Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Governors from the 36 states of the federation have resolved to meet President Muhammadu Buhari over the persistent security challenges across the country.
Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, told newsmen Wednesday night that the resolution became necessary as they are becoming helpless as chief security officers of their various state.
He said the meeting is to find real and effective solutions to the security challenges facing the country.
Yari said the issue of insecurity was discussed under any other business on the agenda of their meeting where they elected Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State as the new NGF chairman and Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State as the deputy chairman of NGF via consensus.
While reacting to the call by the Peoples Democratic Party, Governors Forum (PDPGF) newly elected chairman, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, for immediate declaration of a state of emergency on security, Yari said: “We unanimously agree that the best way to go is to meet Mr. president and talk to him one on one. We are given constitutional responsibility, security is under Mr. President while we are federating to him because he is the commander in chief. Therefore we know what is on ground and we have resolved to meet with him only not with anybody else to discuss the issue of security and we hope to come up with solution.
“In the states they don’t know the president, they only hear him in the news, they only know governors and no matter what it is, the constitution specifically said we are the chief security officer of our states while the president is the commander in chief. Therefore, we need to sit down with him because insecurity is everywhere from north to south, from south to west. So we need to sit down with him and tell him how it is, tell him about our experiences and discuss how we can move forward.”
On the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) asking state governors not to touch the revenues disbursed to the local governments every month from the federation account, Yari maintains that it is unconstitutional.
He said this interference by the NFIU will also be discussed with President Buhari, to impress on the agency that constitutionally it has no rights.
Yari said: “The Forum is concerned with recent guidelines of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) which seek to impose restriction on the powers of states and local governments to operate within constitutionally approved parameters. The new guidelines have no legal basis under the NGIU Act and are contrary to constitutional provisions which put the State Joint Local Government Account under the legislation of the State Houses of Assembly.
“The guidelines will also be detrimental to the interest of states and local governments by crippling programmes such as the Universal Basic Education programme, Primary Health Care Under One Roof, as well as the payment of the salaries of teachers, medical doctors and health workers among others which are primarily funded by state governments.”
Nigeria’s revenue sharing formula is as follows: every month, the federal government takes the lion’s share of 52.68 per cent from the federation account. The 36 states take 26.72 per cent, while the balance of 20.60 per cent is handed to the 774 local governments in the country.