AGF Warns Against Legislative Fiat

AGF Warns Against Legislative Fiat

AGF Warns Against Legislative Fiat …C0NTINUE READING HERE >>>

Minister of justice and the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) has urged the National Assembly (NASS) not to pass the law on reverting to the old National Anthem through legislative fiat.

His position may have made the move by NASS to expeditiously pass a “Bill for an Act on National Anthem” with the major aim of replacing the current one with the old to suffer a setback yesterday.

Fagbemi warned that such an important bill on the National Anthem should not be done by legislative fiat.

At a public hearing on the bill organised by the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, the minister warned that the issue of National Anthem should not be treated with legislative fiat.

He said as commendable as the move by both Chambers of the legislature may be, on enacting law on the National Anthem or replacing the current with the old, must be carried along for their required ” buy in”.

He said: “In some cases, the national anthem emerges from open national competition among interested citizens.  In other instances, the national anthem is subjected to plebiscite or referendum, before its eventual adoption or declaration.

“The of the foregoing is to secure the buy-in and confidence of the people and to ensure that the anthem meets their collective aspirations and suits their contemporary socio-political conditions.

“Against the background of the foregoing, I am of the considered opinion that the revered issue of choice of a national item should not come into being only by legislative fiat or presidential proclamation alone

“Consequently, it is my considered view that the decision to change Nigeria's National Anthem whether by replacing it with the old one or a new one, should be subjected to a wider process of citizen participation through zonal public hearings, resolutions of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), Council of State, National and State Assemblies, etc.

“The outcome of this process is bound to be a true reflection of the wishes of the generality or majority of Nigerians,” he said.

In his submission, the minister of information and national orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris Malagi ,  recommended that the scope should be expanded to include a robust issue on national identity rather than limiting it to the change of national anthem.

The minister who was represented by the director-general of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr  Lanre Issa-Onilu, said some lines in the old national anthem do not make a complete meaning.

“The issue of the national anthem is just a sub-sect. What we should be looking at is the National Identity Act.

“The challenge we have today is that we do not value national identity, of which the national anthem is one of them. It is not about singing in schools, it is about learning it and imbibing it,” he said.

Also cautioning the National Assembly on expeditious passage of the bill, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), called for wider consultations for Nigerians to accept whatever National Anthem is proposed and buy into it.

According to him, the National Assembly should widen the scope of participation in the process of coming up with such an Act for general acceptability.

He however supported the move to replace the current” Arise O Compatriots ” National Anthem with the “Nigeria, We Hail Thee”, the country started with in October 1960.




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