Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly resumed from the Sallah break on Tuesday with a call on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation over issues relating to insecurity and rising sectional agitations across the country.
The House also said it was standing by the decisions reached by the southern governors at their recent meeting in Asaba, Delta State.
Calling the attention of his colleagues to the communique released by the governors after the meeting, the Deputy Leader of the House, Hon. Noheem Adams, noted that the Lagos Assembly had always called for the establishment of state police.
Hon. Adams urged his colleagues to support the governors saying the latter had shown that they are alive to their responsibilities.
Adams, however, urged the governors to start restructuring in their states by implementing autonomy for state legislatures and judiciary.
He recalled how the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Obasa, as chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures, led his colleagues to the president to seek autonomy for state legislatures and judiciary. He lamented that the governors had yet to implement it.
Speaker Obasa, who presided over the sitting, commended the governors for coming out at a period when insecurity had taken the ‘front seat’ of discussions. He also commended some members of the National Assembly for supporting the governors.
Obasa lamented the rise in the number of groups agitating for secession adding that Nigeria can be restructured if there is the will power.
“People are getting tired of the call for constitutional conference because nothing had happened to previous ones,” he said adding that Nigeria needs true federalism at this stage.
The Speaker said it was disheartening to know that two neighbouring states like Ogun and Lagos cannot unite to meet some of the needs of the people simply because such could be on the exclusive list.
Earlier in his contribution, Hon. Kehinde Joseph suggested that the National Assembly needed to amend the Act establishing the Nigeria Police Force for the creation of state police.
Speaking also, Hon. Jimi Mohammed, who supported the motion, said the decision of the southern governors boils down to insecurity adding: “We can’t clamour enough for the calls for state police.”
On his part, Hon. Sanni Okanlawon said the governors had made a statement by calling for the ban on open grazing which he described as archaic and has led to the death of many.
He said restructuring of the country is long overdue. He also commended the southern governors for their other decisions.
Hon. Ajani Owolabi supported the motion and opposed those arguing that the constitution makes provision for freedom of movement. According to him, people who move must be citizens and must not move with the aim to damage. He however lamented that the herdsmen had failed in these two areas.
Hon. Adedola Kasunmu, while supporting the motion, urged that some items such as power be moved from the exclusive list to concurrent.
“Our national grid is getting weak and if the opportunity is given to states, it would help. If you fix power, you have fixed everything,” he said.
For Hon. Sentonji David, the country urgently needs to act against insecurity. “This is the time for us to have a restructured country,” he said.
The leader of the House, Sanai Agunbiade added: “A country cannot be drifting this way and the President is quiet. The President must address this country and assuage nerves.
“The National Assembly should come up with a bill to address the issue of state police. The bandits are multiplying like amoeba.”
Hon. Adewale Temitope noted that the issue of insecurity had progressed rapidly and sent shivers down spines.
He commended the governors but urged them to also establish autonomy for state legislatures and judiciary.
He also lamented that most of the police officers in Lagos are from a particular region of the country and as such, they hardly understand the terrain and the people they are meant to protect.
Hon. Abiodun Tobun noted: “Cattle rearing is a private business. So it is supposed that you cannot use your business to stop my progress or movement.
“If truly we are practising true federalism, then each state should be allowed to secure its area.”
Others who contributed included the Deputy Speaker of House, Hon. Wasiu Eshilokun-Sanni, Hon. Rasheed Makinde, and Hon. Bisi Yusuff.