gas subsector. Those who have diverted the investments meant to carry out Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) over the decades should be brought to justice. Establish more refineries and carry out repairs of the existing ones. Ensure the refineries acquire the capacity to refine the crude for both domestic consumption and export

 

Indeed, reversing the privatization of the 1,500 public enterprises already privatized at all levels of government is the ‘change’ the labour movement has a historic responsibility to fight for.

 

Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)[4] & Privatisation

Sections 136(5), 324 (4), 324 (5) of the Petroleum Industry Bill represent the essence of the primary goal of the PIB as presently formulated – to implement a neoliberal privatization agenda under various guises – sale or divestiture of Federal Government’s interests and concession.

 

  1. 136 (1) establishes the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, otherwise called ‘’the National Oil Company’’. It shall be a limited liability company and shall be the successor company to the assets and liabilities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. Section 136(4) provides that ownership of the National Oil company shall be vested solely in the Federal Government of Nigeria at the time of incorporation. But S. 136 (5) provides that the Federal Government may at any time after two years from the date of incorporation decide to divest itself of any amount of shares in the National Oil Company for sale to the Nigerian public on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

 

  1. 324(1) also provides for the establishment of National Transport Logistics Company which shall be vested with ownership of the products pipelines and depot systems currently owned by the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, and ownership of the gas transportation pipelines currently owned by the Nigerian Gas Company.

 

Concession as a Form of Privatization:

While S. 324 (2) provides that the National Transport Logistics Company shall be wholly owned by the Nigerian State, S. 324 (4) provides that the products pipelines and depot systems shall be divided into segments and each segment shall be concessioned out to facility management companies who shall be in charge of the management and operation of the said products pipelines and depot systems.

 

Licensing as a Form of Privatization:

 

  1. 324 (5) provides that the gas transportation pipelines system shall be licensed out to a gas facility management company.

 

From the foregoing, privation of NNPC which successive regimes could not do executively is what is intended to be achieved legislatively through the PIB.

 

Let us recall that in the twilight of the regime of former President Obasanjo, there was a rushed cheap sale of two out of the four state-owned refineries, the Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries, as well as some other national assets. The nationwide strike of June 2007, involving the two oil workers unions, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), compelled the then newly elected regime of President Yar’ Adua to reverse the sale.

 

The Nigerian labour movement should embrace the programme of “Nigeria not for sale” drawn up in the early ‘80s by the NLC.

 

RESISTANCE TO PAYMENT OF A LIVING WAGE

We support the demand for an upward review of the National Minimum Wage to N56,000 minimum wage as a demand to facilitate an inclusive and sustainable society.

Gas flaring

Among other leakages that government has a responsibility to block, we draw attention to research findings that have shown that apart from the disastrous effects of gas flaring on climate change, the economic loss of gas flaring to the country could range from $2.5 – $17 billion yearly[5].

$200 billion US dollars in UAE

According to Senator Sheu Sani, speaking in his capacity as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign and Domestic Debts, “Over $200 billion Dollars are stashed away from Nigeria to Dubai alone.  I am not talking about estates and bonds and other securities bought with Nigeria stolen money.”

 

Looting as antithetical to sustainable development

Femi Falana, SAN, in a letter dated 8/4/16, addressed to the Minister of Finance, has listed about 18 sources of looted funds, urging the the Federal Government to muster the political will and courage to recover the aforesaid withheld or stolen wealth of not less than $200 billion belonging to the Nigerian people. They include the following:

S/N Source Amount
1. Relying on the National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) that established, from five cycles of independent audit reports  covering 1999-2012, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), some oil companies and certain agencies of the federal government had withheld $20.2 billion for the Federation Account. $20.2bn
2. Bail outs to banks by the CBN (2006, $7 billion); (2008, N600 billion or $4 billion).

 

$11bn
3. On September 6, 2016 the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) announced that arrangements had been concluded to recover the sum of $9.6 billion in over-deducted tax benefits from joint venture partners on major capital projects and oil swap contracts. $9.6bn
4. Outstanding sum due from Mobil Producing Nig. Unlimited. Sometime in 2009, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited applied to the federal government for the renewal of three oil blocks. The NNPC asked Mobil to pay the sum of $2.5 billion for the renewal of the licences. But without any reason, Mobil paid only $600 million . $1.9bn
5. $4bn unlawfully collected from CBN between 1998-2014 by the Federal Government out of over $5 billion stolen from the vaults of the CBN by the late General Sani Abacha. $4bn
6. Unpaid royalty running into hundreds of millions of dollars owed by the oil and gas companies operating in the in the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin since the 15 year break (from 1999) allowed for non-payment of royalties  ended  in 2014, by virtue of the Deep Offshore Inland Sharing Contract Decree enacted in 1999 by the Abdulsalami Abubakar military junta for the benefit of oil and gas companies operating in the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin. Hundreds of millions of dollars
7. The contract awarded to ZTE, (a Chinese company) in 2009 by the federal government for the construction of CCTV cameras in Abuja and Lagos, which was not performed. Recover thy of the contract sum of $470 million is logical and equitable. $470 million
8. In the Appropriation Act, 2011 the sum of N245 billion was earmarked for fuel subsidy. In violation of the budget law the federal government fraudulently paid out N2.5 trillion ($16 billion) to a cabal of fuel importers. $16bn
9. On July 6, 2012 the Supreme Court of Nigeria set aside the fraudulent sale of the federal government owned Aluminium Smelting Company of Nigeria (ASCON) located in Akwa Ibom state to RUSAL for $250 million and directed the company be sold to BFIG, the winner of the bid for $410 million. The federal government should direct the National Council of Privatisation to comply with the judgment. The federal government stands to realise an additional sum of $160 million from the sale $160m
10. For contravention of the law on compulsory registration of all SIM cards the NCC imposed a fine of $5.2 billion on MTN last year. Based on plea by the MTN management and the intervention of the Government of South Africa the fine was reduced to $3.9 billion out of which MTN has paid the paltry sum of $250 million. Since MTN has withdrawn the suit challenging the payment of the fine the federal government should take steps to ensure the prompt payment of the outstanding balance of $3.65 billion $3.65 billion
11. Estimated recoverable amount  from oil theft over a 10-year period based on current findings by a team of lawyers commissioned by thee Federal Government under the Jonathan Administration $100bn
12. Amount that the NNPC agreed was not remitted to the Federation account (between January 2012 and July 2013) after reconciliation by the Federal Government instead of $20bn alleged by the former CBN Governor, then Mallam Sanusi Lamido $10.8bn
13. Rising from its monthly meeting at Abuja on September 17, 2015 the National Economic Council accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of failing to remit N3.8 trillion to the Federation Account under the Jonathan administration. The Council set up a committee of 3 state governors to trace the missing fund. Last month, the Auditor-General of the Federation indicted the NNPC for withholding N3.2 trillion from the Federation Account in 2014. The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission has said that “ the total indebtedness of the NNPC to the Federation Account is N4.9 trillion (or ($32.6bn). $32.6bn
14. A week before the 8/4/16 date on Mr Falana’s letter, a firm of auditors revealed that out of the sum of $6.4 billion realised from the sale of crude oil and gas by the Federal Government in the first quarter of 2016 the NNPC remitted only $2 billion to the Federation Account and withheld the sum of $4.2 billion. Up till now the NNPC has not explained how much of the sum of $4.2 billion was spent on its operations in 3 months. $4.2bn
15. The arms fund diverted to personal accounts from the office of the National Security Adviser under President Jonathan $8bn
16. Halliburton scandal About $200m
17. sale of the OPM 245 for $1.3 billion otherwise known as malabu oil deal. $1.3bn

 

 

 

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF GOVERNORS AND DEPUTY GOVERNORS PENSION LAWS IN LAGOS, OYO AND KWARA STATES[6]

Those who earn kleptocratic governors’ pensions who are also earning fat salaries and allowances either as Ministers or legislators have no moral right to argue that downturn in the economy cannot accommodate N56,000 National Minimum Wage.

State Lagos state[7] Kwara State[8] Oyo State[9]
Rate of Pension Pension for life at the rate equivalent to the annual basic salary of the incumbent governor or deputy governor, as the case may be. (similar to the provision in the Lagos State law but with the clarification that the rate is equivalent to 100% of the annual basic salary of the incumbent Governor and Deputy Governor and other benefits as provided by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission. (similar provision as that of Lagos State Law with the additional clarification that “Salary” shall include allowances.
Retroactive effect The law is mandatorily applicable to “any person who held office as an elected Governor or Deputy Governor from the year 1967”. The law makes use of the word, “shall” – such persons “shall be entitled to this Pension Scheme.”
Review Period To be reviewed every 5 years or when there is salary review of the political office holders by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission in line with section 210 (3) of the CFRN, 1999. Similar provision to that of Lagos State law[10].
Accommodation (i). One residential house each for the Governor and Deputy Governor at any location of their choice in Lagos State, and (ii) one residential house in the Federal Capital Territory for the Governor on 2 consecutive terms. (i). A well furnished five (5) Bedroom Duplex for the Governor; (ii). A well furnished four (4) Bedroom Duplex for the Deputy Governor (at any location of their choice in the State).
House Maintenance 10% of Annual basic salary 10% of annual basic salary.
Transport (a). Three cars for the Governor and in addition 1 Pilot and 2 backup cars to be replaced every 3 years (i.e. 6 cars every 3 years)

(b). Two cars for the Deputy Governor and in addition 1 Pilot and 1 backup car to be replaced every 3 years (i.e. 4 cars every 3 years).

(i). 2 cars for the Governor and in addition 1 Pilot car to be replaced every 3 years. (ii). 1 car for the Deputy Governor and in addition 1 pilot car to be replaced every 3 years (i.e. 3 and 2 cars for the former Governor and former deputy Governor, every 3 years, respectively).
Car Maintenance 30% of annual basic salary (Similar provision as that of Lagos State law).
Furniture 300% of annual basic salary. 300% of annual basic salary, payable every four years enbloc. 300% of the annual basic salary[11]
Domestic Staff Cook, Steward, Gardener and other domestic staff who shall be pensionable. Cook, Steward, Gardener and two other domestic staff who shall be pensionable.
Staff Provision (Administrative)/Personal Assistant 25% of annual basic salary. (i). 1 Administrative officer, (ii) 1 Personal Secretary, and 25% of annual basic salary.
Medical Free medical treatment for the Governor and Deputy Governor and members of their immediate families (similar provision to that of Lagos State Law).
Security Two State Security Service (SSS) details for the Governor and one female officer; one SSS detail for the Deputy Governor; Eight policemen (four each for house and personal security) for the Governor; Two policemen (one each for house and personal security) for the deputy Governor. To be provided as listed below: 2 State Security Service (SSS) details for the Governor and one female officer; 1 SSS detail for the Deputy Governor; Eight policemen for the Governor; 2 policemen for the deputy Governor.

 

 

 

Drivers The drivers shall be pensionable. (Similar provision as that of Lagos State Law).
Entertainment 10% of annual basic salary. (Similar provision as that of Lagos State law).
Utility 20% of annual basic salary. (Similar provision as that of Lagos State law).
Leave allowance 10% of annual basic salary[12].
Severance allowance 300% of the annual basic salary[13].
Mode of budgetary allocation Pension granted shall be a charge upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State (Similar provision as that of Lagos State law). (Similar provision as that of Lagos State law).

It should be noted that:

  1. The Pension Laws being implemented predominantly in the states (and particularly in the private sector) is a contributory pension scheme as against the non-contributory, Pay As You Go (PAYG) scheme being enjoyed by the Governors and Deputy Governors for life.
  2. There is no pension scheme or minimum income guarantee scheme for citizens who were not employed in the public service;
  3. Section 124(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that the Pension Law governing payment of pension for certain public officers[14] shall not exceed the amount as shall have been determined by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission[15].
  4. The same state governors who seek to continue to loot public treasury through kleptocratic pension laws are champions of regionalism for the sole purpose of decentralizing terms and conditions of work, including minimum wage, so they can pay only what each state can afford.

CLIMATE CHANGE AS A CHALLENGE TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE PASTORALIST AND SEDENTARY FARMERS’ CONFLICTS

The pastoralist herdsmen/farmers conflict with the sedentary farmers across the country should fundamentally be seen as the inability of the capitalist ruling class to take society forward on the basis of capitalism. The reaction of the labour movement should strive to unite rather than deepen the division along ethnic lines.

First, it is important to understand that the pastoralist/sedentary farmers’ conflicts are partly products of the effects of climate change. For example, Lake Chad, which was once one of Africa’s largest water bodies, is fast disappearing due to climate change and overuse of its water resources. The Lake’s water level and size have shrunk by 95% of what it was in the 1960s. Its surface area has decreased from a peak of 25,000 square kilometers to about 1,350 Sq. km. today[16]. The drying up of Lake Chad is having severe negative impacts on the means of livelihood of populations that depend on it. Farmers and cattle herders tend to move southward in search of greener pastures which movement results in competition for land resources leading to violent clashes that we are witnessing across the country. Others have moved to the Southern States engaging in menial jobs in the informal sector to make a living. The impoverishing effects of climate change on Lake Chad should be seen as one of the root causes of pastoralist/sedentary farmers clashes and the festering Boko Haram phenomenon.

However, the Federal Government has a responsibility to protect lives and bring the herdsmen committing heinous murderous acts to justice.

In the literature, elements of an inclusive society include:

  1. Recognition of entitlement to rights and obligations to respect the rights of others – every individual is entitled to a fair and equal treatment just as every individual is also obligated to share responsibility for the rights of others.
  2. Government has responsibility to bring rights violators to justice: there must be no room for impunity – wherein wrongs are committed and no one is made to be responsible for his or her actions.

In their submission to the President Jonathan CONFAB, both the NLC and TUC suggested the development of ranching as solution to pastoralist grazing. Ranching could enable the young herdsmen to have time for education and participate more productively in the society.

GAS FLARING AS CHALLENGE TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The World Bank estimates that one sixth of global gas flaring occurs in Nigeria. This means that Nigeria is the second largest gas flaring country in the world, after Russia. This causes great harm to the environment by raising climate warming.

It is also estimated that for Nigeria, the power generation potential of the flared gas is approximately equal to the current level of electricity generation. In other words, if the oil companies are forced to stop gas flaring, electricity generation capacity could easily be doubled.

The labour movement has no choice but take more active interests in climate change campaigns in the interest of sustainable development, as defined above. One of the key issues of climate change is stopping gas flaring.

 

RESPECT FOR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, RULE OF LAW AND OBEDIENCE OF COURT ORDERS AS PRECONDITIONS FOR AN INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 

 

Within the context of the concepts of inclusive society and sustainable development, the repression of the universally recognized rights of the Shiites and pro-Biafra protesters ought to be condemned unconditionally by the labour movement. The Kaduna State Government has publicly stated that 347 shiites who were shot dead by the Military were given mass burial. Their leader, El-ZakZakky, the leader of the Shiites has been in incarceration since December 2015 without trial for any specific offence and without anybody, including his lawyers, being allowed to have access to him.

The pro-Biafra Movement has also alleged that several of their supporters were shot dead, burnt alive while others were either injured or arrested and detained.

International law recognizes the right to internal form of self determination of peoples. Articles 1 and 55 of the UN Charter (that is UN Constitution) expressly recognize the rights of peoples to self-determination. For the avoidance of any doubt, the UN Charter defines ‘peoples’ as a group of human beings, who may or may not comprise States or nations.

The relevant provisions of the UN Charter and the African Union are reproduced below.

Article 1 sub (2) of the UN Charter provides:

The purposes of the United Nations are:

(2). To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and SELF-DETERMINATION of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.

Also Article 20(1) of the African Charter, which has been domesticated, provides:

All peoples shall have the right to existence. They shall have the unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination. They shall freely determine their political status and shall pursue their economic and social development according to the policy they have freely chosen.

Disobedience of court orders by several arms of government has also become the order of the day.

The labour movment, which is often compelled to employ the protest culture, has a duty to resist violent repression of democratic rights, regardless of who may be the victim. No government should be allowed to get away with denial of democratic rights.  

I thank you all for your attention.

 

 

Femi Aborisade, Esq.

[1] Being paper presented at the pre-May Day 2016 Lecture held at Airport Hotel, Lagos on 3th April 2016.

[2] Cited in http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/egms/docs/2009/Ghana/inclusive-society.pdf accessed as at 29/4/16.

[3] This Chapter is titled: Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy. It consists of 12 sections, from section 13 to section 24.

[4] The analysis here is based on the provisions of the PIB as contained in the version that I accessed as at June 2010.

[5]  http://guardian.ng/features/weekend/nigeria-burns-off-5-billion-resources-yearly-from-gas-flaring/ as at 29/4/16.

[6] This analysis was incorporated into a paper (“The Imperatives of June 12 and Its Implication on Yoruba Politics”) I had delivered at “June 12 Colloquium” organized by Yoruba Academy in partnership with Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) on 12 June 2014 at Drapers’ Hall, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan.

[7] See Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension) Law 2007.

[8] See Kwara State Governor and Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension) Law, 2010.

[9] See Oyo State Pension (Governor and Deputy Governor) Law, 2004.

[10] The five-yearly review is made subject to S. 210 (3), which provides for review every five years or together with any state civil service salary reviews, whichever is earlier.

[11] See Annex 1 to the Remuneration Package for Political Office Holders Amendment law, 2007.

[12] See Annex 1 to the Remuneration Package for Political Office Holders Amendment law, 2007.

[13] See Annex 1 to the Remuneration Package for Political Office Holders Amendment law, 2007.

[14] Governor, Deputy Governor, Auditor General for the State, Chairman and members of the State Civil Service Commission, the State Independent Electoral Commission and the State Judicial Service Commission.

[15] The rogue pension laws are likely to be at variance with what the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) provides. But details of such variance can only be the subject matter of another paper.

[16] http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2014/03/27/restoring-a-disappearing-giant-lake-chad as at 29/4/16.