..Calls for state policing, immunity for Judges
Uruemu Favour & Harriet Anetor
A Knight of the Church of Nigeria, Dr. Christopher Obeuvwevbi Ominimini has tasked the Nigerian government to revert back to true fiscal federalism in other to save the country from its current economic crisis.
The former Commissioner at DESOPADEC board and the House of Assembly candidate of Accord Party in the just concluded general elections stated that, if President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision is to make Nigeria a major economic hub, he has no other option than to practice true fiscal federalism.
According to him “Every part of this country is blessed. Most of the solid minerals today are deposited in Northern Nigeria while the major source of funding for the country’s economic activities, crude oil is deposited in the south. There is balance of natural resources but the central collect everything and give peanuts to the federating units.
“Governors are weak and lazy in Nigeria today because the constitution does not empower them to control their resources. Every four weeks, governors go to Abuja and share money and go to their state and use such resources. But if people are made to develop at their own pace, this country will be like Dubai.
“Look at the countries that are doing well today, it is true fiscal federalism, you make your own resources and pay to the central for immigration, international diplomacy and security. But here the reverse is the case; the central collects everything and give peanut to the federating unit. More so, the states we have today cannot actually be judged to be federating unit because they do not have the components of federating units. So I completely agree that there should be fiscal federalism.
Fielding questions from journalists on whether members of the Bench should have immunity, he said “Another good area of discussion is the immunity charge in the Nigeria constitution. It is put there to give room for those who discharge certain responsibilities to have peace within the period they stay in office.
“We have to look at it holistically and define to what level it should apply. Because even the constitution that gives immunity to the president as head of the executive arm at the federal level, governors at the state level did not give immunity to the council chairman at the third tier of the government.
Commenting on the issue of whether state policing is the solution to the insecurity challenges in the country, he said “visit America, you have county police, FBI, amongst others, that is how it is supposed to be, but people fear that the head of government at the state level may use it against them but do you stay in power for ever, so if you use the power arbitrarily, when you leave government, your sins will count against you.
“Today the vigilantes we have in this part of Nigeria are helping the police to check the excesses of crime and that is to tell you that we need more than the federal police.”