By Levinus Nwabughiogu
The clamour to restructure Nigeria and enthrone fiscal federalism may soon yield positive results as the House of Representatives is already in receipt of bills to realise the dreams.
The bills are seeking to tinker with the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and transfer some items from Exclusive Legislative List to Concurrent List to enable the federating units of the country develop at their pace without any inhibition or interferences from the Federal Government.
Speaking exclusively to Vanguard in Abuja on the phone, spokesman of the House, Benjamin Kalu, said restructuring and state police were topmost in the constitution amendment exercise billed to kick off soon.
He said the lawmakers were giving their nod for a decentralised police force, especially with the spate of insecurity currently facing the country.
Kalu, who represents Bende federal constituency of Abia State in the House, said it had been counter-productive to have people from different backgrounds to police an environment not familiar to them as officers.
He said: “As you know, the issue of restructuring has been a long standing issue and this is the first parliament that’s being faced with this demand from Nigerians to give power from Abuja to the various federating units and the argument has always been that it will increase productivity, enhance development and increase healthy competition for purposes of making our country more resourceful and productive.
‘’Others are also wondering whether it will not affect the unity of the nation. Some people are feeling that the more the federating units are strengthened, the more division is enhanced.
“It (the issue) is before the constitution review committee and various memoranda will and are being received as we speak. From there, we will be able to take a position and definitely, a public hearing will be also be held.
“State police is also one of the things that will come up. Because of the insecurity in the country, Nigerians are looking for alternatives to make lives more secured. People are thinking that if we put this state police in place, our various communities will be better secured by those who understand the terrain, the culture, language, religion and all that.
“A situation where you have someone from the north policing a place in the west where he doesn’t speak the language, he doesn’t understand their culture, it takes the person a long time to adapt, especially now that we have insecurity problem.”
Also speaking on the subject matter, the member representing Sabon Gari constituency at the House of Representatives, Garba Datti, named prisons, the judiciary, stamp duties, fingerprint, identification of foods and drugs, registration of business names, mines and minerals as items to be expunged from the concurrent legislative list.
He said the items were before the House via various bills by members.
Datti said the National Assembly had the capability to fix Nigeria without the Federal Government convoking a conference of any sort.
He said: “There are many issues to be moved from Exclusive Legislative list to Concurrent. Correctional centre is one, state police is another. Different people are bringing them. We have them before the House.
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‘’This clamour for restructuring, true federalism, devolution of powers is within the powers of the National Assembly to do.
“We can make all these things without assembling some people to come and do it. This is because all the people in the National Assembly have the experience, education, qualification, so it can be done not only by convoking any conference.
“There is the issue of railways from the exclusive to concurrent list because as it is now, some states are trying to build this metro. Therefore, they can have the opportunity to build it without going through the exclusive list.
‘’There are other ones like judiciary, stamp duties, fingerprint, identification of foods and drugs, registration of business names, mines and minerals. All of these are in the House.
“They (bills) are gaining the support of the House. With the current security situation now, even those who are opposed to state police or community police, whatever you call them, are supporting it because they are more familiar with the environment they exist than to bring somebody from far away who doesn’t know that environment.’’
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