Adebiyi Adedapo in Abuja
The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has expressed reservations over the proposed building of a N2.2 billion presidential banquet and additional N9 billion for the completion of the vice president’s residence.
Chairman of the group, Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi, said this in press conference weekend in Abuja.
TMG also called on the government to tackle the security challenges rocking the nation with all seriousness.
According to Zikirullahi, “Insecurity has become a menace that must be fought with all seriousness and determination. Apart from religious reasons, there is also a political dimension to the phenomenon of insecurity and its attendant implication, particularly to the co-existence and overall peace of the entire nation.”
He also said that it was imperative for the government to be more concerned with such issues as poverty alleviation and citizen empowerment rather than be bothered with trivial matters like the proposed multi-billion naira budget for the completion of the vice president lodge and another Presidential Banquet Hall.
“It is saddening and pathetic to see the way and manner public funds are being wasted under President Jonathan administration. We therefore call on President Jonathan to be methodological in his fight against corruption by coming up with strategies that will bring about lasting solutions to the plethora of insecurity as witnessed in recent times in Nigeria,” he said.
Speaking on the process by the National Assembly to review the 1999 constitution, TMG stated that unless there is people-oriented constitution evolved through constitutional conference, the present efforts may just be palliative.
The group however demanded the implementation of the Justice Lawal Uwais Electoral Reform panel , saying it topped the issues that were voted for at the public hearings for the review of the 1999 constitution, which was held in all federal constituencies in the 36 states of the federation , including Abuja.
“We believe that electoral reform based on Justice Uwais Panel’s recommendation is most apt for genuine electoral development in Nigeria. Issues that enjoyed support of the TMG in the on-going constitution include abrogation of both local government joint account and state electoral bodies as well as removal of immunity clause from the state governors to cover only civil proceedings,” he added.