Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Confab - Standing Committees Resume Fireworks Today

The 20 Standing Committees of the National Conference will today resume fireworks on the thematic issues under the purview of their assignments as they are expected to wind up deliberations on Wednesday this week.

The committees are deliberating on specific national issues after which they will make recommendations to the conference at plenary on Monday next week.

A statement by the National Conference assistant secretary, media and communications, James Akpandem at the weekend, said the Committee on National Security headed by a former Inspector-General of Police, Muhammadu Gambo Jimeta, spent hours last week in closed session deliberating on a report submitted by Senator Bello Maitama Yusuf-led sub-committee on National Security.

Deputy chairman of the Committee and former Director-General of the defunct Nigerian Security Organisation (NSO), Chief Albert Horsfall, was said to have described the report as a preliminary document that would enable the Committee come up with a blue-print which would in turn enable the security forces to perform better than they are doing now.

"He expressed confidence that the report if adopted, would guide the operational commanders in carrying out their assignment successfully.

"Horsfall went down memory lane on critical security challenges and linked them up with the existing security practice and architecture; he pointed out that what is available today can be restructured to meet today's present challenges.

He cited situations that brought about security changes all over the world; and using the September 9, 2011 attack on the United States as an instance, said that attack changed the structure and approach to national security worldwide," Akpandem said.

The secretariat said serious recommendations aimed at 'strategically dealing with the country's security problems' were put forward by the National Security sub-committee but such details and the position of the main Committee were not disclosed to the public.

However, highlights of the sub-committee's recommendations touched on the need to set up a National Guard Force that would be responsible for border protection, internal conflict and special operations. It also, among others, recommended the creation of the Ministry of Homeland Security Services to replace the existing Ministry of Police Services.

"One recommendation that would lead to further debate was that of the serious need for community policing. Some members believe if accepted, it would pave the way for creation of state police," Akpandem said.

Meanwhile, in a Memorandum presented to the Committee on Law, Judiciary and Human Rights and Legal Reforms last week by Mr Femi Falana (SAN), he recalled that Sharia and Customary courts were not in the 1963 Republican Constitution. He therefore suggested that the courts be removed from the 1999 Constitution and should be legislated upon by State Governments.

In reaction, a member referred to Section 6 of the Constitution and observed that the courts were listed as Courts of Record. He added that if Nigeria will allow full implementation of true Federalism, the Federating Units would eventually take over legislations on issues relating to Sharia and Customary Courts. However, after extensive deliberations, it was unanimously resolved that the status quo remains.

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