Friday, 13 October 2017

Military should not immunize school children – says HURIWA

A Pro-Democracy
and Non-Governmental
Organization, Human Rights
Writers Association of Nigeria,
HURIWA, has cautioned the
military hierarchy to desist
from administering vaccination
on school children as that falls
outside their constitutional

In a media release signed jointly
by Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko the National Coordinator and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, the rights group stated that there are
widespread perception that the
outbreak of monkey pox whose
immediate origin has not been
sufficiently and satisfactorily
uncovered by relevant
authorities has fed the rumour
mills with the misperception that
the free vaccination exercise by
the military in the South/South
may have caused the outbreak
of the deadly ailments thereby
spreading apprehension around
the South East of Nigeria.

HURIWA maintained that in as
much as there is no scientifically
established nexus between
the free vaccination/medical
exercise/outreach by the Nigeria
Army and the outbreak of the
pandemic of Monkey Pox, it is
still necessary that the military
is stopped from performing
the medical exercise since that
is not the statutory mandate
of the military in line with the
constitutional provisions as
enshrined in section 217 and 218
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of the extant grundnorm governing
the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

For the avoidance of doubts, the
constitution in sections 217 and
218 provides thus: “217.-(1) There
shall be an armed forces for the
Federation which shall consist of
an Army, a Navy, an Air Force and
such other branches of the armed
forces of the Federation as may be
established by an Act of the National
Assembly. (2) The Federation shall,
subject to an Act of the National
Assembly made in that behalf, equip
and maintain the armed forces as
may be considered adequate and
effective for the purpose of ;- (a)
Defending Nigeria from external
aggression;(b) Maintaining its
territorial integrity and securing its
borders from violation on land, sea
or air;(c) suppressing insurrection
and acting in aid of civil authorities
to restore order when called upon
to do so by the president, but
subject to such conditions as may be
prescribed by an Act of the National
Assembly; and(d) Performing such
other functions as may be prescribed
by an Act of the National Assembly.
(3) The composition of the officer
corps and other ranks of the armed
forces of the Federation shall reflect
the federal character of Nigeria.
Also HURIWA cited section 218.
(1) as stating that: “The powers of
the President as the Commanderin-Chief
of the Armed Forces of the
Federation shall include power to
determine the operational use of
the armed forces of the Federation.
(2) The powers conferred on the
President by subsection (1) of this
section shall include power to
appoint the Chief of Defence Staff,
the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief
of Naval Staff, the Chief of Air Staff

and heads of any other branches of
the armed forces of the Federation
as may be established by an Act
of the National Assembly.(3) The
President may, by directions
in writing and subject to such
conditions as he may think fit,
delegate to any member of the armed
forces of the Federation his powers
relating to the operational use of the
Armed Forces of the Federation.
(4) The National Assembly shall
have power to make laws for the
regulation of :-(a) The powers
exercisable by the President as
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed
Forces of the Federation; and(b)
The appointment, promotion and
disciplinary control of members of
the armed forces of the Federation”.

HURIWA therefore asked the
military to restrict their functions
and operations to the specific
roles assigned to them by all the
relevant laws since the military is
a creation of the Constitution and
not a government onto itself.

“The Nigeria Army must stick
to her statutory role of protecting
the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
If in any case the Nigeria Army
has a plan to provide free medical
services, the military institution
must do so in active partnership
with the Federal and State
Ministries of health to avoid this
kind of pedestrian speculation on
the real intention of the exercise”.

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