MEMBERS of Nigeria’s House of Representatives have rejected a bill that will allow citizens of the country to drag the government to court for failing to provide them with social welfare and other basic amenities.
Like many African countries, Nigeria fails to provide basic amenities such as healthcare, roads, schools, electricity, water, etc for millions of its citizens. Under a radical new law that was being proposed by Hon Sergius Ogun from Edo State, members of the public would have been able to sue the government if they felt neglected.
Had it been successful, the passage of the bill would have altered Nigeria’s constitution in such a manner that citizens can approach the court for failure of government to provide basic needs. Speaking against the bill, however, Hon Herman Hembe from Benue State said it is seeking to make Nigeria a socialist state, noting socialism has never worked anywhere.
He added: “Socialism never worked, it has only collapsed countries. The only thing that works is a system where people are allowed to work.”
Hon Nicholas Ossai from Delta State argued that the bill should be allowed to pass, while experts can advise the committee on it. Following a debate, the bill was put to question and rejected by voice votes.
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.”