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Lagos Assembly Calls On FG To Dialogue With Secessionists

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….Condemns Military Deployment To South East

Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly, on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to dialogue with agitators of Biafra Republic and Yoruba Nation, condemning the deployment of military forces against Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB).

The lawmakers also called on the National Assembly to ensure true federalism, restructuring and devolution of powers to federating states as well as establishment of State Police through the on-going constitutional amendment.

They also condemned the deployment of police force against protesters on June 12, saying that in democracy, people have the right to protest against injustice.

These resolutions were made during plenary after a motion titled: “Nigeria, 22years of Democracy and Call for True Federalism”, moved by the lawmaker representing Badagry 2 and Chairman Committee On Information, Strategy and Security, Hon. Sentoji David.

David, in his motion, said the return to democracy and sustainability of civil rule in the last 22years was a product of conscientious struggle of the fallen and living heroes and heroines, adding that June 12 would remain relevant and important in the country being the date for the freeest and fairest election.

The lawmaker said: “Democracy in Nigeria has conferred on the country, infrastructural development, encourages fundamental human right and development of legislative values among so many others.”

David regretted that despite the enthronement of democracy and its benefits, Nigeria was still bedevilled with many challenges.

“Some of the challenges facing the country include insecurity that comes in the form of kidnapping, banditry, herdsmen attacks and insurgency leading to deaths of scores and rendering many innocent people homeless.

“These challenges are fallout of Nigeria not practising true federalism and imbalance in power sharing, hence the need to restructure this country by producing a people’s constitution because the 1999 constitution as amended was full of lopsided provisions and pro-military system, thereby constituting a major hindrance to the progress of our country,” said David.

Discussing the motion, Hon. Bisi Yusuff (Alimosho 1), said Nigeria’s 22years democracy was merely on paper as the country’s constitution through which the democracy hinged on was faulty.

Yusuff added that the 1999 Constitution was drafted by the military that was undemocratic in nature and practice, and so the country cannot be expected to function well using the constitution.

Hon. Lukmon Olumoh (Ajeromi-Ifelodun 1), said that the military should be held responsible for the damage on the Nigeria state, saying that its involvement in politics had destroyed democratic values and norms inherited before the 1966 Coup.

Olumoh canvassed that in the current constitution amendment by the National Assembly, Lagos should be given a Special Status among the federating units, adding that resources should be controlled by states rather than the federal government.

In his contribution, Hon. Rotimi Olowo (Somolu 1), said the 1999 constitution was a product of military decree and so the preamble of the document was to cajole Nigerians to believe they own it.

Olowo stressed that despite the fact that the constitution had been amended severally to address challenges facing the country, it does not solve the contentious issues threatening the unity of Nigeria.

He added that the constitution was a fraud, adding that the country needs a new one rather than amending it again.

He canvassed for regionalism where minority groups could be given sense of belonging, adding that the current constitution did not protect the interest of the minority groups.

Hon. AbdulSobur Olawale (Mushin 2), described the 22years of democracy as a journey of ups and downs, identifying the various challenges facing the country.

Olawale further said that there was need to amend the exclusive list of the constitution so as to empower the states to have their own police service.

The Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, in his contribution, said that the country was yet to get her democracy right, saying that the poor practice of federalism in Nigeria had triggered succession agitations across the country.

Agunbiade added that those agitating for self determination felt marginalised and uncared for under the current government, adding that the review of the constitution should be done to address the yearnings of the people.

The Speaker of the House, Rt (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, in his contribution said despite all odds, there was the need to celebrate 22 years of uninterrupted democratic rule.

He said: “The 22 years of unbroken democracy is worth celebrating. It gives our people the right to elect who they want to govern them. We must commend those who fought for it and as well those who died in the struggle.

“We must commend the president for the executive order 10 and as well as the June 12 Democracy Day. We must also commend the National Assembly for playing their roles in deepening our democracy.

“We still have a lot to do that we cannot claim that all is well after 22years. Democracy is a wholesale package. Those that elected us have freedom to express their reservations by protesting against injustice. On June 12 when the people were not allowed to protest, it is not part of democracy, at least the president once protested when he was not in power. We should allow our people to protest against what they are not happy with.

“We will continue to call for state police until the states are given their own police. The community police is not effective and not the same as state police that the people are yearning for.

“By restructuring, the economy can be managed perfectly. Each state will handle its own economic distribution. Restructuring will help in addressing the current agitations and the insecurity.

“On secession, military deployment and use of force will not be the solution but dialogue. There is no crime in agitating for separation as we have seen in some countries. It should not be seen as a crime that leads to the use of force and deployment of the military.

“I believe we need to engage the agitators by dialogue. We should continue to call on the President to engage the agitators of Biafra Republic and Oodua Nation through dialogue.”

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