Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Kayode Fayemi, said governors were yet to reach a consensus on state and local government police.
The delay, he said, arose from the varying financial muscles of the states. But he said state exec utives would make their stand on the issue known soon.
The NGF chairman and governor of Ekiti State, who spoke at the end of the governors inaugural meeting on Wednesday night ahead of the National Economic Council (NEC) inaugural meeting, said while some governors have endorsed the idea, others were opposed to it.
Fayemi at the end of an expanded security council meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari had told newsmen that governors were split on the issue of state and local government police.
He had stated that while some state governors had disclosed their ability to support state and local government police, others were still battling with the challenge of paying existing workers salaries.
The NEC, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, consisting of the 36 state governors and governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria is the highest economic asvisory body in the country.
Fayemi noted that security has been an issue of concern to all including citizens and the governors.
He said: “We know that state police is an issue of interest and concern to the citizens and governors themselves and we will review it and make our position as a forum known soon.”
Consequently, Fayemi said the forum “resolved to set up a security committee at the National Economic Council level.
He added that the Forum will “retain security as a reoccurring item on its agenda for the foreseeable future and retain security as a reccurring item in its agenda.”
The Ekiti governor disclosed to newsmen that the Forum resolved to relaunch its flagship state peer review mechanism programme designed to assist states foster good governance and accelerate the rate of development through periodic reviews of progress made by state governments.
The forum, he also said, agreed to hold a one-day interactive session with the World Bank and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on ongoing development engagement across states on June 26.
Fayemi added that the Forum will also hold an IT retreat with Joint Tax Board and Chairman of Internal Revenue Service of states.
The governors also took update on Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) guidelines on local government funds among others.
The NFIU, which was excised from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), set June 1, 2019, as the takeoff date of the new order.
The order makes it compulsory for local government allocations to go straight to their respective bank accounts. The decision is contained in a guideline released by the NFIU after a lengthy meeting with officials of commercial banks in Abuja recently.
The governors had described as illegal the NFIU’s ban on transactions on state and local governments joint accounts, arguing that such accounts are only transitional accounts from where funds should go directly to the accounts of local governments.
The NFIU also placed a limit on cash withdrawals from local governments accounts to a maximum of N500,000 per day. It warned banks to ensure strict compliance.
The governors have since challenged this in court.
At the meeting were governors of Lagos, (Babajide Sanwo-Olu), Borno (Babagana Zulum), Osun (Gboyega Oyetola), Kano (Abdullahi Ganduje), Sokoto (Aminu Tambuwal), Ondo (Rotimi Akeredeolu) Jigawa (Abubakar Badaru), Kebbi (Atiku Bagudu), Kaduna (Nasir El-Rufai), Kogi (Yahaya Bello), Plateau, Ebonyi (Dave Umahi), Gombe, (Muhammad Yahaya), Niger (Abubakar Bello), Bayelsa (Sirieke Dickson), Oyo (Seyi Makinde) and Nasarawa (Abdullahi Sule) and Ogun (Dapo Abiodun).
Others were, Abubakar Badaru, Jigawa State, of Borno State, Abubakar Bello, Niger State, Mannir Yakubu Deputy Governor of Katsina and Hadiza Balaraba Deputy governor of Kaduna.
Deputy governors of Enugu (Lolo Cecelia Ezeilo), Cross (Ivara Esu), Rivers, (Ipalibo Banigo), Imo (Gerald Irona), Kastina (Mannir Yakubu) and Zamfara (Mahdi Gusau) were also in attendance.