Anambra - Three non-governmental organisations have described as unconstitutional the recent `deportation’ of some people classified as destitute from Lagos to Onitsha in Anambra.
The groups are the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety).
In a joint statement in Onitsha, Anambra, on Monday, the groups said the Lagos State Government had no reason to engage in such an act.
It said the act of internal deportation of citizens violated the constitution and that the purported exchange of letters between the two states in April were contradictory and baseless.
"Also, there is no link between the said documents and the act of bundling 72 innocent Nigerians to another federating unit.
"We believe strongly that the documents were hurriedly dusted up to justify the criminal and unconstitutional conduct carried out on July 24.
"To further expose the emptiness and immateriality of the documents, 13 out of the 14 names have no links to traditional Igbo surnames of Anambra State as well as the local governments and towns the documents claimed they hailed from.
"None of the names also tallied with the names of the 72 deportees some of which are in the domain of relevant agencies of the Anambra State Government, the media, the Red Cross and the rights groups,’’ the statement said.
The statement reminded the Federal Government of the constitutional provision that no state had any right or power to engage in act of internal deportation of citizens from its federating unit to another.
"Also, no state, including Anambra, has any right or power under the Constitution to receive or negotiate to receive any internally deported citizens within the federation.
"Any discussions or negotiations between the two states on how to deport or receive any citizens or to cause forceful movement of same from one part of the country to another is null and void and of no constitutional effect.
"The power and authority to enforce all laws and policies in all parts of the federation resides with the Federal Government of Nigeria,’’ it said.
The statement was signed by Aloysius Attah, the Chairman of CLO, Uchenna Madu, the National Director of Information at MASSOB and Emeka Umeagbalasi, the Chairman of Intersociety.
The Lagos State Government has continually maintained that it brought only 14 persons to Onitsha and that the Anambra State Government was aware of the arrangement.