The Constitution Review Committee comprising Senators and members of the House of Representatives of Nigeria’s National Assembly has opened a four-day joint working retreat in Lagos.
The Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode who declared the retreat open, challenged the legislators to critically look into the issues that have occupied the front burner in the nation such as the need for each state to have its own police.
He said “The defining feature of federalism is the autonomy and recognition of the separateness and independence of each government that makes up the Federation; if this is true, we must therefore ask ourselves these salient questions: why should States be precluded from performing several important Constitutional responsibilities? Why should the Land Use Act, NYSC Act, Code of Conduct Act form part of the Constitution?”
“Should the Constitution not confer power on State Houses of Assembly to establish State Police with clear jurisdiction and well-articulated protocols for the regulation of its relationship with the federal police?”
“The effect is that whilst the States are precluded from performing several important constitutional responsibilities, the Federal Government is equally unable to function effectively as it holds legislative and executive powers on matters of local concern which over-stretch its administrative and supervisory abilities,” according to the Governor.
Mr Ambode who also noted that the current revenue sharing formula among the Federal, States and Local Governments should be reviewed added that the proposed Stamp Duties Bill before the National Assembly, would cripple states’ internally generated revenue.
“The Bill is presently before the National Assembly and it is a grave threat to the principles of fiscal federalism and as representatives of the true beneficiaries of the Act as it presently stands.”
“We need to be truthful and frank about fiscal federalism, the current revenue allocation formula by which the Federal Government takes as much as 52.68% of centrally-collected revenues in the Federation Account, leaving the States and Local Governments with 26.72% and 20.60% respectively has created a glaring and unacceptable imbalance in the financial resources of the three tiers of government,” he said.