Deportation: Obi Vs Fashola,The Battleline Is Drawn
•Drags Fashola to Jonathan, seeks probe
By VIVIAN ONYEBUKWA
Anambra State Governor Peter Obi has formally complained to President Goodluck Jonathan over the dumping of 72 people at Onitsha by the Lagos State Government.
Last week, 72 people were conveyed in a truck and escorted by armed security men and dumped in Onitsha overnight. The ‘deportees’ said they were picked up on Lagos streets, detained for months before being herded into the truck that was escorted to Onitsha overnight, where there were forced to disembark and abandoned.
In the protest letter, Obi stated that the “deportation” of people from Lagos to Anambra State was unconstitutional and disregard to the rights of those involved.
Recalling that the dumping of people at Onitsha by agents of Lagos State Government had been done twice, Obi stated that the constitution provides that Nigerians are entitled to free movement and residence anywhere in the country, wondering why people would be forcefully and illegally taken from a state and dumped in another.
The governor said the “deportation” of Nigerians from Lagos calls to question the “validity of Nigeria and its federating components,” According to him, “such acts violate human decency, the rule of law and constitutionally-ordered liberties. Were Anambra and other states in the federation resort to such extreme measures, there would be total anarchy.”
He appealed to the Federal Government to institute a probe in the matter, stating: “It would amount to complicity on the part of the states and the Federal Government, if this issue is not thoroughly investigated and some form of censure brought to bear on Lagos State. I suggest, Sir, that you direct the Attorney-General of the Federation to investigate these incidents.”
The letter reads: “I wish to respectfully bring to your due attention a very disturbing development that has vast national security and political implications. Last September and again on 24 July 2013, the Lagos State Government contrived inexplicable reasons to round up Nigerians, whom they alleged were Anambra indigenes (most of whom the SSS report shows clearly are not from Anambra State) and forcefully deported them to Anambra State, dumping them, as it were, in the commercial city of Onitsha (see attached SSS report).
“This latest callous act, in which Lagos State did not even bother to consult with Anambra State authorities, before deporting 72 persons considered to be of Igbo extraction to Anambra State, is illegal, unconstitutional and a blatant violation of the human rights of these individuals and of the Nigerian Constitution.
“Your Excellency, no amount of offence committed by these people, even if deemed extremely criminal, would justify or warrant such cruel action by a state authority and in a democracy. Even refugees are protected by the law. Furthermore, the extant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution states: ‘Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part, thereof, and no citizen shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom.’
“Sir, forced deportation such as this, which Lagos State seems to be making a norm in addressing its domestic challenges are egregious, and calls into question the validity of Nigeria and its federating components. Such acts violate human decency, the rule of law and constitutionally-ordered liberties.
Naturally, I have the obligation to protect the interest and welfare of all Nigerians resident in Anambra State, irrespective of their states of origin and I would be left no option other than reciprocity or reprisal. I will, however, put any such reaction in abeyance until Your Excellency has had the opportunity to address our concerns,” the letter stated.