Nigeria due for decentralised police, says Dogara
• Constitution Amendment To Be Completed In March Next Year , Says Lasun
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara yesterday called for a decentralised police system to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in combating security challenges across the country.
Dogara who spoke in Abeokuta while declaring open a retreat of the “Special Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended)”, added that the issue of a decentralised Police force “is something Nigerians should ponder and debate now”.
“The Boko Haram experience has exposed the need for some form of decentralised policing in Nigeria. I believe that this may be achieved by allowing a decentralised police force within one national police organisation or existence of localised police structure. This is a matter for Nigerians to ponder and debate,” he said.
The theme of the three-day retreat is “The Imperatives of Constitution Review/Amendment in Nation Building”.
It was chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Lasun Yussuff, who also doubles as the House’s Ad-hoc Committee Chairman on Constitution Review.
Dogara who was represented at the occasion by the House’s Majority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, charged his colleagues to allow themselves to be guided by national interest and not parochial, sectional or religious considerations in their deliberations.
He also admonished the Committee members to re-examine all issues, including those where consensus had been reached during the last botched constitution review of the 7th Legislative Assembly “and proceed in the best way possible to meet the yearnings of Nigerians”.
The Speaker urged them not to give up on the stalled proposal seeking financial and structural autonomy for local governments in Nigeria but to revisit it.
According to him, the financial and structural autonomy bill for local governments did not sail through because 20 out of the 36 states of the Federation supported the proposal while the rest opposed it.
Dogara noted that if the National Assembly had gotten four more states to support the bill at the time, they would have achieved the financial and structural autonomy for the nation’s local governments.
In his address, the Deputy Speaker, Lasun identified legalising same sex marriage, resource control, local government creation and appointment of judges as some contemporary issues requiring constitutional review in Nigeria.
Others, he added, include the “constitutional implications of the executive team ticket in the light of the conflict in Kogi State and need for a credible electoral process”.
The Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun in his address noted that the task before the Committee was “very important” and “onerous,” praying that the country should get it right this time.