- Canvass respect for constitution
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
Leaders from the Southern and Middle Belt parts of the country under the aegis of the Southern and Middle Belt Leadersâ€™ Forum have condemned the blatant and continuous disregard of the National Assembly by the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Ibrahim Idris.
The leaders, speaking at a meeting thursday with the leadership of the Senate, said the IGâ€™s decision not to honour summons by the upper legislative chamber, was part of the disregard for the legislature by the executive arm of government.
The meeting had in attendance Senate President Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Leader of the pan Niger Delta Forum, Chief Edwin Clark, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, Afenifere chieftains, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Mr. Yinka Odumakin and former Governor of Anambra, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife.
Other members of the regional groups at the meeting were Obong Victor Attah, Senator Stella Omu, Prof. Banjo Akintoye, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu, Prof. Ihechukwuma Maduke, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman (rtd) and Mr. Alfred Mulade.
Speaking on behalf of the group at the opening session, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, also condemned the recent invasion of the senate chambers by hoodlums.
â€œWe have watched the helplessness of the National Assembly, where members of the executive even refuse your invitations to come and make explanations contrary to provisions of the constitution,â€ Nwodo said.
He blamed the disregard for the legislative arm of government, on the over- concentration of powers in the federal government.
â€œThere is an all-time lack of confidence in the institutions of government, especially the institutions that are responsible for law and order, Nwodo said.
He lamented that Nigeria is experiencing waves of killings, which may only be matched by the number of casualties recorded during the civil way.
â€œIn one year we have recorded more than 1,000 killings. What is surprising is that these killings are not matched with equal reaction by the security forces in our country,â€ Nwodo said.
The current mode of governance has therefore failed, Nwodo said, and urged that the devolution of powers clause which was rejected in the ongoing constitutional amendment process, should be revisited.
He added that the 1999 constitution is not right for a country constituted by people of diverse culture, diverse religion, diverse political persuasions like Nigeria.
â€œWe believe that many of the problems that we have in our country emanate from the constitution of our country. We know that the National Assembly has had debate on devolution of powers and we know, Mr. President, that you did promise the nation that you will have a revisit to this issue,â€
Saraki, in his response, reiterated the commitment of the legislative arm of government to the growth of democracy and national economy.
He harped on the need to defend the parliament, as the main institution to strengthen democracy. He also told the delegation that the National Assembly is already working to reconsider the clauses that were rejected during the ongoing constitution amendment process, including the devolution of powers.
These would however come up after the passage of the 2018 budget, Saraki added.