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Restructure to avert disintegration, leaders tell Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari PHOTO: BAYO OMOBORIOWO

Restructuring alone will save Nigeria from imminent collapse, South South leaders have warned.

Political and economic restructuring offers the country the best prospect to re-establish itself as a just, fair, equitable and productive nation of equal opportunities, they said.

The leaders, under the aegis of Project Nigeria Movement, resolved that restructuring would enable component ethnic nationalities, bound by culture affinity, language and territorial contiguity to govern themselves in matters of internal concern, leaving matters of common concern to be managed under a central government constituted in such a manner as to ensure it is not dominated by any one group.

They said the restructuring they are advocating is one that recognises the right of people in a federating unit to own and control their mines and mineral reserves, including oil fields and natural gas. This right shall be recognised in a new constitution. This is without prejudice to the obligation of the Federal Government to support the development of mineral resources throughout the country. The federating units would also be expected to pay appropriate taxes to the Federal Government.

The leaders called for the establishment of separate police forces in the federating units. These would exist alongside the federal police with clearly defined powers and authority provided for in the constitution.

They urged the National Assembly to enact a law for the convocation of a national constituent assembly with a mandate to deliberate on a new constitution, which shall be subjected to a referendum.

They expressed support for people of the South East, South West, and North Central zones in their calls for restructuring. They also backed the devolution of Federal Government’s legislative powers, saying it should be limited to the armed forces, federal police, foreign affairs, immigration and emigration, customs and excise, currency, weights and measures, and nuclear energy.

Their views were contained in a communiqué issued, yesterday, at the end of a South South summit on restructuring, held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The event was attended by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who was represented by Head of Service, Godwin Rufus; former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah; King Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, first Military Governor of the old Rivers State, now Amanyanabo of Twon Brass and Chairman, Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers; former President of the Ijaw National Congress, Prof. Kimse Okoko; former President Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze Okocha; Senator Florence Ita-Giwa; Senator Ewa Henshaw; and delegates and participants from the six states in the region.
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), meanwhile, has threatened it would launch fierce reprisals on Fulani herdsmen if they attack any Ijaw community in the Niger Delta.

The group’s spokesperson, Henry Iyalla, said IYC President, Eric Omare, has ordered the establishment of a rapid response team to respond to such assault.

He warned that the Ijaw and other Niger Delta communities would not allow a repeat of the killings in Benue, Plateau, Enugu and other parts of the country.

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