By Henry Umoru
NINETEEN State governors of the North yesterday rose from its meeting and unanimously kicked against the clamour for the establishment of state police.
According to the governors, it became imperative for them to call for the jettisoning of the proposal because the country was not ripe for such call.
In a communique signed on behalf of the governors by Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, the governors stressed that rather than have in place state police, the Constitution must be amended to allow for state governors control commissioners of police in their respective states.
Aliyu, who read the communique said, “The Forum is not in support of creation of State Police. It however resolved to prevail on the Federal Government to embark on Police Reform that will assist the states in control and management of police affairs, and sound philosophy of modern policing by amending the provision of Section 215.”
The Section reads: “Subject to the provision of this section, the Governor of a state or such commissioner of the Government of the State as he may authorise in that behalf may give to the Commissioner of Police of that State such lawful directives with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order within the State as he may consider necessary, a Commissioner of Police shall comply with those directives or cause them to be complied with.”
The meeting which took place in Abuja was attended by 18 out of the 19 governors from the north.
The governors also canvassed for the deleting of provision (Section 214) of the Constitution, which requires that the order from the governor must be sanctioned by the Inspector General of Police.
Speaking on the tenure for President and Governors, the northern governors stressed that the extant provision of the Constitution “that provides for two terms of four years for President and Governors be maintained.”
The northern governors who also resolved that immunity clause as enshrined in Section 308(3) be maintained, stressed that zonal arrangement was an essential tool to address political exigencies, even as they insisted that the six geo-political zones must not be enshrined in the Constitution.
On judiciary, the governor said that the number of justices at the Supreme Court be limited to 2 while the National Assembly could determine the number of judges at Court of Appeal, adding that the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice should not be separated.
The governors who agreed that the office of Accountant General of the Federation be split, said that there should be the office of Accountant General of the Government of the Federation, adding that this would handle accounts of the Federal Government only.
They also called for the creation of the office of Comptroller of the Federation that would handle revenue accruing to the Federation Account.
According to them, the issue of on-shore and offshore dichotomy be revisited, just as they resolved to meet with Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly of northern states and members of the National Assembly to further deliberate on the proposed amendment.
Also, the governors said they had constituted a technical committee to study the Petroleum Industry Bill that would advise them on it.
On security problem in the north, the governors agreed to set up a committee on Reconciliation, Healing and Security comprising eminent citizens from the zone to work on continuous basis as a team towards “mitigating the alarming rate of insecurity in the north.”
On Labour, they said there should not be a National Minimum Wage. They insisted that each state be allowed to determine what it could pay its workers, even as they called for the amendment in Labour Allied, and Company Laws.
On the role of traditional rulers, the governors said there was no need to give them any constitutional roles, adding that the current provision of Section 7 of the Constitution concerning the running of local governments be maintained.
Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu
On electricity, the Forum said states should be allowed to generate and distribute power if they wish, whether or not such area was covered by the national grid.
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