NATIONAL CONFAB: Key issues before northern delegates (2)

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The first part of this presentation was published in yesterday’s edition of Vanguard
NATIONAL Security. Introduction: National security has to do with the protection of a country’s core national interests. and values, the well-being of its people and institutions, as well as its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The current threats to National Security have become too numerous.

Threat perception: Some of the threats to National Security include the following: Insurgency (terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery and assassinations), cross border banditry, trafficking in persons and child labour, poverty and social exclusion, religious fault lines, small arms and light weapons, herdsmen/pastoralists conflicts, economic insecurity, health insecurity, the practice of federalism in Nigeria, leadership.

Institutions of national security in Nigeria

The armed forces: It is important to note that recruitment, promotion and retirement criteria are increasingly becoming less transparent. They must be guided by laid down rules and procedures as specified.

Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is to provide safety and enforce law and order. Nigeria, with population

Delegates at the on-going national conference

Delegates at the on-going national conference

estimated at 167 million has a police force with a total strength of about 314,000. Thus the police-population ratio is one police to 531 people as against the UN standard for peacetime policing which is one police officer to 400 people.

The Federal Fire Service: There is need to reposition the Nigeria Fire Services for better service delivery.

Nigerian Prisons Service: It faces a number of challenges in its task: congestion, especially among those awaiting trial in urban areas; inadequate manpower to effectively manage the Prisons; weak and inadequate prison structures; poor logistic fleets to meet the courts needs of ATPs; inadequate and poorly equipped correctional facilities for identification, treatment and re-integration of convicted persons to become law abiding citizens on discharge; prisoners up keep; slow judicial process in deciding cases of ATPs and insufficient budgetary allocation.

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC): Its objectives include the following: Licence, supervise and monitor operations of Private Guard Companies. Maintain 24 hours security surveillance over infrastructure, sites and projects of the Federal, State and Local G.overnment. Monitor, investigate and take every necessary step to forestall any act of terrorism, rescue and providing emergency medical services and shelter during period of emergency. It faces some of the following challenges: Shortage of manpower; inadequate funding; lack of synergy and collaboration among security agencies; distrust for security operatives thereby not volunteering information to arrest security problems. What is to be done? Should it maintain an armed unit? Should a National Guard emerge from the Armed Unit? Should be under the Ministry of Interior (under the federal government or national government?)

Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC): It is to regulate, enforce and coordinate all road traffic and safety management activities through: sustained public enlightenment; effective patrol operations; improved motor vehicle administration and stakeholder’s cooperation. It is the body that is responsible for the production of vehicle number plates and drivers licence in Nigeria.

Nigeria Immigration Service: It has only 22,300 staff performing all the immigration functions in the whole country. The country has 1400 illegal routes which are not manned. There are 85 routes in the Northeast with only five legal control posts. 80 illegal routes are unmanned. NIC is responsible for the issuance of various immigration facilities; implementation of multilateral and bilateral agreements; manning of all airports, seaports and land borders for the purpose of control of admission and departure of persons from Nigeria; constant patrol of Nigeria’s aerial coastal and land borders.

Nigeria Customs Service: The functions of the Nigeria Customs Service include, but not limited to the following: Collection of revenue (Import /Excise Duties & other Taxes /Levies) and accounting for same; anti-smuggling activities; security functions; generating statistics for planning and budgetary purposes; monitoring foreign exchange utilization etc; engaging in research, planning and enforcement of fiscal policies of government; manifest processing; licensing and registration of Customs agents; registration and designation of collecting banks; and working in collaboration with other government agencies in all approved ports and border station.

Borderstations

Should it be under a Ministry of Finance or Interior? How can its security function be enhanced and better projected?

Recommendations: There should be a dynamic but comprehensive national security policy and strategy for Nigeria. The military should introduce mobile active road blocks to control the movement of illegal arms and ammunition, criminals/terrorists/insurgents.

The Federal Government should acquire more advanced technological surveillance equipment and infrastructure to respond more adequately to the issues of insurgency, including the excessive congestion at traffic check points. The ONSA should facilitate the introduction of more modern methods to replace current road blocks.

Agitations through insurgency in whatever guise should never be rewarded in the Federal Republic of Nigeria by any level of government. While victims of insurgencies could be adequately compensated, the perpetrators should be sufficiently punished. Amnesty as a mechanism for appeasing insurgents or militancy should be stopped henceforth. Thus, the current amnesty programme in the Niger Delta, along with the Ministry of Niger Delta should be abolished forthwith. The Federal Government should implement the reports of all Presidential Panels/Committees on Security in the Northern states of the country.

Root causes ofinsurgency

Counter-insurgency (COIN) should be a blend of comprehensive civilian and military efforts designed to simultaneously contain insurgency and address its root causes. COIN approaches must be adaptable and agile. At the strategic level, understanding is required of the population factors behind the insurgency, its stage of progression, the reforms required to address its causes, and the willingness and ability of the government to make those reforms.

At the operational level, understanding is required of the strengths and vulnerabilities of the insurgent strategy, the strengths and weaknesses of the government and the requirements of the population. Continuous feedback on the degree of success of on­going COIN efforts is also critical. At the tactical level, understanding is required of the identity of active insurgents, their networks, logistics, capabilities and intent.

A special border patrol outfit (with similar role as coast guards) may be formed; a combined operation of military, immigration and customs may be trained to start operations immediately to curtail the influx of dangerous weapons and foreign insurgency elements into the country, particularly, the northern states. The Nigeria Immigration Service should be authorized to recruit at least 8,000 personnel annually for the Nigeria Immigration Service for effective management of the entry routes into the country. Communities around the porous borders could be recruited as border guards and giving specific responsibility of patrolling the borders.

Incorporate modern surveillance devices and improvement of technical intelligence. Increase maritime and air domain intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) awareness of Nigeria’s maritime environment vis-a-vis the Gulf of Guinea. Provide sufficient radars, navigational aids, control tower/base ops equipment and meteorological equipment.

Community based intelligence systems such as stakeholder forums and interaction with the traditional rulers should be commenced by the security agencies in communities to empower the local communities in information sharing and’necessary actions.

Traditional rulers should remain insulated from partisan politics, in order to maintain their moral standing to play a mediatory role during disputes, and to safeguard the integrity of their offices and their independence. Traditional rulers should be accorded specific responsibilities with commensurate delegated authority for security management, among other things, in their domains.

Intelligencegathering

The traditional and religious institutions should be integrated into the security system, particularly in the business of intelligence gathering. The traditional security arrangement should be re-invented to complement the formal security arrangement. This action would give every Nigerian a sense of responsibility in the administration of national security. There should be more stringent laws against corruption, including a consideration of death sentence or life imprisonment to certain category of corrupt officials. Fighting corruption require effective legislation, regulations and codes of conduct.

The country requires a comprehensive security sector that takes into consideration the multiplicity of actors interacting on different levels and a new framework of decentralized law enforcement as well as security administration, while putting in place institutional measures to protect the system from being appropriated by politicians.

In this regards, multi-level policing should be given a firm consideration in a federal setting. Federal Government should contribute more significantly to the maintenance and equipping of the security agencies in the north so that state government funds, which are meant for infrastructural, social and human capital development in the states, are used solely for that purpose

Social and humancapital

. Nigeria and especially the Northern states need leaders that are knowledgeable – that have vision and have the ability to think of the future; in terms of what needs to be done now to cope successfully with what the future might bring; leaders that are fearless and are prepared to persevere and that are responsive and sensitive to the feelings and perceptions of its followers. Nigeria, especially the northern states need a leadership that is nationally accepted regardless of ethnicity, region, religion, and where he/she comes from. Nigeria needs a leader that could promote good governance, forge national integration through deliberate and articulated policies.

Government should ensure that each State should define its own cattle grazing routes which will then be harmonized with those of adjacent states. Governments should secure existing grazing reserves and also consider cattle ranches with a view to making the herdsmen less nomadic. State governments with capacity and who have need should create new grazing reserves and cattle ranches. The FGN should come up with a long term research-driven framework of settling nomadic Fulani pastoralists and changing the methods of raising their livestock.

In order to stem the tide of threats to national security, Nigeria must take the challenge of youth unemployment seriously by generating employment and creating multiple access to income generating activities for the youths. There should be a fixed or reserved fund for youth empowerment activities on a larger scale.

States creation and geo-political zones: While one cannot doubt the contributions which the creation of states have done to the Nigerian project, it is also true that twoo many states have tended to convert them into mere cost or effort centres at the expense of socio economic development. It is against this backdrop that ACF believes that the creation of any additional states at this point in time is counter productive and, therefore, should be kept on hold until the need can be justified in future. The argument that creation of states should be on the basis of equality irrespective of population and land mass is inconsistent with elementary concept of justice, since injustice is jot only when equals are treated unequally but also when unequals are treated equally.

Factual data on States: On the basis of population and landmass, the 36 states structure of Nigeria brings up the following fact: Population Average Per State = 140,003,542 = 3,888,987

36

Landmass average per state = 983,776km2 = 27,327km2

36

How the geo-political zones stand: The South East has a population of 16,381,729 and total Land mass of 33,664km2. Meaning each of the five states on average has a population and land mass 3,276,345 and 6733km2 respectively.

Population Average per State in the South East is far less than the national average of 612,642 people and, indeed the average Landmass per state in the South East is not up to 25 per cent of the National Average. That is to say the total land mass of all states of the South East is just a little above the National Average per State.

On the Contrary, the North West has seven States, a population of 35,786,944 and landmass of 221,120km2. Average population per state in the Northwest = 5,112,421 which is 1,223,434 higher than National Average. Average landmass pe state in the Northwest =31,589km2 meaning each state in the Northwest is almost equal to the entire landmass of the South eastern states landmass.

For the Southwest: Six states with population of 27,581,994, averaging 4,596,999 which is 1,320,654 far higher than the South east average. By land mass, the South west has 78,774, which is 13,129km2 or twice the South east average.

Implication of factual data: For additional state to be created in the South east, the South west must have up to nine states first, if population is the deciding factor. Also if land mass is the deciding factor, South west must have as much as 12 states before any additional state is created in South east.

Geo-political zones as so-called federating units: This proposition, which formed the cardinal position of the South East since the 1994 constitutional conference, has been crafted to whittle down any political advantage the North could exercise in Nigeria’s body politics despite its huge territorial size and large population. Yet the concept of geo-political zones in our constitution and it should remain so.

Federalism, fiscal federalism and revenue sharing

Federalism: Prepositions being made in the name of operating “true federalism”, “fiscal federalism” and the like, are borne either out of political maneouvres or political arrogance, or both. Whatever is the case, now, the Northern delegates to the conference have a duty to expose this crude misunderstanding of the political history of Nigerian federalism, and therefore, they need to be well armed with knowledgeable position to counteract the flow of political mischief and propaganda directed against the North.

It should be clear to all that the Nigerian federal system was not a classical example of a federating system such as the case of the United States of American where hitherto independent sovereign states decided to come together to form a united country. Rather, in the case of Nigeria, the 36 states are merely political ‘provinces’ as recommended by Selborne Report of 1896 which were later created by the Nigerian State at different historical times, and agitations for additional States are still ongoing.

Therefore, the 36 states of the Nigerian federal system are and have always been mere administrative units and not federating units as erroneously called by people who wish to re-write history. In other words, the 36 states do not have any pre-defined rights over any national resources of the Nigerian state. Any attempt by a part of the Nigerian federation to enforce the notion of states as federating unit is disingenious and is certainly unconstitutional and the rest of the country should ignore or fight it to its logical end.

Change ofnomenclature

Indeed, we suggest that Northern delegates should pursue a change of nomenclature of the second tier of government from ‘State’ to ‘Province’ so as to unambiguously avoid the misconceptions that the states are ‘Sovereign’ entitities.

Fiscal federalism: Regrettably, fiscal federalism is one of the most bastardised terminologies in Nigerian public discourse today, to the extend that its mention by many – including those in authority – is taken to mean ‘a universally acclaimed structure of resource control and revenue sharing manual.’ To many others, these terms are (politically) synonymous with “true federalism” -whatever this means. What, really is the meaning of fiscal federalism? Fiscal federalism is a theory originally propounded by Richard A Musgrave ad Wallace E. Oates that concern itself with the divisionh of public sector functions and finances among multiple layers of governments.

The theory aims at Improving the performance of the public sectors and the provision of their services by ensuring a proper alignment of responsibilities and fiscal instruments to carry out these responsibilities for economic efficiency and welfare maximization. The theory itself lays out a general normative framework, and its precepts only provided general guidelines with no firm principles.

Generally, the theory of fiscal federalism was developed on the historical experiences of nations that emerged or unified by the coming together of independent territories to form larger political polities, such as the cases of Switzerland, Germany, Canada, or the United States of America. In its classical theory, thus, central government of such a federal system is a creation of the regional provincial governments. But even among nations founded on such classical structure of federal system there is no universal structure of operating fiscal federalism.

At any rate, there are no two federal systems that are exactly the same. Rather, federal systems evolved and operate within the context of historical dynamics of the respective human societies operating them .A number of the countries operating federal system are non-classical federations, which adopted the system as an appropriate mechanism to manage political and cultural plurality. It is now being estimated that there are more than 25 countries, with 40 per cent of the world’s population practicing federal systems of government. There are also countries, such as Iraq, that are now regarded as on transition to federalism.

There is no universal definition of federalism or essential principles but there are key features of federalism, which are the existence of a central government sharing power/functions with regional/provincial/sub-national/territorial/local governments over the same citizens and each tier of government derives its own legitimacy from citizens under its jurisdiction.

As a result, therefore, scholars categorize different modes of federalism, from co-operate federalism to co-ordinate feieralism to organic federalism as a means to distinguish the variety of systems being practiced by different nations. Thus, federalism in reality is a continuum running from alliances and associated states through to centralized government with federal system lying at some point in between.

Fiscal federalism in Nigeria: The Nigerian State was born in October 1914. Nigeria’s mode offiscal federalism dates back to 1914 through colonial taxation policy and financial arrangement pioneered by the British Colonial Administration, which subsequently financed the development of all national institutions and assets that the nation holds today. After the splitting of Southern Nigeria into the Western Region and Eastern Region, the ensuring political developments necessitated new constitutional development that provided the Richard Constitution of 1946.

Fiscalarrangement

Six months before this new Constitution took effect in January 1947 an elaborate study and planning for structure of fiscal arrangement for the Nigerian State was commissioned under Sir Sydney Phillipson with the following terms of reference:

•To study comprehensively and make appropriate recommendations regarding the problems of the administrative and financial procedure to be adopted under the new constitution; and, •To examine, in the light of its historical antecedents, the problem of financial relations between the Nigerian Government and the Native Administration with a view to making recommendations as to the policy and procedure which should determine those relations in the future.

•Obviously true fiscal federalism in Nigeria would give full support to the on-going clamour for the abrogation of the Constitutional provision for the existence of the state/local government joint account. In undertaking his assignment, Phillipson made a detailed study of the revenue and expenditure profile of the Regions and their Native Administrations, which clearly show the contributions of the Regional Governments to the Central Fund as well as to the general government services that created and financed the developments of common national institutions and assets. Government had the power to enact taxation law but the responsibility for collecting the proceeds of direct tax from individuals residing with the jurisdiction of Native Administrations had been assigned to the individual Native Administrations.

The Native Administrations were allowed retaining 50 per cent of what they had collected and passing on the remaining 50 per cent to Government. While individual Native Administration expended the retained portion of the tax for various financial services including payment of salaries of their staff, the Government was responsible for executing some essentials services in the provinces. The Table below gives the actual annual revenue contribution from the Native Administrations of Northern and Southern Provinces to the central fund as well as the expenditure incurred by the Central Government on the provincial service in the Northern and Southern Provinces:

While one cannot doubt the contributions which the creation of states have done to the Nigerian project, it is also true, that too many states have tended to convert them into mere cost or effort centres at the expense of socio economic development. It is against this backdrop that ACF believes that the creation of any additional states at this point in time is counterproductive and, therefore, should be kept on hold until the need can be justified in future.

The argument that creation of states should be on the basis of equality irrespective of population and land mass is inconsistent with elementary concept of justice, since injustice is not only when equals are treated unequally but also when unequals are treated equally. On the basis of population and landmass, the 36 states structure of Nigeria brings up the following fact:

Population Average Per State = 140,003,542= 3,888,987

36

LandmassAverage per State =983,776km2 = 27,327km2                               36

Meaning each of the five states on average has a population and land mass 3,276,345 and 6733km2 respectively.

Population Average per State in the South East is far less than the national average of 612,642 people and indeed the average landmass per state in the South East is not up to 25 per cent of the National Average that is to say the total land mass of all states of the South East is just little above the National Average per State.

On the Contrary, the North West has seven States, a population of 35,786,944 ar landmass of 221,120km2

Average Population per State in the North West = 5,112,421 which is 1,223,434 higher than National Average.

Average Landmass per state in the North West = 31,589km2 meaning each state in the North West is almost equal to the entire landmass of the South Eastern states in landmass.

Six states with population of 27,581,994, averaging 4,596,999 which is 1,320,654 far higher than the South East Average

By Landmass, the South West has 78,774, which is 13,129km2 or twice the South East average

For additional state to be created in the South East1 the South West must have up to 9 states first, if population is the deciding factor. Also if land mass is the deciding factor South West must have as much as 12 states before any additional State is created in South East.

This proposition, which formed the cardinal position of the South East since the 1994 Constitutional Conference, has been crafted to whittle down any political advantage the North could exercise in Nigeria’s body politics despite its huge territorial size and large population .

Yet, the concept of geo-political zones has no place in our Constitution and it should remain so.

Prepositions being made in the name of operating ‘true federalism’, ‘fiscal federalism’ and the like, are borne either out of political manoeuvres or political ignorance, or both. Whatever is the case, now, the Northern delegates to the Conference have a duty to expose this crude misunderstanding of the political history of Nigerian federalism, and therefore they need to be well armed with knowledgeable position to counteract the flow of political mischief and propaganda directed against the North.

Federating system: It should be clearto all that, the Nigerian Federal System was not a classical example of a federating system such as the case of the United States of America where hitherto independent sovereign States decided to come together to form a united country. Rather, in the case of Nigeria, the 36 States are merely political ‘provinces’ as recommended by Selborne Report of 1896 which were later created by the Nigerian State at different historical times, and agitations for additional States are still on going.

Therefore, the 36 States of the Nigerian Federal System are and have always been mere administrative units’ and not federating units as erroneously .called by people who wish to re-write history. In other words, the 36 States do not have any pre­defined rights over any national resources of the Nigerian State. Any attempt by a part of the Nigerian Federation to enforce the notion of states as federating unit is disingenuous and is certainly unconstitutional and the rest of the country should ignore or fight it to its logical end. Indeed we suggest that Northern delegates should pursue a change of nomenclature of the second tier of government from ‘State’ to ‘Province’ so as to unambiguously avoid the misconceptions that the states are ‘Sovereign’ entities’.

Regrettably, fiscal federalism is one of the most bastardized terminologies in Nigerian public discourse today, to the extent that its mention by many – includtng those in authority – is taken to mean ‘a universally acclaimed structure of resource control and revenue sharing manual’. To many others, these terms are (politically) synonymous with “true federalism” -whatever this means. What, really, is the meaning offiscal federalism? Fiscal federalism is a theory originally propounded by Richard A Musgrave and Wallace E. Oates that concern itself with the division of public sector functions and finances among multiple layers of governments.

The theory aims at improving the performance of the public sectors and the provision of their services by ensuring a proper alignment of responsibilities and fiscal instruments to carry out these responsibilities for economic effiCiency and welfare maximization. The theory itself lays out a general normative framework, and its precepts only provided general guidelines with no firm principles.

Generally, the theory of fiscal federalism was developed on the historical experiences of nations that emerged or unified by the coming together of independent territories to form larger political polities, such as the cases of Switzerland, Germany, Canada, or the United States of America. In its classical theory, thus, central government of such a federal system is a creation of the regional/provincial governments. But even among nations founded on such classical structure of federal system there is no universal structure of operating fiscal federalism.

 

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