Sanwo-Olu, others demand fiscal federalism, state police, council autonomy
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa, representatives of labour unions, human rights and civil society groups, yesterday, stressed the need to amend the 1999 Constitution and restructure Nigeria to reflect true federalism, if the country must unite and prosper.
Sanwo-Olu and Obasa, particularly reiterated the need for a special economic status for Lagos, creation of state police for Lagos and true fiscal federalism in Nigeria.
They made the calls at the opening of a two-day public hearing organised by Senate Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution, for South West (Lagos, Ogun, Oyo) held under the chairmanship of Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who represents Lagos Central.
Top on the agenda was the need for total devolution of powers to make the local government system have more share and empowered to carry out effective administration of the polity as the closest level of government to the people.
Other submissions by participants include creation of new states, granting local government autonomy, ensuring gender equality and drafting of an entirely new constitution as they described the 1999 Constitution as “Military Constitution” imposed on Nigerians.
There were also demands for state police, re-inclusion of magistrates in the constitution and review of their retirement age from 60 to 65 years.
Participants also called for a declaration to make the Higher National Diploma (HND) equivalent to university degree, judicial and electoral reforms.
Others, who attended the public hearing, include Senator Olamilekan Adeola (Lagos West), Senator Tokunbo Abiru (Lagos East); Senators Ibikunle Amosun, Tolu Odebiyi (Ogun State) and Senators Teslim Folarin and Abdulfatai Buhari (Oyo State).
Also in attendance were President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba; Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo and representatives of civil organisations who presented and submitted their individual memorandum to the committee.
In his address, Sanwo-Olu commended the National Assembly for responding to the concerns of Nigerians on the need to review the constitution to reflect current realities.
According to the governor, the issues of state police and fiscal federalism are at the top of the priority list in the review process. He also said special economic status should be granted for Lagos, considering its place in the national economy and the special burdens it bears by virtue of large population and limited land mass.
“I believe the need for this special status has been sufficiently articulated and justified. It suffices for me at this point to restate that this request is by no means a selfish one, but one that is actually in the interest of every Nigerian and of Nigeria as a nation.”
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