Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Wednesday advocated for devolution of powers to states and local governments to stop overburdening Federal Government with too many responsibilities it cannot efficiently handle.
El-Rufai made the call in Kaduna at the opening of the Sen. Kabiru Gaya-led Public Hearing of the Senate Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution for the North West zone.
The governor further stated that the APC Committee on True Federalism. which he headed, had identified legislative interventions that the National Assembly could more easily undertake to achieve a truly balanced, equitable and fair federal structure.
The governor. who said he spoke in his personal capacity, proposed 10 items that should be shared responsibilities between the state and federal governments.
According to him, 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.
“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,” El-Rufai said.
He said that fear of abuse of state police by sub-national governments is misplaced because a constitutional or statutory framework could 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 the country.
‘’ 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.
“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 said.
He said that the dichotomy and total disconnect between federal institution issuing licenses for mining and state agencies that ultimately control land and title was impeding take off of mining in the country.
The governor said 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.
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