The need for State Police, Fiscal Federalism, devolution of power and creation of States, Wednesday in Asaba, topped discussions at the ongoing two-day South-South Zonal Public hearing on the proposed Alteration of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Representatives of the three States in the Zone for the Asaba centre, comprising; Delta, Bayelsa and Edo, were unanimous and firm in their submissions, agreeing that the points itemised were necessary towards addressing the current challenge in the country.
Also, the contingents in their views stressed the need for resource control among the various States in the country.
In his address of welcome at the event organised by the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa while describing the move for the review of the nation’s constitution as germane, maintained that the 1999 constitution as amended did not reflect the collective wish, desires and expectations of the people.
Represented by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, Governor Okowa advocate the need for all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation, except proceeds from the Personal income tax of the personnel of the armed forces of the Federation, the Nigeria Police, the Ministry or department of Government charged with the responsibility for the Foreign Affairs as well as the residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja should be paid into the Federation Account.
These, according to the Governor should include all revenues from parastatals of the Federation, including NNPC, NLNG, CBN, NPA, NIMASA, FAAN and other similar agencies, adding that they shall only appropriate for their expenditures after prior approval by the National Assembly.
“It is anomalous for these parastatals/agencies of the Federation to collect and spend all revenues due to the Federation Account by themselves without reference to an approved budget by the National Assembly as provided in section 80(1) of the constitution
“The People and Government of Delta State, haven considered the utmost need for the creation of State Police as in other true Federation Worldwide, recommend that State Police be provided for in the envisaged new constitution.
“With the creation of State Police, the State assume full responsibility for regular policing of their geographical territories with a view to maintaining public order and public safety.
“It is our recommendation that the Nigerian Police should be restricted to enforcement of Federal laws while local policing should be restricted to enforcement of State laws” Okowa posited.
Earlier in his address, the Chairman, Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 constitution and Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege said that the public hearing becomes necessary in order to provide the people with the opportunity to express their views.
Omo-Agege whose address was read by Senator James Manager stated that the Proposed Alteration of the 1999 constitution was not an attempt to entirely rewrite the constitution but for correction.