‘Prisons, Power, Railway, Police Among Constitution Amendment Items To Be Ready In 24 Months — Deputy Speaker, Kalu Highlights

Benjamin Kalu,

Benjamin Kalu, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, on Monday, highlighted some of the items the constitution amendment by the National Assembly aims to achieve.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday, following the inauguration of the Constitution Amendment Committee by Speaker Tajudeen Abbas, he said the amendment will focus on devolution of powers.

He noted that the reform will be unbundling some items in the exclusive list to concurrent list.

According to him, some areas have already been unbundled in previous amendments, but the state governments are not taking advantage of them.

His words: “The states are empowered now to generate power and distribute around their places, the same thing with railway. I don’t see the reason why most states are not yet domesticating this particular law.

“We noticed that we made this amendment, most of the state laws have not captured it, and this is my way of saying that in our appraisal of impact analyses of previous reviews, some states are found wanting, especially those states that have not domesticated these amendments in their various state laws.

“This will enable them adopt what I call regional economic integration policy where a railway could run around South-West increasing trades and increasing market among the people around there and other use of railway lines and other regions as well, they are not making use of that.”

Kalu furthered that with the unbundling of prisons from the exclusive list to the concurrent list, state governments would be allowed to manage correctional services.

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He also mentioned that the Constitution Amendment Committee will be looking into the issue of state police which has dominated discussions in recent time as solution to the insecurity in Nigeria.

Though state police is being touted as the solution to the problem of insecurity, he added that it must be designed in a way that State Governors would not abuse it.

“The devolution of power also we are looking at state police. How do we add value to the security of this nation which is the primary purpose of government? And we are looking at this one layered police service.

“Is it sufficient? 400,000 policemen, are they adequate? Is there any other thing we can do to ensure that policing is more comprehensive, more thorough, more result-oriented than it has been?

“I can assure you people are tinkering the state police as one of the options, but it must be fine-tuned to reflect the desires of Nigerians and to cure the fear that it might become a monster in the hands of the governors if not well structured, we are looking at that,” he said.

He added that during public, civil engagements and public hearing, the committee will get inputs from Nigerians on how they think is best way to structure some of the ideas proposed for the reforms.

Speaking at the formal inauguration of the House Committee on the review of the 1999 constitution, Kalu said the nation’s new constitution will be ready for presidential assent in the next 24 months.