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Fayemi, el-Rufai: To avoid collapse, Nigeria needs state police, devolution of power now

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Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State and his Ekiti State counterpart, Kayode Fayemi, yesterday called for urgent constitutional action on state police and devolution of power to states to save Nigeria from the brink of collapse. This is as the Managing Director/ CEO of Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, urged all Nigerians to see the country as a common heritage where everyone needs to contribute and jointly build.

Speaking yesterday in Lagos at the maiden live edition of ‘Radio Now’s Urgent Conversation’ with the theme, ‘The Fierce Urgency Of Now: Tactics And Strategies To Pull Nigeria From The Brink’, the speakers averred that there is need to proffer urgent responses and solutions to the myriad of challenges the country is currently facing. Other speakers at the event include Senate’s Minority Leader, Eyinnaya Abaribe; Senior Pastor of Daystar Christian Centre, Sam Adeyemi; and Chioma Agwuegbo, among others, with renowned journalist, Dele Olojede, as the moderator of the session.

The panelists, who spoke against the backdrop of insecurity issues ravaging the country, stressed the need for urgent collaboration between the executive and legislature to enact and enforce laws to put insecurity and crimes under check. While calling on the Federal Government to rise up to its responsibilities of protecting the lives and properties of citizens, el-Rufai said the country’s anti-banditry war has not been won because the security agencies in Nigeria were under-equipped and under-staffed.

el-Rufai further said the country needed to take immediate measures to rescue the country from the brink. The governor, who said the country was witnessing one of its most difficult moments in history, added that the country needs to undertake three immediate measures to secure the country.

These measures, he said, “are critical to the immediate needs of the country to pull back from the brink”, which he itemised as “imperative for federal, state and community police; vesting control of oil and gas, mines and minerals (other than offshore in the continental shelf and extended economic zone) in the states with royalties and taxes payable to the Federation Account, and rectifying the anomaly of a federation that has a more or less unitary judiciary.”

The governor also said he was, “firmly convinced that restructuring on the lines proposed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) committee on true federalism is a nationbuilding opportunity. “It would allow states to exercise consequential powers, assume more responsibilities and control resources to enable them deliver better outcomes for those they govern.”

He added: “The genuine fears for their lives and property felt by many citizens across the country need to be assuaged, along with urgent steps to stop the attacks, relieve human misery and rebuild collective trust and will to jointly confront and defeat the criminals that menace us all. “I will dwell on three of the issuesthatIbelievearecriticaltothe immediate needs of the country to pull back from the brink.

The first, it is imperative for Federal, state, and community policing. We do not have enough police. One centralised police for the country just has not worked.” “Secondly, we must amend the constitution and relevant laws to ensure control of oil and gas, mines, and minerals in the states that already have control over land under the land use Act with royalties and taxes payable to the Federal Government and the Federation Account “Number three, we must rectify the anomaly of a Federation that has a more or less unitary judiciary,” the governor said. Fayemi said: “Elite consensus must agree on four things: one – commitment to the rule of law and quick dispensation of justice, common citizenship and respect for residency rights, equal opportunity for all, respect for diversity and protection of citizenship rights guaranteed by the constitution and finally, the immediate devolution of powers to return the nation to a true federation of our founding fathers.”

Fayemi, who joined the programme via Zoom platform, said: “I concur with virtually everything that my brother (Governor Nasir El-rufai) has put forward. Conflict is part of human existence and Nigeria has experienced his own circle of it since independence. “However, the spate of it in the last two years should cer-tainly be a major cause of concern for not just the government, citizens, stakeholders as well as external interests who desire the best for our country. “We are right to be impatient, but must never let the perfect become the enemy of the good, there is some good taking place, but we need to pull everything together for our country to be what it is meant to be.

“What has led to ethnic profiling is that we have not done enough to bring to book those that were caught for crime in our country and we must do everything in our power to do more in bringing to book these criminals”. While calling for elite consensus to resolve most of the issues affectingthe country, the Kaduna governor warned against ethnic profiling of crime, adding that criminality is not the exclusive preserve of any tribe or race.

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