Human Rights Writersâ€™ Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) a pro-democracy and development focused civil society organization which made the plea to the National Assembly legislators in a statement authorized by its National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko averred that the search team to be made up of top government officials, National Assembly leaders and some leaders of the organized civil society including Nigerian Medical Association and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) should ensure that when located, the ailing president should respect section 145 of the 1999 constitution by transmitting Presidential power temporarily pending his full recuperation to vice president Goodluck Jonathan to fill the leadership vacuum currently existing in Nigeria occasioned by President Yarâ€™aduaâ€™s absence.
Specifically section 145 of the 1999 constitution provides that; â€œwhenever the president transmits to the president of the senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation and that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the vice president as Acting presidentâ€.
The rights group expressed dissatisfaction with the claim by personal physician to president Umaru Musa Yarâ€™adua that he was flown to a Saudi Arabian hospital to undergo medical treatment for a heart related ailment, even as it demanded that the precise whereabouts of the president be ascertained by some respected Nigerians who would constitute the search team so as to assuage the heitened anxieties and apprehensions of millions of Nigerians who do not believe that the presidentâ€™s true health challenge has been communicated to them.
Huriwa blamed the uncertainty of the whereabouts and the absence of the president in the last forty days for the unprecedented situation of insecurity across the country and the killing of Nigerian citizens by Cameroonian gendarmes in the Bakassi peninsula because the gendarmes believed that they can kill Nigerians and get away with it since Nigeriaâ€™s commander-in-chief of the Armed forces is missing, just as it called on the National Assembly legislators to act without further delay.
Huriwa tasked the National Assembly legislators to resolve the long standing constitutional crisis brewing because of the leadership vacuum that exists in the executive arm of government and to meet the aspirations and demands of the Nigerian citizens by locating the precise whereabouts of President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™adua and determine his state of health. The group blamed the absence of the president for the latest classification of Nigeria as a state sponsor of terrorism because the president would have corrected the misconceptions in a telephone conversation with president Obama.
Citing section 14(2) (a) of the 1999 constitution which provides that â€œsovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this constitution derives all its powers and authority,â€ the rights group asked Nigerians in the different National Assembly constituencies to begin process of recall of their representatives should they refuse to resolve the lingering constitutional crisis on the absence of president Yarâ€™adua in the territorial entity call Nigeria which he was elected to govern.