THE town hall meeting on national security organised by the Federal Government has recommended that state police be adopted with the backing of the National Assembly and State Houses of assembly.
This was one of the 10 recommendations of the parley, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed in Abuja at a News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, interview programme, NANForum, yesterday.
He said the meeting made the recommendation based on the consensus that state police would give governors better leverage in the handling of security issues in their domains. Mohammed said the recommendations of the town hall meeting held on April 8 in Kaduna would be presented to the National Economic Council, NEC, at its meeting today. NEC is a decision making body chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and has all the 36 governors, FCT Minister and some ministers as members.
The minister also disclosed that the town hall meeting recommended autonomy for local governments, and decentralisation and reformation of the judiciary, adding that this should be done through constitutional amendment.
“Another resolution is that every level of government must ensure that every child of school age has compulsory and free primary education.
“One of the discussants took us back to 1973 under General Yakubu Gowon regime when there was a national retreat. At that national retreat, it was resolved to come up with just one national pledge.
“They pledged to ensure that Nigerians will not go through any civil war again and at the end of that retreat, government came up with this single pledge that all children born after the end of civil war must have free and compulsory primary education, “ he said. Mohammed added that acquiring basic education would help in reducing banditry, kidnapping, insurgency and other social vices.
The town hall meeting, which drew participants from the academia, private sector and civil society, was themed: “Setting Benchmarks for Enhanced Security and National Unity in Nigeria.”
According to him, the meeting came up with 10 resolutions to address insecurity as well as strengthen national unity and cohesion.
Mohammed also disclosed that there was consensus on the primacy of law and order in governing society. He said all participants at the meeting agreed that people could agitate for political restructuring but not to accept the call for separation or secession.
The minister further quoted Prof. Ade Ajayi as saying that “it will take more energy to break up Nigeria than to fix it and that if properly exploited, our diversity is actually a source of strength.”
The minister added that traditional rulers were recommended to be given their age-long roles in governance because in the past, monarchs played key roles to maintain peace and security in their domains. “Another interesting thing that was agreed upon was that under Nigeria’s constitution, Article 15, 3C has provision encouraging Nigerians to inter marry.
“Christians are encouraged to marry Muslims, Itsekiri should marry Hausa, Yoruba should marry Igbo, when you have that kind of inter-marriage, it becomes more difficult to break the country.
“It was also agreed that the way we practise our animal husbandry is not sustainable and that we must establish ranches, grazing reserves with modern amenities like schools, veterinary clinics and watering holes,” he said.