By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
IN a landmark move aimed at making education free and to boost internally generated revenue and funding for the security agencies, All Progressives Governors in the country have approved three bills aimed at giving legal backing to the new policies.
The prototype bills, which were unfolded in Abuja by Progressives Governors’ Forum, PGF, on Friday, are: State Security Coordinating Committee and Trust Fund, Collection and Administration of Revenue Due to the state and local governments and the establishment of the relevant administrative structures and Compulsory, free universal education.
The bills were formally presented to the media by the Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who was represented by his Deputy, Prince Eze Madumere, at an event which was also attended by the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo , the Speaker of Kebbi State House of Assembly and Chairman of Conference of Speakers in Nigeria, the Attorneys General of Katsina and Imo states, Political Adviser to the Oyo State Governor and the Director General of the PGF, Malam Salihu Lukman.
According to Madumere, the APC governors want to make a categorical statement that the party was committed to free education, economic prosperity and safe country with the introduction of the three bills, which are to be domesticated in the 24 states across the country.
Giving an insight into each of the three legislations, Madumere said that the State Security Coordinating and Trust Fund bill aims to provide a robust, strategic and community grounded security architecture as a solution to the myriads of security challenges facing the federal and state governments.
He noted that security is central to the ideals of social justice, which is a cardinal programme of the present administration’s bid to stabilise the polity and attract foreign direct investments.
The governor said the second bill on Collection and Administration of Revenue was aimed at enabling the APC states to establish functional, legitimate and legal structures to collect revenue, sustain the collection of revenue and plug leakages so as to generate enough money for development.
“It seeks the restructuring and repositioning of our internal revenue generation agencies to strengthen and increase their revenue base while blocking leakages and other sharp practices,” the governor explained.
The third bill, which is on Free Universal Education, according to Madumere seeks to address the issues of refusal to send children to school, charging of fees and levies in public schools, membership of universal basic education and qualification for accessing funding.
Under the plan by the APC governors, each of the Attorney Generals of the states is expected to turn the three bills into Executive bills for onward transmission to their state houses of Assembly for passage into laws.
Answering reporters’ questions, the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, the Attorney General of Katsina and his Imo State counterpart, said there was no duplication of effort in the drafting of the bill and assured that the states would tailor the bill to suit their respective needs.
They also explained that the State Security Coordinating Committee and Trust Fund amounted to state police, pointing out that the bill was actually to create avenues for raising funds for security operations in the states and the country.