After sounding the alarm with loud voices coming from Nigerians asking the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) about one of the promises it’s made during it campaign on restructuring, the party, bowing to pressure, set-up committee which was headed by Kaduna state Governor, Malam Nasir El-rufai and was given responsibility to find lasting solution to many agitations that many Nigerians are clamoring.
The committee yesterday presented its report to chief Odigie-oyegun led National working committee (NWC) of the party. The findings of el-rufai’s committee back finger-prints and identification for criminal, it also opposes creation of states
El-Rufai disclosed that the findings of the committee, inaugurated August, last year, were reached after collating input from 409 memoranda and 8004 stakeholders and groups spread across 14 cities in 12 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
President Mohammadu Buhari in his New Year message had rejected calls for restructuring, saying: “When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than structure.”
The committee recommended that states have considerable control on solid and oil resources in their domains, subject to the approval of the National Assembly.
it recommended that fingerprinting and identification of criminal records, currently on the exclusive list, be moved to the concurrent, allowing federal and state governments to share information; that minimum wage be moved to the concurrent list, to allow states determine the wages of their workers; and that control and establishment of prisons be moved from the exclusive list, as was the case in the First Republic.
It called for policing to be moved to the concurrent list, enabling the creation of state police alongside a federal force with specified areas of jurisdiction.
It also proposed more revenue for states and reduction of the federal share of revenues, because the “majority of Nigerians feel that states should get more revenue and the federal government should slim down a little bit.”
El-Rufai said: “All minerals including oil and gas that are onshore will be vested in the states of the federation. However, all offshore oil should remain absolutely vested in the government of the federation.
“Offshore oil, which is also policed by the Nigerian Navy, belongs to the federation. But a mineral, oil, anything in the land, belongs to those that own the land, which is the state government. “We think the time has come to make this bold step and move away from over-centralization of mineral resources.
“Then there would be a certain constitutional amendment. The Petroleum Act needs to be amended so that states can issue oil-mining licenses. The Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act needs to be amended, to give states the power to do this. The Land Use Act will also need to be amended, to recognize the provisions in the Minerals and Mining Act. The Petroleum Profit Act 2007 will need to be amended. And we have drafted all the bills to give effect to this.”
It was proposed that an amendment to the constitution be made to keep narcotics and psychotropic substances on the exclusive legislative list, while foods, drugs and poisons move to the concurrent so that states could legislate on them.
It proposed a constitutional amendment to transfer the 12 items now in the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent, to make room for state and federal government legislation.
El-Rufai disclosed that the committee’s survey indicates only 36 percent of Nigerians wanted more states created, while the majority were opposed to the idea.
“It is recommended that the Revenue Mobilizations, Allocation and Fiscal Commission Act be amended to vest in the commission the power and responsibility to review the derivation formula, to put forward a proposal to the president, who shall table it before the National Assembly for legislation. We have drafted a bill that will expand Section 6 (sub 1) of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission Act, to give them that power,” he said.
Other recommendations were: widening the political space and forcing existing political parties to be more democratic by making room for independent candidacy; allowing states to enact laws peculiar to them and determine number, structure and ways local councils should be governed; amendment of the Federal Character Act to recognise domicile as qualifying a person to be an indigene in a state or local government; allowing the president to appoint ministers from any part of the country subject to confirmation by the National Assembly; the establishment of states’ judicial councils and courts of appeal; and holding of a referendum on burning national issues.
Odigie-Oyegun thanked the committee for the job, saying mischief-makers on the party’s stance on federalism and restructuring have been silenced.