By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
Imo State Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha came under fire on the floor of the Senate Thursday over what lawmakers described as anti-north policy.
The Senate in a stormy session specifically ordered the All Progressive Congress(APC) governor to rescind his decision on the issuance of identification cards to Northerners residing in Imo state.
However, Senate called on the President Goodluck Jonathan to direct security agencies not to partner with Imo State Government in the implementation its directive which compels all northerners residing in Imo to be issued with identification card.
The decision of Senate followed a motion sponsored by Deputy Leader of the Senate,Senator Abdul Ningi who described governor Okorocha’s action as unconstitutional and a violation of section 41(1) and 42(1) of the 1999 constitution, which gives every citizen of Nigeria the right to reside in any part of the country.
Section 41(1) says, “every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereto or exit therefrom.
Section 42(1) A citizen of Nigeria of particular community ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or Political opinion shall not, by reason only that such he is such a person-:
(A) be subjected either expressly by law, or in that practical application of any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action, of the government disabilities or restriction to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, place of origin, circumstance of birth, sex, religion or political opinion are not made subject.
(B) No citizens of Nigeria shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by reason of the circumstance of his birth.
The Upper Chamber also called on the Imo state government to rescind forthwith, the policy of register all Northerners in Imo state.
But, Imo Senator, Chris Anyawu in her submission told the Senate that Governor Okorocha acted in the best interest of the people considering the security situations in the country.
Ningi disagreed, saying the development is a gross abuse of the citizens rights, and if not checked could throw the entire country into chaos and threaten democracy.
Other Senators like Smart Adeyemi, Ita Enag and James Manager who spoke in support of the motion said that the development if implemented is capable of disintegrate the country.
Enang said Okorocha should device another means to solve security problem in the state.