National Assembly sincere about constitution review, Omo-Agege declares
El-Rufai backs power devolution, state police
The ninth Senate is sincere about reviewing the 1999 constitution of the country based on the yearnings of Nigerians, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovia Omo-Agege, has said.
Omo-Agege made the declaration yesterday at the opening ceremony of the North West Zonal Public Hearing of the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, in Kaduna State.
The legislator, who chairs the committee, said the review of the constitution should be done periodically to address certain topical areas.
Represented by Senator Kabiru Gaya, the committee chairman said zonal hearings for the alteration of the constitution were holding simultaneously across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He added: “For those who have followed previous constitution review exercises, you may be wondering why these zonal hearings are coming ahead of the National Public Hearing. The reason is that the Senate has decided to adopt a bottom-top approach by first listening to Nigerians at the geo-political level.”
According to him, this approach underscores the critical importance the committee places on the subnational levels of governance in Nigeria.
BUT Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State argued that “devolution of powers is necessary because the current structure overburdens the Federal Government with too many responsibilities.”
The governor noted 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.
“We also drafted bills to alter the constitution and amend or repeal existing legislations to achieve the overall objective of true federalism,” el-Rufai stated.
He proposed decentralising of the police to enable the states exercise effective control in securing their residents and communities.
“We need to have federal, state and community police, with each granted sufficient powers to effectively secure the areas assigned to them.
“Those expressing concerns about the ability of the states to bear the cost of policing should realise that apart from the payment of salaries by the Federal Government, most of the operational and capital costs of the police are borne by state and local councils,” he added.
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