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Published On: Tue, Apr 29th, 2014

Confab Committee Recommends Scrapping of LGAs, Drops State Police

LAGOS APRIL 29TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The committee on Political restructuring and Forms of Government in the ongoing National conference on Monday in Abuja recommended the removal of the 774 Local Governments from the nation’s constitution.
The committee however suggested that they should be transferred to the states legislature as part of the move to introduce two tiers of government in the country.

The committee which continued its deliberations with focus on local government administration in the country specifically recommended that the list of LGs as contained in the First Schedule, Part 1 of the 1999 constitution should be removed and transferred to the states to be covered by a law of the state Houses of Assembly.
The committee premised its recommendation on the need to rejig the grassroots administration in the country.
The committee had after its deliberation on the issue last week recommended the removal of LGs as a third tier of government and gave express authority to the states executive to determine the number to operate in their states among others.
It had also insisted Nigeria would remain a federation with the existing 36 states structure as the units.
The Committee also adopted the recommendation that the functions of local governments as contained in schedule 4 of the 1999 constitution shall be transferred to the states subject to the power of the state Houses of Assembly to add or reduce from the list.
It reaffirmed section 7 of the 1999 constitution that the system of local governments by democratically elected local government council is guaranteed.
Another crucial issue, shot down by the Committee on Devolution of Power after a lengthened argument, was for the establishment of State Police.
While delegates from the south were favourably disposed to it, those from the north were apprehensive that politicians would subject it to abuse. It died on the floor.
Udombana told the Committee that if the issue of devolution of power must be a reality, then there was no replacement to State Police, adding that the issue of abuse would be taken care of by laws.
Dalhatu was emphatic that Nigeria is not yet ready for State Police as the level of abuse by politicians would be too high, adding, “I don’t think we are yet ready in this country for State Police.”
Adebanjo and Tony Adefuye were of the view that with the establishment of State Police, most of the crisis that have rocked the country would always be chased away at the roots.
According to Adebanjo, the issue of Nigerian factor should not be brought into every discussion because, “if we have all agreed on going federal, why should we disagree on issues associated with federalism. We should not concentrate police power at the federal level only, it is un-federalism.”
It was his view that the issue of Boko Haram would have been dealt with at the roots if Nigeria operated a state police system like other countries of the world and pleaded that in the interest of Nigeria, the constitution and federalism, State Police should be placed on the Concurrent List.
Akintola informed the Committee that the issue of State Police should not be compelling on individual states; and that any state that desires it should be allowed to adopt it because the Conference cannot be talking about devolution of power while it throws away the ingredients that support devolution of power.
Magaji Dambatta in his contribution said introduction of State Police would amount to legalizing intimidation of political opponents by sitting governors; adding that “our environment is not yet ripe enough for State Police.”
After another contribution by a retired police officer, Farouk Usman, the matter was put to vote and with a majority voice, it was retained in the Exclusive List.

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