Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, yesterday, warned the Federal Government that its inability to secure lives and property would soon force Nigerians to arm themselves in self-defence.
Akeredolu, in his keynote address at the meeting of the Attorneys-General of the 36 states of Nigeria, in Lagos, said the Police were overwhelmed.
The governor asked the Police to ‘close shop’ if the Federal Government could not meet its equipment needs.
Akeredolu insisted that the Police have failed in their constitutional role of protecting Nigerians and that if the situation does not improve, citizens would be left with no other option but to arm themselves in self-defence.
Akeredolu stated: “The current spate of insecurity in the country leaves us with no room for equivocation on the rights of the states to maintain law and order through the establishment of State Police. The growing distrust in the polity is a direct result of the disconnect between Federal Government and the constituent units of the country. The economic adversity currently experienced in the country points directly at the defective political structure.
“A unitary system cannot work, successfully, in a country like Nigeria. The 1999 Constitution has been amended twice. There is another promise of further amendments arising from the manifest irregularity in many provisions.
“This has compelled many lawyers and educated citizens to insist on having a new Constitution which will reflect the agitations of the various groups which make up the country. The law is becoming increasingly less certain under these circumstances.
“The crises created by the 1999 Constitution, as amended, have been unending. There have been agitations that the Exclusive Legislative List in this Constitution is limited to Nigeria’s external trade, customs duties, export duties, tax on incomes, profits and capital gains, interstate commerce, external borrowing, mining rents and royalties from mineral resources, among others.
“The Federal Government has, consistently, rejected this suggestion, presumably, because of the humongous 52 percent revenue allocation to it while the 36 States and the 774 Local Governments share the remaining 48 percent.”
Akeredolu challenged states to restructure the country by, among others, setting up their anti-graft agencies.
However, in his address, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami , SAN, said governors cannot continue to agitate for restructuring and state police when they are responsible for the compromise and mismanagement of the current system.
Malami also stated that “State police will not work because state governors would abuse it, look at the way they treat local government, imagine what will happen if they control the police.“
The AGF advised the governors to utilise the existing structures through the National Assembly to press on with their demands for restructuring and other constitutional amendments.