By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The federal government has been told to immediately commence the implementation of the Governor Nasir el-Rufai committee on the restructuring of the country.
A civil society group, the Campaign for Democracy (CD), made the call in a statement jointly signed by its Niger State Chairman, Mr. Abdullahi Jabi, and Secretary, Mr. Abdulwaheed Adeniran, a copy of which was made available to THISDAY in Minna on Thursday.
In the statement, the organisation also asked the National Assembly to commence the process that would lead to legalising the recommendations of the el-Rufai committee report.
It said that the implementation of the report would “address the lacuna of true federalism and restructuring of the Nigerian state before the election next next year”.
In the wake of the agitation for restructuring of the country, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) set up the el-Rufai committee to advise it on the position to take on the vexed issue.
The committee after more than six months of brainstorming turned in its findings to the national chairman of the party.
Almost one year after, the APC and the federal government which it controls, has not come out with a stand on the findings of the committee.
CD said it was a disservice to the country if the APC refused to implement the report, adding that such stance would lead to further agitation across the country.
According to the statement, the organisation also asked the federal government to set up an “electoral offences commission”.
“The federal government should yield to the call for the establishment of Electoral Offence Commission with respect to vote buying syndrome, electoral malpractices, rigging, electoral violence,” it said, adding that all these “should be criminalised by law in the interest of peaceful, free and credible election”.
CD, in the statement, added that it was disturbed about the apathy of eligible voters across the country to the collection of their permanent voter cards (PVCs), saying that in Niger State alone, over 800,000 cards were yet to be collected.
“This challenge requires the intervention of state governments, CSO’s and the media to fast-track the process of collection by the electorate for the purpose of the 2019 general election which is around the corner,” he said.
The group joined the Niger State Government to plead with the people living in the riverine areas to relocate upland to avoid any disaster that could be caused by flooding in the downstream of rivers Niger and Kaduna as a result of anticipated heavy rainfall this year.