The two-day zonal public hearing of the Senate on the review of the 1999 Constitution, Thursday ended with stakeholders from the North-East demanding the creation of additional states, 25 per cent derivation, gender equality, free and compulsory education, among others.
The exercise was organised by the Upper Chamber in 12 centres across the country to collate the views of Nigerians on the key areas to be amended in the 1999 Constitution in order to address agitations in the country.
In Bauchi centre, the people of Southern Borno comprising nine LGAs Thursday disagreed with the position of the Borno State government and insisted on the creation of Savannah State.
Addressing newsmen shortly after presenting their memorandum, a representative of the movement for the creation of Savannah State and former Secretary to Borno State Government, Ambassador Dauda Danladi, said the southern part of the state is being marginalised, hence the need for the new state.
The Speaker, Borno State House Assembly, Abdulkarim Lawan, had on Wednesday kicked against the creation of an additional state from Borno.
The stakeholders had in September last year requested in a letter to the Senate.
In the document, the group said the move is necessary as Borno is the largest in the country in terms of landmass to enhance self-determination, compatibility, equitable and even development, and responsive governance.
With proposed capital in Damboa, they further said that it will comprise of nine LGAs in Southern Borno Senatorial;
Askira/Uba, Bayo, Biu, Chibok, Damboa, Gwoza, Hawul, Kwaya-Kusar and Shani.
“We the people of Askira/Uba, Bayo, Biu, Chibok, Damboa, Gwoza, Hawul, Kwaya-Kusar and Shani local Government Areas of Borno State, wish to present our request for the creation of Savannah State out of the present Borno State,” the letter said.
“We had before now presented requests for the creation of this proposed State at various times in recent years. Between 1982, 1983 and 1996 a request was made by the people of these Local Government Areas of the former Borno State for the Creation of Savannah State to the National Assembly of the Second Republic.
“During the agitation across the country in 1991 for the creation of more States, requests were made for the creation of two States out of the former Borno State, namely; Savannah and Yobe States. The request for the creation of Yobe State was granted.
“We had also earlier submitted this request to the National Constitutional Conference through its Committee on the States Creation. The move to kick start the process of reviewing the 1999 constitution then, which could accommodate states and local governments creation along with necessary boundary adjustments was indeed a welcome development and we enthusiastically participated.
“In 2014, we equally submitted our request to the National Conference Committee on states creation. That effort resulted in the shortlisting of SAVANNAH State as one of the fourteen (14) states recommended for creation in Nigeria. The 2014 Conference report has again clearly shown that SAVANNAH state met all necessary criteria for the creation of the state in Nigeria.
“To us, this present move by your humble and esteem selves to Kick-start the process of review of the 1999 Constitution which could accommodate States and Local Government Creation and necessary boundary adjustments, is indeed a welcome stride and we pray that our submission will again receive the blessing of the National Assembly. It is in this regard that we wish to respectfully submit our memorandum for the creation of SAVANNAH STATE with its proposed capital at DAMBOA.
“Under and in fulfilment of the provisions of section 8(1)(a) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, all the democratically elected members at the National, State and local Government levels representing the area demanding for the creation of Savannah State, have after consideration of the long time yearnings and aspirations of the people of the proposed state, endorsed this noble request for the creation of SAVANNAH STATE.
“Given the opportunities provided by the State creation to bring Government closer to the people and to foster even and rapid development, the people of the proposed Savannah State who are eager to bring about balanced and accelerated development are making this passionate appeal for your kind consideration of our request for the creation of SAVANNAH STATE”.
The basis for the demand of Savannah State
The letter further read, “in making our demand for curving out Savannah State out of the present Borno State, we have been motivated by our desire to bring Government closer to our people and to accelerate rapid and even development of the sub-region as well as the need to remain united within the context of the New State and the Nation”.
It added, ” We believe that the creation of Savannah State out of the present BornoState will make it possible for both states to plan and provide the basis for integrated and even development and thus create more investment and employment opportunities for our people”.
The group noted that the ” proposed Savannah State is richly endowed with Solid Minerals, agricultural products, tourism potentials and human resources that can be harnessed to lay a solid foundation for the transformation of the State.
“It is an incontrovertible fact that greater part of both the human and material resources of the present Borno state come from the southern part. We are confident that the resources available to the proposed savannah state can sustain it, and make it even more viable than many already established state”.
Among the mineral resources listed are quartz, limestone, Iron Ore and magnesium.