A bill before the House of Representatives, which seeks to make the constitutional provisions, under “Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State,” actionable in court has been rejected.
The bill intended to empower Nigerian citizens to drag the government to court for failing to provide social welfare.
The bill, sponsored by Sergius Ogun a lawmaker from Ogun State, sought to make justiciable the fundamental objectives contained in sections 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
Section 16 of Nigeria’s constitution provides that “The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring – that suitable and adequate shelter, suitable and adequate food, reasonable national living minimum wage, old age care and pensions, unemployment and sick benefits and welfare of the disabled are provided for all citizens.”
The passage of the bill would have altered the Constitution in such a manner that citizens can approach the court for failure of government to provide basic needs.
Speaking against the bill, Herman Hembe from Benue State said the bill is seeking to make Nigeria a socialist state, noting socialism has never worked anywhere.
“Socialism never worked, it has only collapsed countries. The only thing that works is a system where people are allowed to work,” he said.
Nicholas Ossai, lawmaker from Delta State, had given support to the Bill, arguing that experts can advise the committee on how to fine-tune the bill, to make these fundamental objectives actionable.
Following a debate on the bill, it was rejected by voice votes.