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LG Autonomy: A Blessing or Curse?

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AS Nigerians clamour for constitutional review to remedy certain contentious issues, Opinion Leaders, Pressure Groups and Civil Society Organizations are currently dusting old memoranda and preparing new ones to crave and agitate for one thing or the other, particularly, the long awaited Local Council Autonomy.

Despite various debates on Autonomy for Local Government Councils in Nigeria from various quarters, yet the game is continuity as a school of thought argued that, for Nigeria to practice true federalism, the local government must be left under the states for effective and meaningful control and not federal government making laws on local councils thereby causing frictions between the states and local governments. Progressing, it was also declared that, the manipulations of the Governors are not enough to jettison the basic tenet of federalism which stipulates that the local governments constitutes federating units.

Logical as this argument is, Nigerians punctured the argument through the result of the opinion sampling conducted few years ago by the National Assemblies on Constitutional Review, that there is urgent need for local government autonomy.

It was also revealed that the Local Councils caters for more than 75% of the population, meaning that the local governments are more visible and closer to the people at the grassroots.

However, there have been heated debates at different fora since the call for redrawing the constitution under the present democratic dispensation, it was on this theory that, Autonomy for Local Government which is the third tier of government in Nigeria, is one of the contentious, cardinal issues that has dominated national discourse in the search for a new constitution, hence, listed for consideration in the Constitutional Review.

In a chat with Mega Icon Magazine , a wise and witty lawyer, former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Oyo State, Barrister Adebayo Shittu summarized the plight of local government councils in Nigeria. “It pains me greatly with the so called progressives. When it comes to their own right; they are hardened in striving to protect it, but when it comes to Local Government, they are not contented with the power they have as state governors, senators, they also want to encroach on the constitutional power of the local governments”, he said.

Barrister Adebayo Shittu.

Barrister Shittu, also stated that the constitution makes provision for Local Government in terms of the areas of their mandates and establishment as a democratically elected constitutional platform. He further explained, “when an institution is described as Local Government, there are two (2) components which must be taking into consideration, such an institution must not only be local, but must also be government. “Local in the sense that, it must have an entirely local component, that is, the local populace in each constituency or local government must participate fully in the emergence of such institution by way of popular elections, so any establishment of the local government other than true democratically elected practice, nullifies the intent and purpose of the constitution, when it describes it as something which must be established by constitutional means”.

Stressing on the second component which is Government. Shittu posited, “it means it must be government in all sense of it. A government must be independent, a government must have all the power to attain the goals the constitution defines for it and a government must have authority and not dependent on another.

“For example, as we have Local Government, we also have State and Federal Governments. It is wrong for self seeking politicians to assume that the constitution of Nigeria presupposes two (2) federating units. This is falsity in the sense that, the existing States never existed not to talk of sub rendering their authority to a federal institution, on the reverse; the States were created by the Federal Government”, he declared.

Refreshing your memory, the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice referenced some periods when the country based her dealing on regional government. He explained that there were three (3) regions, then increased to four (4) regions, before it was changed to states, starting from nineteen (19) States and now thirty six (36) States respectively.

He further stressed that these were all creations of the Federal Government, adding that as the Federal Government created the existing thirty six (36) states, the same Federal Government created the existing seven hundred and seventy four (774) Local Governments. “To that extent, the argument about Nigeria being two (2) tiers Federal Structure does not arise”, he reiterated.

In similar reaction to the excesses of the Governors, the Legal luminary, Barrister Shittu put his frustration this way: “I want to argue very strongly by the constitution of Nigeria, 1979 as amended, Nigeria is a three (3) tiers Federal Country, so in a situation where the local government content does not exist in the sense that, you have government being arbitrarily run by appointees of a State Government, that implies that it is no more local in the sense that, people are imposed, the Local Government people do not have any contribution to the emergence of the local government authority”, he lamented.

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According to the Ibadan based lawyer now Minister of Communication, Shittu maintained that the local council depends on the state government for instructions, almost on a daily basis for the way and manner they spend their money. He also makes plain that these local governments supposed to be local government when you talk of supervision by the state government. “Would the state governments allowed themselves to be supervised by the federal government under the guise of ensuring prudent management of resources”, he questioned.

Barrister Shittu, thereby, canvassed for total financial freedom for the local governments in Nigeria. In his words, “it is not enough to have elected local government without financial freedom. Let me state that, most of the people operating at the local government are handpicked people who may indeed be strangers to the local people. Most of them present their loyalties to their appointors, who are the State Governors rather than the people.

“When local governments are really make local in all intents and purposes, there would be greater accountability to the masses of the people at the local level. Again, that authority cannot exist without financial autonomy, to that extent I believe there must be a rethink on the old concept of the Joint Account such that the stronghold which the state governments have would be drastically reduced”, Shittu said.

He suggested that the idea initiated in the sharing of resources meant for the States and Federal Government, just as the meetings of Commissioners for Finance with the Honourable Minister for States and Finance should also be replicated not on a matter of master to servant basis, but on a platform of mutual respect and accountability.

Shittu questioned further that at the state level where these powers radiates, does it necessarily translate that governors are corruption free, “if it does, we could as well scrap financial autonomy for state governments”, he insisted.

Consequently, Shittu expressed regrets that the right caliber of personnel who should move into the local government to run them are despaired, because, the local councils are not independently run.

He hoped to witness the following situations where “a Permanent Secretary, having served the state/federal governments retired and contest election into his local government council to be able to benefit his local people with the years of experience he might have garnered. “I want to imagine a situation where retired professors would now retired into the local government to use their wealth of experience, exposure, vision and knowledge to benefit his local populace. I want to assume a situation where a man after having retired as the president of Nigeria would go back to the local government that produced him in the first place to give back to his local people the benefits of his long years in services at the local level.

“If we are able to achieve this, then the quality of governance at the local level would be drastically improved, but you cannot have that unless we make it attractive by the way of ensuring that local governments are indeed very local and democratic in nature , in addition to financial autonomy”, he stated.

Barrister Shittu condemned that, it is self seeking for state governments and other politicians to claim that, if there is autonomy for local governments, it is necessarily going to erode the two tiers (2) federal structure as well as make local governments unmanageable. “ What is important is for us to agree to spread power or let power devolves not only from the federal government to the state, but also from the state to the local government, the situation we are now is very worrisome in the sense that state governments do not take any permission from anybody, but seek to control the management, running of the resources of local governments, not only appointing officials in to councils, but also owe in retaining for themselves power to determine how much the local government is to spend and on what it is spent for, it is painful, thus, making local governments an appendage of the state government, making a local government a rubber stamp institution”, Shittu complained.

Though Barrister Adebayo Shittu conceded that there would be need to strengthened relationship between the Executive and the Legislative arms of the Local Governments such that not only would free and fair elections be conducted into these two arms, but also to ensure enough and effective safeguards so that these autonomy would not be abused, while advocating strongly for strict compliance with the spirit and letters of Nigeria constitution to the extent that the local government must enjoy full Autonomy.

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Another burning issue linked to the autonomy of the councils is the appointment of caretaker committee which he described as unlawful and unconstitutional, stating that it runs contrary to the Nigeria constitution which says: “Local Government must be established through the process of free and fair elections”, expressing sadness and regret on complacency on the part of many politicians at the local government level.

“They are supposed to take state government to court and pray the court to order that where local government authority does not emerged by democratically elected election means, their resources should not be released to the states, apart from those meant for salaries of the staff of the local government. I think when we get to that level; state governments would appreciate what they need to do unto others, what they have done to themselves”, he harps.

While the call for local government autonomy rages, another area where the council is suggested to be strengthened is the conduct of local government elections. Shittu argued that the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) should be scrapped and transfers its responsibilities to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). According to him, apart from the fact that the SIEC is financially independent but empowered by the state governments, people being appointed to oversee the affairs of the commission are more often politicians who have sympathy for the government in power, he believes the country is retarding if such status quo remains.

He, however, stressed that the INEC needs to be consolidated just like federal court structure.

“As we have INEC offices at the federal level, it must be reformed in accordance to the recommendation of Justice Whales to the extent that Commissioners in INEC would not be appointed by the President but by a process just as it is done in the case of judicial officers”, he advised.

Stating confidently that scrapping the SIEC would enhance the state governments to save more money for social services and allowing the federal governments to bear the responsibilities of funding the INEC.

On the contrary, a politician cum Environmental Scientist, former speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Honourable Kehinde Ayoola argued that there is an issue of semantics that Nigerians need to settle first. He said Autonomy means to carry out its activities independent of other levels of government which he alleged would definitely go against Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution which vests the control of the Local Governments in State government. Citing the case of Speakers of Assemblies vs. National Assembly which was decided in April 2002 by the Supreme Court, affirming that this has settled the issue of where control of Local Councils lies.

Former Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola.

In the same reaction, Hon Ayoola disclosed that the Local Government Autonomy as advocated recently would defeat Federal Principle on which Nigeria as a nation is based. Amplifying that only the states and Federal Government constitutes the Federating Units, Local Governments are not but they are just units created for administrative convenience, Ayoola rechoed.

However, the former speaker, Ayoola insisted that Nigerians should be talking about FISCAL FREEDOM for Local Governments where Local Councils would be able to determine on their own, how they want to spend their funds accruing from the Federation Accounts. He was displeased with the way Wives of State Governors usually send memos to council chiefs ordering them on how to spend money, this he described unacceptable.

Speaking further, he assured that scrapping the Joint Accounts would strengthen the autonomy. He stated that Joint Account System was introduced when we had the problem of zero allocations. “I was in the Oyo State House of Assembly (OYHA) then. “The idea was to bring whatever came into the purse into and common pool and distribute to all Local Governments according to an agreed formula by law. That formula was: 50% on the basis of equity, 30% on the basis of population and 20% on the basis of landmass of each council. But that was in 1999 to 2003. “Later, the performance of crude oil in the stock market, the Debt Relief from the London and Paris Clubs, Ecological Funds and some often un praised deftness in managing our Federal resources have combined to ensure that there is always more money to share by the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee monthly, so there is no need to operate joint account anymore”, he said .

Another area where the Local Government need to be strengthened as requested, is the enhancement of Internally Generated Revenue, (IGR), so that the Council can participate in Economy planning.

According to the former lawmaker, there are areas of taxation that can be operated by councils according to the Local Government laws as duly passed by the State Assemblies. This included bicycle licensing, radio and TV license, tax on market stalls.

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Continuing, he quickly pointed that while the Federal Government is stealing taxes collectable by States such as Value Added Tax, VAT, the States are also stealing taxes collectable by the LGs which include rates on market stalls, signboards and the rest, advocating strongly for true Federalism.

He also established that thinking granting autonomy to local councils in Nigeria would ignites the rate of corruption in the country, it simply assumes that “we have people of lesser moral quality at the Local Government levels – or are the folks at the Federal and States angels?”, he asked.

Also, Ayoola confirmed that there are enough clauses in the ICPC Acts of 2000 and EFCC Act to address corruption, while the anti-graft agents just need to put them into operation.

Going into the basics, he admonished Nigerians to always check whom they want to vote in properly, this he admits as the beginning of corruption check. “In Yoruba land, everyone knows everyone else. Even if you want to marry their daughter, they conduct a background check on you to know what sort of husband you would be, what family you come from, your antecedents and so on. “It is only when you have satisfied them that they will allow you to marry their child. Why can’t we apply this to elections? We must scrutinize and know the people we are electing; these are the first step in anti- corruption”, he maintained.

In similar vein, he advocates that public office holders and leaders must be well remunerated. Reassuring that a Local Government Chairman who has fear for his future well-being would certainly steal.

Part of the solutions suggested by Honourable Kehinde Ayoola is the cost of election. “I spent about N60, 000 on my election in 1999. Today, a contestant will spend in the neighbourhood of N25million for the same office. If a man does that, you can be sure he’ll steal to cover his investment”.

He, then urged the people at the grassroots not to put heavy loads on Office Holders as the Local Government Chairmen are expected to attend several events rages from weddings, naming and funerals every week in their respective Local Government Areas and with heavy financial implications, how do you expect them to get the money except, they steals”, he lamented.

He further charged the law enforcement agents not only to detect corruption but bring their perpetrators to justice and judges must be fearless in awarding punishments for corruption no matter who is involved, Ayoola said.

Responding to the argument of scrapping the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC), while allowing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to take charge of the Local Government Elections.

Honourable Kehinde Ayooola disregards this argument, stating that the constitution (and later the Supreme Court) has vested the power to make laws for the structure, financing, administration and good governance of Local Governments in States through a law made by Houses of Assembly of the states, asking why should INEC conduct LG elections?

In his opinion, he insisted that the State Independent Electoral Commission should be allowed to conduct Local Government Elections and the rules must be adhered to.

Having said this , he further described it as a total disregard for democracy in the Local Governments via the use of Caretaker Committees to run their affairs. He revealed that many Governors today have made Local Government Councils an extension of their Governors’ Offices
“The Governors should know that just as the President of the Federation has no power to appoint Caretaker Governors for States, they too have no power to do same for Local Governments”.

For the fact that the argument still persist between the Senate and House of Representatives, Honourable Ayoola shared more light on the issue, stating that any issue voted upon separately by the two chambers of the National Assemblies must be brought forward and harmonized by a joint committee of the two Houses, stressing further that when the two Assemblies meet jointly, a vote shall be taken, and then Nigerians shall know where the pendulum swings. However, the struggle for better living conditions for the grassroots must be a continuous one with no retreat and no surrender, he finalized.

 

Written by Idowu Ayodele.

 

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National Issues

2021: President Buhari’s new year message to Nigerians

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Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has addressed Nigerians in a traditional New Year broadcast.

In the speech, Buhari, on Friday, re-echoed his commitment to the Nigerian project, just as he urged other Nigerians to do the same.

The President’s speech read:

My fellow countrymen and women,

First, I would like to thank and praise the Almighty who saw us through the year 2020 and has given us the opportunity to witness the start of another new year. We especially thank God because the year 2020 was one of the most trying years since our existence as a Nation.

2. This can also be said about all other nations around the world, due to the challenges posed on our collective humanity by the novel COVID-19 pandemic.

3. While acknowledging that 2020 was a very tough year, we saw this year put to test our national resilience and ability to survive these tough times and also gave renewed hope that we will again brave any storms that lay ahead in 2021 and beyond.

4. As we celebrate the opportunity before us in this New Year 2021, we must also acknowledge the passing away of our brothers and sisters who didn’t make it into this New Year. May their souls rest in perfect peace.

5. We must remember that we also celebrated the historic occasion of our sixty years as an independent and sovereign country on October 1st 2020. In the spirit of hope and gratitude, I would like to remind us again that as a country on the difficult journey to nationhood and greatness, we have confounded the many pundits at home and around the world who never gave the newly-born country that emerged unto the world stage on 1st October 1960 a chance of surviving much longer than a few years.

6. Yet, here we are, 61 years by the next anniversary in October, and not only are we here, we are standing tall in the comity of nations as one country united under the will of God and also actively growing that indivisible Nigerian spirit that has enabled us, year after year, decade after decade, to weather all stormy waters and emerge stronger and better where others have fallen and disintegrated. This nation, this Nigeria will survive and thrive.

7. In this journey to nationhood, we have experienced the highs and lows. 2020 indeed came with a lot of challenges ranging from security and economic issues across the regions to understandable protests that were mainly led by our youths and served notice to the demand for police reforms and accountability. This government heard, this government listened and this government is committed to fulfilling the five demands of our youths, fully understanding that we all wish well for Nigeria.

8. In the midst of all these challenges, I had initially pledged that as your elected President and Commander-in-Chief, I would ensure that these ongoing challenges will be faced head-on with renewed determination and with all the appropriateness and urgency required. Your voices have been heard and we would continue to listen to you, and all the key stakeholders who are committed to the unity of Nigeria to ensure that every region of this nation is safe for us all, while guaranteeing that the future is also secure for the coming generation.

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9. I wish to also use this occasion of New Year to reaffirm my commitment to the people of Nigeria, especially the youth who need our collective encouragement and support. In securing this nation we need to secure the future of our youth.

10. Our young people are our most valuable natural resource, at home and abroad. Their ingenuity, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit is evident to all. Many of our young people are excelling in various spheres of life including sports, entertainment, information and communication technology, commerce and are globally recognized as achievers.

11. As a Government we are committed to actively engaging with the creative energies of our young people. In this regard, we will partner with the legislature to develop an enabling environment to turn their passions into ideas that can be supported, groomed and scaled across regions. This will create vast opportunities in fintech, agriculture, business process startups and in the entertainment industry.

12. The year 2021 will indeed be a year where we will work to reinforce the hopes of fellow Nigerians in the vision of a united and progressive Nigeria. This administration would continue focusing on delivering key strategic priorities under our “SEA” – (Security, Economy and Anti-Corruption) Agenda. Some of the key priority areas we would direct our attention and strengths to include:

ON THE SECURITY:

13. Re-energizing and reorganizing the security apparatus and personnel of the armed forces and the police with a view to enhance their capacity to engage, push back and dismantle the operations of both internal and external extremist and criminal groups waging war against our communities in some parts of the country.

14. In line with the current security challenges, we are facing as a Nation, I would like to reiterate the promise I made recently when over 300 of our boys abducted from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara were successfully rescued by our security operatives.

15. The professionalism shown by our Security Forces and the collaboration from all stakeholders across both State and Federal Governments that led to the successful rescue of the boys is proof that Nigeria has the internal capacity to decisively deal with terror attacks on our citizens.

16. However, we recognize that we rapidly have to move to a more proactive and preemptive posture to ensure that these sorts of traumatic incidents do not become a norm. Our administration is fully aware of the responsibility we have to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians, and we will not relent in learning and adapting to changing threats to our national security and civic wellbeing.

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ON THE ECONOMY:

17. Our focus is on revamping the economy through the national economic diversification agenda that supports the primary goal of national food self-sufficiency. This has helped reduce the growing food related inflationary figures and have in considerable measure positively impacted our food security status during the long months of the pandemic lock down.

18. We are also currently rebuilding our national infrastructure base and, in the process, introducing transformation through the rehabilitation, modernization, and expansion of the railway system, national roads and bridges both in rural and urban centres, alongside the airports and seaports.

19. The reforms we have put in place in the power sector would guarantee increased efficiency in our drive to significantly expand the generation and distribution of electricity for use in homes and factories.

20. As an administration we are currently undertaking a series of special interventions designed to boost job creation and support the entrepreneurial drive of our youths.

21. With the recent opening of our borders, we expect that the pent-up demand of legitimate cross-border and international trade will boost the fortunes of the many small businesses and agricultural enterprises that depend on Nigeria’s trade and commerce.

22. The message to our West African neighbours is that Nigeria is once again fully open for those willing to conduct business in a fair and equitable way.

ANTI-CORRUPTION:

23. On the anti-corruption drive of our administration, we have recorded substantial gains so far and this year, we are committed to continuing along the path of eradicating corruption, through collaboration with all the arms of Government to effectively prosecute this fight.

24. While we would be working with the Legislature to enact laws that would strengthen this fight, we would also be looking at reviewing some of our laws which would ensure that this fight is more effective. On the part of the executive, we would ensure the diligent and timely prosecution of corruption cases, while appealing to the judiciary to ensure that corruption cases are dispensed with expeditiously.

25. The persistence of various forms of violence has meant that in the most affected parts of the country, the fabric of inter-communal harmony woven through years of investment of effort at building trust, mutual respect, and harmony has been threatened.

26. Insecurity as a challenge has direct repercussions on our national economic stability, growth, and development, setting us back at critical points through the destruction of public and private investments.

27. In parts of the country where chronic poverty, social exclusion, and disillusionment among sections of the youth were already a problem, the cycles of violence that have been unleashed by mindless groups like Boko Haram and others have thwarted the efforts of government to undertake the social policy and associated investments that could make a huge difference in the quality of life of our citizens.

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28. I am aware that for some of our compatriots, the progress we have registered since the inception of this administration is not nearly as fast or as sufficient as they would wish. I do not begrudge them their views in so far as they signify a wish, in which we all share, for only the very best for our country.

29. Nevertheless, I call upon all Nigerians to carefully recall the circumstances of our coming to office, the facts on the ground and the resources at our disposal since 2015 with the accomplishments of this administration.

30. As a people, we have shown admirable resilience in the face of every adversity, an unmatched capacity to recover speedily from every setback, an unparalleled generosity of spirit when we resolve our differences, and a constant readiness to invest faith and hope in the destiny we share as a united country built on the diversity of its peoples.

31. It is these attributes that underpin the Nigerian spirit of “can do, will do” that gives me hope that we shall yet get to destination and fulfill our calling together, especially with the solid resolutions we are setting in this new year.

32. Keeping our country on a forward march is a duty which we all have and share. In this regard, keeping our country safe from a resurgent cycle of COVID-19 as this administration finalizes its plans to procure and efficiently and effectively distribute the COVID-19 vaccines, I urge you all fellow citizens to observe strict COVID-19 prevention protocols.

33. As your elected President, my pledge to you is the same as it has always been; I will play my part fully and without fear or favour. I invite all of us to do the same. It is what we owe to the founding generation of our beloved country and also to the coming generation. It is what we desire for national prosperity for all demands.

34. Long Live the Nigerian spirit of oneness, togetherness, and unity. Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I wish you a Happy and prosperous New Year.

May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

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National Issues

SWEGOP charges Buhari, S’West governors to address increased insecurity

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South West Group of Online Publishers, (SWEGOP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Southwest governors and other stakeholders to put in place modalities that will check the activities of the hoodlums and criminals disrupting the peace of the nation.

Online publishers decried the increasing rate of lawlessness and criminalities in all the nooks and crannies of the country.

SWEGOP, in a statement signed by its Chairman,  Olayinka Agboola and the Public Relations Officer,  Remi Oladoye described the alarming rate of attacks on innocent citizens and members of the general public as a worrisome situation, which requires an urgent solution.

It further noted that since the end of #EndSARS campaign which was hijacked by hoodlums,  the crime rates have been on a high increase and the security operatives seems to have lost control of the ugly situation.

“The situation we have found ourselves is nothing  but a reckless abandonment of  responsibilities  by those saddled with  the task. Everybody  including officers of the  security  agencies now live with the fear of being attack by the hoodlums  who are kidnapping , robbing and killing people for rituals.

SWEGOP calls on stakeholders in the country not to leave the role of protecting lives and properties to government alone but see it as a task that must be done by all and sundry.

While commending the South West governors for launching  Amotekun corps, the group however urged the  militia group to do their work diligently and collaborate with other security  agencies in their respective states to curb the crime rates in the society.

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Pan-Yoruba group, carpets S’West governors on insecurity, charges them to empower Amotekun

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Governors of the South-West States of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo Oyo and Osun have been accused of grossly abdicating their primary constitutional duty of protecting the lives and properties of their citizens, judging by the escalating security crisis in the region.

A pan-Yoruba group, the Majeobaje Movement, leveled the allegation in a ‘save our souls’ letter to the Chairman of the South-West Governor’s Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, which was copied to the five other governors.

In the letter leaked to the press, the Movement described itself an alliance of professionals, entrepreneurs, policy specialists and academics concerned about and working for improved governance in Nigeria.

The group decried the spate of killings, kidnappings, rape and sundry criminal activities ravaging the region under the governors’ watch, with the attendant loss of lives of many illustrious citizens and the destruction of their livelihoods.

Majeobaje wondered why the much trumpeted South West Security Network, codenamed Amotekun, is yet to be effectively pressed into the service of protecting the lives and property of the citizens of the region, against the high expectations of the citizens.

It highlighted several unresolved security breaches in the region especially in different parts of Oyo, Ekiti, Osun, Ondo and Ogun states, which had caused anguish to many families.

The group said it is worrying that little or nothing had been done by the government of these states to mitigate the sufferings of residents in the hands of violent herdsmen, kidnappers, rapists and armed robbers or to bring the band of criminals to justice.

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The group further stated, “Insecurity in the SW has now reached a crisis point, partly because the Federal Government refuses to act decisively, and also because our SW governors are failing to use Amotekun effectively.

“Because banditry has overwhelmed the Northwest, Fulani herdsmen are fleeing desertification, victims of Boko Haram in the Northeast are seeking refuge, and the unemployed from all parts of Nigeria are looking for work, these people are now streaming mostly into our SW states.

“They often do so with a high level of aggression including bearing of AK47 rifles with which our people are being raped and killed with scant regard to the sanctity of life, our culture or the rule of law.”

In a five-point recommendation, Majeobaje wants the governors to act decisively in stamping out criminal activities within the region and ensure that citizens sleep with both eyes closed, especially now that the end-of-the-year festivities have peaked.

The recommendations:
1) That the six governors should urgently allocate more funds to Amotekun so the outfit can be fully equipped and recruit more personnel to improve its operations, especially by the deployment of Surveillance Drones and Forest Rangers. The ongoing assistance to conventional security agencies should be enhanced and sustained.

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2) Use new and existing laws to revamp Neighborhood Associations and to strengthen LGA Security Committees to include Traditional Rulers, Amotekun/Police and Vigilantes. These two units will help document residents, deter criminals, and collate data to monitor the activities and welfare of itinerant workers such as Okada riders, farm workers, herders and others.

3) Encourage the setting up of private security companies that will specialize in intelligence gathering services as well as the imperative use of drones for aerial surveillance and the investigation of kidnappings.

4) Set up or reboot a Security Trust Fund in each state in such a way that will encourage and compel the private sector to support with funding and management of these security initiatives.

5) Demonstrate leadership by physically leading the charge to secure your states, by mobilizing resources at the front lines, and by rekindling the hopes of our farmers, their families and other residents to demonstrate that their governors have not abandoned them to the impunities of marauding forces.

The Majeobaje Movement cautioned that ‘before Apocalypse arrives,’ Governor Akeredolu and his brother governors must urgently act so that the long suffering people of the six states are not left with no option than resort to self-help, the consequences of which can only be imagined for both leaders and the led.

The group said, “We, therefore, call on you and your colleagues to rise up today, take leadership and fulfill your primary purpose of protecting and defending the lives and properties of your people!

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“If you fail to urgently do the needful by pushing back the marauders, we are concerned that our anxious people may regain their composure and be left with no other option than to defend themselves,” the group stated firmly.

Assuring the governors of their highest regard always, the letter dated 12th December, 2020 was signed on behalf of its general membership by its steering committee members including Chief Akintayo Akin-Deko, Sir Gbenga Adebusuyi, Revd. Muyiwa Bamgbose and Mr Ibukun Fakeye.

Other signatories included Dr Dolapo Sikuade, Mr Deola Kumapayi, Mr Yomi Layinka and Mr Ayo Oyerinde.

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