The Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN and Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN have disagreed over restructuring of Nigeria.
While the Ondo State Governor insisted on devolution of power in favour of states and councils, Malami criticised Governors for controlling councils and turning around to ask for more powers.
Both of them, who are Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) spoke in Lagos at the ongoing Attorneys-General meeting.
Akeredolu, who delivered the keynote address averred that the Federal Government’s inability to secure life and property would force citizens to arm themselves in self-defence.
He believes the police, inadequately funded and equipped, were overwhelmed.
Akeredolu, SAN added that state policing and restructuring were imperative.
Malami, SAN questioned governors’ moral authority to demand restructuring after usurping local government powers.
The 36 Attorneys-General are meeting for three days to discuss critical legal issues relating to $418 million Paris Club Refunds, Value Added Tax (VAT), stamp duty, and amendments to the 1999 Constitution.
Akeredolu and Malami were part of the speakers at the event, both are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Others were Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Simon Lalong (Plateau), Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President Olumide Akpata and Director-General of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum, Asishana Okauru, amongst others.
Akeredolu, who urged states to emulate Lagos and push for restructuring via legal means, claimed that the Federal Government was getting way too much of the national income at the states’ and local governments’ expense.
“The Federal Government getting 52 per cent of the country’s revenue allocation is the main cause of the problem. There are some funds at the federal level that they don’t know what to do with. And the states and local governments are being starved. This is a direct consequence of long military rule,” the governor said.
Referencing the recent mass killings in a Catholic Church in Owo, he lamented that the police blamed the non-availability of vehicles for their inability to mobilise to the scene of the attack.
The governor asked the Police to “close shop” if the Federal Government could not meet its equipment needs.
“The Police have failed”, Akeredolu said, adding that a central police command was ineffective in keeping Nigerians safe.
“The current spate of insecurity in the country leaves us with no room for equivocation on the right of the states to maintain law and order through the establishment of state police,” he said.
Addressing the AGF, the governor said: “We will carry arms very soon. Oga Malami. There is no other way.”
The governor added that he and his family believed in Nigeria, which was why he and his son married outside the Southwest.
The governor further challenged states to restructure the country by, among others, setting up their anti-graft agencies or Anti-Corruption Commission.
He argued that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was a creation of and for the Federal Government of Nigeria only and not for the Federation of 36 states.