…Expunge immunity clause
This is even as members of the Conference Committee on Political Matters have agreed to expunge the contentious immunity clause for president, his vice, governors and their deputies from the constitution.
The committee members, however, gave an exception to the rule. In the case of civil offences, president, vice, governors and deputies are protected by the law. The members believe detractors might take advantage of the removal of the immunity clause to institute unnecessary civil cases against executives.
The National Conference Committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government headed by General Ike Nwachukwu (rtd.) unanimously agreed that with the creation of an additional state in the zone, every Nigerian will now have a sense of belonging. They submitted that every other region, agitating for the creation of more states should get it on the basis of merit.
Senator Femi Okurounmu in his submission said there should be creation of more states to meet growing demands. He said there should be the same number of states in every zone in the spirit of fairness. He, however, warned delegates to tread carefully in order to avoid the abuse of the process.
Binta Masy Garba gave the nod for the creation of an additional state in the South-East in order in the spirit of fairness even as she advocated for the creation of Saudana State in the north.
Chief Benjamin Elue from Delta State while supporting the call for the creation of an additional state in the South-East, begged delegates to consider the long agitation of Igbo-speaking people in his state who want their own state. He said Anioma State should be carved out of Delta State in the interest of justice.
Senator Ahmed Aruwa said the committee cannot create a state, but can only make recommendations and create an enabling environment for those agitating for more states to have their way. He said the South-East zone deserves an additional states, based on merit.
Yinka Odumakin in his presentation said states must have the capacity to look inward and create its own revenue base instead of becoming slaves to the Federal Government. He said the practice where governors run to Abuja at the end of every month to collect salaries must be discouraged.
Lawrence Agubuzu, a South-East delegate said every region should get an additional state. He however argued that in the new arrangement, his region should be given two states. He said the creation of additional states in the six geopolitical zones will create a better balance.
In the interest of justice and fair play, Mohammed Kumalia agreed that the South-East should be given an additional state. He sad every other region agitating for more states must be given based on merit. He said this is needed in order to avoid abuse of the process.
A copy of the committee’s votes and proceedings obtained by Daily Sun read: “That without prejudice to states constituting the federating units, states that wish to merge may do so in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Addressing journalists after the committee adjoined its sitting to 10am on Monday, the chairman, General Nwachukwu said by supporting the creation of an additional state in the South-East, delegates have shown that everyone can has a win-win situation.
He said: “I must thank my committee members for their maturity and ability to discern the need for Nigeria to have more states based on merits by giving the South-East an additional states, thereby bringing at par with other zones. I want to indeed say to my colleagues that they have shown great understanding and they believe in win-win option. That is the spirit we should maintain in this Conference.”
Meanwhile, members of Conference Committee on Judiciary want the government to separate the office of the Attorney General of the Federation from that of the Minister of Justice. If this recommendation is adopted by the general house during the adoption of committees’ reports, years of agitations by lawyers and other activists who have persistently called for the separation would have succeeded.
The Judiciary committee also recommended that the government should create constitutional courts across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, similar to their Wednesday’s recommendations that Supreme Courts should be created in all the 36 states of the federation.