By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
Governor Bala Mohammed has thrown his weight behind the creation of additional states and local government areas in the Nigerian federation, particularly his state of Bauchi.
He said, “My position is informed by the fact that there are states in the federation that have much lower population and landmass than Bauchi State, but have no local government areas”.
The Governor told a Senate Public Hearing on Review of the 1999 Constitution for Amendments in Bauchi that the state which by 2017 has 6.5 million people has its population now risen to about 9million as a result of influx from neighbouring states that have insurgency and insecurity problems.
“As a result of influx of people from the states with insecurity, the population of Bauchi state has grown to about 9 million. This put too much pressure on the resources of the state government”, he said.
Senator Bala Mohammed therefore called for the creation of Katagum state out of the present Bauchi state, as well as creation of additional local governments in Bauchi state with details of this position and other terms of references for presentation to the standing committee of the Senate.
He also called for the establishment of state police as, according to him, the state autonomy of government headed by legislature and judicial arm should be autonomous to execute powers vested on them by the Constitution of the area of law enforcement.
Governor Bala Mohammed explained that a situation where state rely on federal law enforcement officers to act on certain security matters leaves much to be desired in a security administration of a state government.
“What this mean is that a state governor as the chief security officer does not have the locus standi to direct security chief on security matters without referring for clearance from their superior officers as it has always been the case with a state government”.
This arrangement, the governor argued, does not augur well for effective security administration of the state, hence the need for state police that would be fully control by the state government.
To allay the fears that state police could be abuse by state government for political aims, the governor suggested for appropriate measures by writers of the constitution, legislatures of the state assemblies, and house of representatives for defaulters to be subject to political persecution.
Governor Bala then called for some roles to traditional rulers whom, he observed, were not mentioned in the 1999 Constitution which found them irrelevant in the scheme of things, saying that traditional rulers are known for maintenance of law and order in their respective domains or states.
I therefore strongly recommend that traditional rulers should listed in the concurrent legislative list so that each State House of Assembly can make laws related to this and other relevant functions that would give them more functions and responsibilities”, Bala stated
The Bauchi Chief Executive therefore appealed for a workable and acceptable Constitution which is monument document that cannot be perfect, but its effects of imperfection would be mitigated if as a people in the Nigerian project wholeheartedly belief for its success.
He also stressed the need for Nigerians to eschew sectionalism, religious bigotry and ethnicity, seeing ourselves first and foremost as Nigerians before members of any ethnicity or religious groups, saying the unity, stability and progress of Nigeria should be our collective concern which should be pursued with all our strength to make sure we keep the Nigerian peace, unity and destiny.
Senator Abubakar Kyari who led the sub-committee on the public hearing for Bauchi, Yobe and Borno states has earlier said that areas that needs attention in the review of the 1999 constitution include defence and security, land use act, unity of Nigeria, devolution of power, derivation and revenue sharing formula, state police, local governments autonomy, role of traditional rulers, among others.
Senator Abubakar Kyari explained that the hearing at the Bauchi centre is hosting prominent personalities from the three states on a mission to get the views and opinions of the citizens in order to fill the gaps in the existing constitution.