Yoruba Leaders Meet Buhari, Harp on Security, Federalism

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President explains removal of Onnoghen

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

Some Yoruba leaders led by Senator Ayo Fasanmi yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, demanding for the extension of the control of police to local governments as well as strict adherence to the principles of federalism.

President Buhari also used the occasion to explained why the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen was suspended before his voluntary retirement on May 28.

Presenting a speech on behalf of the group, Senator Olabiyi Durojaye, thanked the president for recognising June 12 as Democracy Day and renaming the Abuja National Stadium after the late Chief MKO Abiola.

According to him, the federal government needs to scale up its efforts in providing security by increasing its manpower and as well taking police control beyond the state to the 774 local government areas of the council.

Durojaye also advocated the need for vigilance on the part of individuals, disclosing the outcome of a security summit held by South-west governors recently adding that states will need subventions in the battle against kidnapping and violent attacks on citizens.

He said: “The huge cost not-withstanding, it may be considered worthwhile to take a bold step in combating crime and improving on security by improving on the apparent shortage of the manpower in the Nigeria Police Force and by extending control of the Police from the State to Local Government level. By this, we humbly suggest that Mr. President should reflect deeply and consider recruitment, training, equipment and deployment of Nigerian Police on the basis of 774 Local Governments listed in the First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Added to this is training the general public on the need to improve on their individual vigilance and awareness of movement of strangers passing through or moving into their neighborhood. Imbibing such habit and practice will be a tremendous help or service to the Police and other security Agents as regards “Intelligence” support especially now that must people have access to individual means of communication (telephone handsets).

“Mr. President Sir, please permit me one more observation on the issue of security. In apparent desire to supplement your efforts, the newly elected Governors of Western Nigeria extraction, have this very day, Tuesday the 25th June 2019, held a meeting in Ibadan to map out strategies to eradicate kidnapping and violent attacks. They and other states will surely need more financial subvention and support.”

Durojaye also disclosed the group’s demand for strict adherence to the principles of federalism, describing it as the platform for realising the goal of diversity, mutual respect and tolerance.

“We seriously recommend clinging to the spirit and letters of our Federal Constitution. This is one sure way of achieving the desired goal of unity even in diversity, mutual respect, tolerance and giving true meaning to the opening phrase of our Constitution that is, ‘WE THE PEOPLE.’

Meanwhile, Buhari for the first time yesterday, disclosed why the former CJN, Onnoghen was suspended before his voluntary retirement on May 28.

He said he reluctantly `dealt’ with Onnoghen following the discovery of huge amount of monies (both in foreign and local currencies) that were traced to him.

He said: “I will tell you as Afenifere, that was why I had to deal though reluctantly with the former Chief Justice, because there were millions of dollars, euros, not to talk of naira, which were not declared.

“I wonder what sort of conscience some of us have; how can you sit and preside and lock people up for years and even sentence some to death and yet you are not doing what the constitution says you should do by occupying that vital institution.

The president revealed his administration was determined to recover all stolen funds and properties within and outside the country.

He said all the recovered properties would be sold and the money put in the nation’s treasury to make it impossible to return such properties to the looters in future.

“So, we are recovering as much as we can under the system and this time around I said the properties will be sold and the money put in the treasury.