By Ibrahim HassanWuyo
Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai of Kaduna state has commended two National Assembly members from his state for spearheading efforts to enact into law the recommendations of the APC True Federalism Committee.
In a statement by Muyiwa Adekeye, Special Adviser to the Governor (Media & Communication) ,the governor thanked Senator Uba Sani and Hon. Garba Datti for demonstrating that the National Assembly is the critical institution for the vital task of restructuring Nigeria by passing laws devolving powers to its federating units. Malam El-Rufai hopes that many more federal legislators will take up and sponsor the bills necessary to actualise restructuring as a nation-building opportunity.
The governor described the four bills sponsored by Senator Uba Sani to ensure the decentralisation of policing in Nigeria as a significant moment in removing the anomaly of a unitary police force in a federal republic.
He said the bill proposed by Hon. Garba Datti seeking to move labour matters into the concurrent list was another concrete step towards devolution of power in the country.
Malam El-Rufai stated that decentralisation of the judiciary, police and labour matters are among the items recommended by the APC True Federalism Committee.
This entails moving the constitutional provisions on these matters wholly or partly from the exclusive list to the concurrent list, so that powers and responsibility over them can be devolved.
The other issues include Mines and Minerals, Registration of Business Names, Prisons, Stamp Duties, Railways, Fingerprints and Identification and Foods and Drugs.
The governor recalled that the APC True Federalism Committee noted in its January 2018 report that “a major issue with the Nigerian federation is the enormous exclusive legislative powers of the federal government with resultant over-centralisation of power and authority. It is generally believed that a further decentralisation of some of these powers by devolving more powers, autonomy, and resources to the federating units will foster efficiency and sub-national responsiveness and local accountability.”
The committee reported that “there were calls that each State should freely legislate on its minimum wage according to the resources available to it but should avoid huge disparity between salaries and emoluments”.
Therefore, “the committee recommends this should be adopted as each state should be free to decide on its level of remuneration based on its resources and productivity. In fact, the committee is of the view that all labour relational issues should be federalised and each state is free to determine its own labour laws”. Such devolved powers on labour matters will include trade unions, industrial relations, conditions, safety and welfare of labour, industrial disputes, prescribing minimum wage and industrial arbitration.
The Kaduna State Government is the first government to pay the new national minimum wage, a step that was followed by raising minimum monthly pension to N30,000 for retirees on the old defined benefits system. The state has been operating the contributory pension system since 1 January 2017.
Malam Nasir El-Rufai wishes to urge the leadership and membership of the two chambers of the National Assembly to expeditiously enact these bills into law which adequate regulatory standards and safeguards to enable State and Community Policing throughout Nigeria, uphold labour rights and promote efficient industrial relations.