13 November 2012

Nigeria: Plateau Govt., Senators Disagree Over State Creation, State Police

Photo: Vanguard
Political battles in Nigeria

The Plateau Government and representatives of the three Senatorial districts on Tuesday disagreed over creation of state and states police in the public session on constitution review.

The session, chaired by Chief Solomon Lar, was to harmonise the grey areas between the positions of the three Senatorial districts and the State Government.

According to Lar, the forum will enable Plateau to come out with a concise document that will represent the interest of the entire Plateau.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three senatorial zones through their representative, Gyang Pwajok, Joshua Dariye and Victor Lar, made their submissions at the forum.

NAN reports that the Commission of Information Mr Yiljap Abraham, stated the position of the State Government on the constitution review.

NAN also reports that the submissions showed a sharp disagreement on areas like state creation, state police and local government autonomy.

While the Plateau Central and Southern senatorial zones supported state creation, the Northern zone rejected that clause and declared that they had no interest on additional states.

On the other hand, the State Government, in its submission, said it was against the creation of any state out of Plateau.

The northern district and the State Government called for state police, while the central and the southern senatorial districts rejected it.

On Local government administration, the three zones endorsed its autonomy but the State Government preferred the councils placed completely under the state control.

However, the State Government and the three senatorial zones agreed on most areas like Indigenisation, Land Use Act, NYSC and the Code of Conduct.

Other areas of agreement included the retention of the immunity clause as well as the tenure of public office holders.

NAN reports that at the end of the peoples' public session, a committee was set up to harmonise the areas of disagreement.

The members of the committee are the three senators, the Commissioner for Information, the Speaker of the House of Assembly and one person each from the three zones.

In a related development, stakeholders in Bayelsa have demanded for the creation of Oloibiri State and a constitutional recognition for the Niger Delta region.

They made the demand in Yenagoa on Tuesday at a forum organised by the lawmakers in the state to deliberate on the constitution review.

The forum was geared toward harmonising the position of the state on critical issues for review in the constitution.

The meeting was facilitated by Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri representing Bayelsa West, Sen. Emmanuel Paulker (Bayelsa Central) and Sen. Clever Ikisikpo (Bayelsa East).

They said that the proposed states should be carved out of Edo, Bayelsa and Delta, with Niger Delta Izon Women leader, Mrs Motoere Olodiama, saying that then region deserved more states because it produced the nation's wealth.

However, a civil society group, the Niger Delta Development Monitoring Group insisted that state creation should be backed up with measures to reduce the cost of governance.

The Executive Director of the organisation, Chief Nengi James, said the lawmakers should consider either retaining a bicameral legislature; where lawmakers would sit on part time basis or a full time unicameral legislature.

James also made case for resource control, true federalism and independent candidacy.

He suggested that the amendment should create a provision for a referendum in the constitution to enable Nigerians decides on issues of governance.

"We should also have devolution of power. Power should not be concentrated in the Federal Government. It should return to the state and local governments", James said.

NAN reports that Bayelsa stakeholders are expected to present a common position on the constitution review to the State Government on Wednesday. NAN

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