Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi, has urged the national assembly to amend the constitution such that states are delegated more powers to control their own affairs.
In February 2020, Ahmad Lawan, president of the senate, inaugurated a 56-member committee to embark on an amendment of the 1999 constitution.
The public hearing exercise on the review of the constitution, which cuts across the geopolitical zones of the country, commenced on Tuesday.
Speaking during the public hearing held at the government house in the state, Bello said if states are empowered with greater control, Nigeria will be restructured and functional.
“Specifically, Kogi state requests that our constitution must devolve more powers to the states by amending the second schedule of part one and part two of the Constitution to allow states more input/control over some issues currently fenced off in the exclusive legislative list,” he said.
On food and drugs administration, the governor said state control will help “develop organic responses to food security and crush the menace of drug and substance abuse that is wreaking havoc on our youth all over the nation”.
Bello also called for states to have “full powers over the administration of criminal justice”, as well as significant control over taxation, and minimum wage determination.
“This is the logical progression to the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015. Kogi state has since taken the lead in domesticating that Act but states must now be enabled to deploy greater innovation for enhancing the efficiency of justice delivery in the face of spiralling crime,” he said.
“Registration, regulation and taxation of business names and other forms of businesses which states may desire to enable within their territory — collection of stamp duties will grant states access to economic opportunities from which they are currently shut out. This is a necessity as all talks of states’ financial sustainability will require the development of a business environment that is unique to a state’s economic development needs.
“Labour matters, to the extent that a state’s labour force, payroll and minimum wage must match its carrying capacity — these can no longer be imposed on states on the basis of labour agreements with the federal government.
“It is also imperative that a state which has complied with collective agreements like Kogi and three other states have complied with the revised CONMESS for health workers should be freed from the burden of solidarity strikes if organised labour decides to protest noncompliance by other states.”
Furthermore, on the issue of mines and solid minerals, Bello added that “the 13% derivation is not commensurate to the socioeconomic burden and environmental degradation visited on host communities and states by the exploitation and transportation of solid minerals.”
“There is a need for the amended Nigerian constitution to stipulate the mandatory grant of at least 20 percent equity holding in mining concerns to host states like Kogi. We also demand an enhanced taxation regime that is profit-based rather than the current regime which is based mainly on the discretion of companies,” he said.
“Security, unity and peace is our strongest achievements in Kogi state and to retain same we must have robust law enforcement. We are therefore advocates of all forms of community policing initiatives which allows states to respond forcefully and effectively to security threats without being frustrated or otherwise undermined by the chain of command or capacity to recruit rank and file and equip them for maximum efficiency.”