Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has warned the federal government and the political class to be careful not to provoke Nigerians to mutiny.
ADULAWO NEWS reports that. Falana, on Thursday in Abuja during the National Symposium organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, with the theme: “Nigeria Economy and the Crisis of Survival: Robbing the Poor to Pay the Rich,“ had said government officials should mind how they spend extravagantly to avoid annoying the citizens.
He said while the government has told Nigerians to brace up for the economic hardship, its officials are lavishing money, noting that as long as figures of extravagant spending by the National Assembly continue to be churned out, Nigerians will be irritated, and so will be enemies of democracy.
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Falana’s warning was against the backdrop of the recent coup wave in Africa, the latest of which is the one in Gabon and the Niger Republic.
He attributed the recent trend of military juntas in Africa, especially the Gabon case, to several factors, such as the ruthless exploitation of African countries’ mineral resources by the West, third-term syndrome, political manipulation of the constitution, and the establishment of foreign military bases in African nations.
He submitted that “They must be careful not to provoke Nigerians to mutiny. Some of the things going in the National Assembly show that we are in trouble: N70 billion for palliatives for 469 people, and when we said no, they claimed it was for the facelift of the National Assembly.
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“Three years ago, N37 billion was earmarked for the facelift of the National Assembly. That contract has not been fully executed, and there is no renewal of the contract, so you cannot talk about N70 billion for facelift.
“Secondly, 40 billion Naira to buy exotic cars now for the leadership of the National Assembly is not going to be allowed.
“The latest provocative news from the National Assembly is that 54 billion Naira has been earmarked for constituency projects for 360 members of the House of Representatives. It has come to 150 million per person under this austere condition of the country.
“So when these figures are oozing out of the National Assembly, Nigerians are being provoked, and enemies of democracy are being provoked.
“The military has been honest to say that they are under pressure to dismantle this rickety political system, but someone told them to go and deny it, and they came out and denied it. But we can read between the lines. We can’t gather here to talk about democracy that is under threat.
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“The immediate causes of coups in Africa today are third term syndromes, manipulation of constitution, military bases.
“Today, America has 29 military bases in Africa. France has 15. Soldiers are protesting because numbers of these foreign bases are receiving salaries as if they are in their countries. So, the soldiers are protesting the preferential treatment between them and these foreign troops, so we must look at that.
“The remote causes are the ruthless exploitation of the mineral resources of our country by Western countries. The people are getting poorer.