Northern leaders realising their grave mistakes too late – ASETU

The first part of this report published last week highlighted the different views of various states in the North during the on-going stakeholders consultations on what to change or included in a proposed new Constitution for Nigeria. The report continues with Governor Nasir el-Rufai articulating the position of Kaduna State

 The governor proposed 10  items that should be shared between the state and federal, saying “the reality of our security situation today requires that Nigeria must strengthen its military and security agencies. This includes decentralizing the police to enable the states to exercise effective control in securing their residents and communities.”

‘’ We need to have federal, state and community police, with each granted sufficient powers to make them effective in securing the areas assigned to them and cooperating closely with each other”, he  further said.

“Those expressing concerns about the ability of the states to bear the cost of policing should realize that apart from the payment of salaries by the federal government, most of the operational and capital costs of the Nigeria Police are borne by state and local governments.”

The governor argued that fear of abuse of State Police by sub-national governments is misplaced because a constitutional or statutory framework can be enacted to ensure federal intervention in  cases of such abuses.

El Rufai also said that the constitution should be altered to remove  the Police Service Commission because it is an unnecessary hindrance  to effective  policing in Nigeria.

The power to hire and fire police officers should revert fully and totally to the Inspector General of Police, under the supervision of the National Police Council, as envisaged by the Constitution,” he advocated.

The governor recommended that all ‘’mineral resources, including oil and gas and solid minerals in the states, which will in turn pay royalties and taxes to the Federation Account.”

‘’States already control land within their territories, courtesy of the Land Use Act, which is incorporated into the Constitution by reference,”  he argued.

“One of the reasons why mining has not quite taken off in our country is because of the dichotomy and total disconnect between the federal institution that issues licenses for mining and the state agencies that ultimately control not only the land and title thereto, but any approval to undertake any development on the land. ‘’
The governor also argued that states should be empowered  to establish staff and run their own judiciary up to appellate level.

‘’It is an anomaly to have a National Judicial Council appointing high court judges for states. This should be the responsibility of State Judicial Councils.

‘’The remit of the National Judicial Council should be limited to the federal high and appellate courts. The constitutional amendment should clarify that the states can establish courts to exercise jurisdiction at first instance, or on appeal on matters for which the states can make laws.

‘’ In essence, I am suggesting that judges of State High Courts, Sharia Courts of Appeal and Customary Courts of Appeal should be nominated by the State Judicial Council, subject to confirmation by the House of Assembly,” he said.

El Rufai further said that states should also be enabled to establish State Courts of Appeal, similar to what we used to have at the regional level under the 1963 Republican Constitution.

‘’The State Court of Appeal will entertain appeals from State High Courts, Customary and Sharia Courts of Appeal, on matters on which the State House of Assembly is empowered by the Constitution to make laws.
Taraba State: with views from Gombe, Adamawa
  Wukari Native Authority Indigenes Demand Kwararrafa State
… Wants  Amendment  to Section 8 of 1999 Constitution on Creation of New States, LGs

Key players from Taraba State converged at the venue of the North-East Zonal Constitution review stakeholders meeting and made their feelings known regarding what they want in the new constitution of Nigeria.

But one of the memos that stood out,    is the resolve of the entire people of the former Wukari Federation Native Authority, which is today broken into Wukari, Takum, Donga, Ibi, Ussa, Kurmi Local Government Areas and Yangtu Development Area in present-day Taraba State.

Their prayers which were presented in a memo at the public hearing on the proposed alteration on the provisions of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, sought for the creation of Kwararrafa State out of present-day Taraba with Wukari as its capital.

They also sought an amendment of Section 8 of the 1999 constitution for flexibility to allow the creation of more states and local government areas.

Dr. David Agbu, who spoke for the group, advanced various reasons why their proposal should be considered based on current realities.

In the memo presented, he said, “The desire for a new state of our own is informed by our historical background and the need for rapid development. Ancient KWARARRAFA Empire was on the same pedestal with Borno Empire and Sokoto caliphate in the North; Oyo and Benin Empire in the South caliphate in the accorded the status of two or more states except KWARARRAFA Empire, which is still part of another state.

“We the peaceful people of the proposed KWARARRAFA state are asking for the restoration of our past status (our earlier rejection of the proposal to include us in Katsina-Ala state in 1996 still stands).”

Some of the arguments advanced by the group and why their proposal should be considered include its population, landmass, economic viability, natural resources, and industrial development potentials among others.

Having outlined their request and observed possible pitfalls to achieving their dream State, the group further requested that Section 8 of the 1999 constitution be altered to allow the process of additional states and local government areas creation to be made less rigid.

“We submit a request for the creation of KWARARRAFA STATE out of the present-day Taraba State with its capital city at Wukari and/or at least 13 more local governments should be created from the present Wukari, Takum, Donga, Ibi, Ussa, Kurmi Local Government Areas and Yangtu Development Area of Taraba State herein again as before requested.

“Given the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, particularly Section 8 which gives the National Assembly the powers to create more States and Local Governments in Nigeria; this position paper is agreeing for the amendment of the said Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution to simplify the procedure of the creation of more states and local governments due to the yearning and aspirations of Nigerians more particularly the former Wukari Federation.”

Adamawa: Give us Gongola State out of Adamawa-stakeholders
Of all the issues tabled in 25 memos submitted by stakeholders in Adamawa, the call for the creation of a new Gongola State topped the list of demands.

The Chamba Cultural Development Association, CCDA, which tabled the request for the new state, also asked for three additional local government areas to be created for them.

The protagonists of the new state said it should encompass the Southern Senatorial District of Adamawa State made up of:    Ganye, Toungo, Jada, Mayo-Belwa, Demsa, Numan, Lamurde, Guyuk and Shelleng Local Government Areas.

He said if created three additional local governments need to be created; Gangdu from Ganye, Yelli from Jada, Nasarawo-Jereng from Mayo-Belwa, Barrong from Demsa.

According to him, they have over two million people in the areas based on the projection of 2006 population census.

“Creation of state with accompanying new local government councils has the potential of accelerating development of the affected communities    especially in agriculture and mining” he said
Sokoto: No to state police so that governors don’t use it against opponents during polls

…140 memos received with LG creation, autonomy, revenue-sharing formula and state police top agenda in Northwest of Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara

The memorandum received here centred on the demand for local governments autonomy, judicial independence, local government creation, review of federal revenue sharing formula among the three tiers of Government and creation of state police.

Most of the speakers in their presentations described the current state of insecurity in the country as the product of non-availability of administrative mechanism at the grassroots level. 

According to the speakers, some council areas in Sokoto , Kebbi and Zamfara are large enough to be states rather than   local governments. They named some of those LGAs to include: Bagudo, Koko/Besse , Tureta, Tambuwal and Kebbi local governments. 

They strongly supported granting autonomy to the local government to make way for even development at the grassroots.

“How can you say you have three tiers of government when the third one is being controlled by another, determining its future and fate when it comes to executions of development projects?”

State governments operate joint accounts system whereby resources of local governments are teleguided by governors of individual states to the detriment of elected local governments executives and their people. 

On the creation of state police, some presenters vehemently opposed the idea of creation of state police, saying it would be used against opponents during elections.

A serving senator, Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir, argued that the establishment of state police would lead to the breakdown of law and order as most of the governors would deploy state police against their opponents and use same to humiliate citizens generally.  


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