Governors Godwin Obaseki, Kayode Fayemi, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Nasir El-Rufai of Ekiti, Edo, Lagos and Kaduna states respectively, yesterday, supported state police saying it would mitigate the problem of insecurity and promote investments.
They argued that preventing governors from taking charge of security was adversely affecting investments, development and well being of people.
This came as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo called on governors of the 36 states to stop relying on federal allocations for survival charging them to invest in areas where they have comparative advantages to boost their internally generated revenue.
They spoke in Ado-Ekiti during the Ekiti Economic and Investment summit tagged: ‘Fountain Summit 2021’ organised by Governor Fayemi’s government to find solutions to the socio-economic challenges facing the state.
Governor Fayemi insisted that multi-level policing system remains the best way out of the lingering security crisis that is gradually crippling the economy.
“This request does not mean abrogation of the central police. If you have problem of security in Kaduna, Governor El-Rufai can easily take charge. My recent experience, and many of our governors were not even palatable where we wanted to procure drones and Mr President was with us on the issue, but the NSA refused us End User Certificate, but we got it one year after.
“As of now, security is on the exclusive list. Even If the Federal Government is ready to allow us procure some arms, we have to sign MOU with the Airforce. We have to work together collaboratively, because investors consider security as number one in any state.”
Lending his voice to the creation of state police, Governor Sanwo-Olu, said: “When you have investments, you would have to protect them and take responsibility for whatever happens. The investors will rely on the governors for protection and it is sad that we are not in charge. This is the area where the Federal Government must look into the issue of state police.”
Governor Obaseki said police should be removed from the Exclusive List for state chief executives to be in firm control.
“If you have businesses, you have to protect them and you must have the apparatuses. Security is on the exclusive list and we are looking up to the Federal government to remove it for states to take charge. We must provide facilities for the police to be able to train our local vigilante, because in Edo State that was what we did. We raised a vigilante group to police our villages from kidnappers and other criminals.”
Governor El-Rufai described security as a big problem that every Nigerian should be concerned about.
Laying the foundation for why the policing system should be decentralised, he said: “We have 150,000 personnel in the army. Police was 400,000 by the time this government came on board, but has gone down to 300,000 now. We need multi level police. Policing is local just like a unitary environment like Britain. Kaduna State is about 46,000sqkms in size. Boko Haram has been chased from North East by ISWAP and now occupying the North West. But if they are dislodged here, where would they go? This is why we should all be concerned.”
Vice President Osinbajo, who was one of the panelists, said time had come for chief executives of the states to start thinking about how to grow the economy like a nation, by investing in most appropriate ways in areas of their economic strength.
“The attractiveness of investments to any state should be in radical, because that is the revenue hub and determinant of how happy the people of any state will be in terms of economic development in relation to their standard of living.
“But while trying to grow investments, we must be cautious about multiple taxation, it weighs down businesses. Ekiti is a business-friendly environment. Ekiti has also excelled in the aspect of ease of doing business. You have vast arable lands for agriculture. Also of recent the Government of Ekiti divested 76 per cent of shares in the Ikun Dairy farm for Promasidor for the production of 80,000 litres of milk daily.
“Let me say that Ekiti has a bigger economy than many Africa nations. The question we should ask ourselves is that if I were the landlord of this nation, how do we survive? During my time as a Commissioner in Lagos, we started with N600 million monthly Internally Generated Revenue in 1999. The seizure of Lagos funds by President Olusegun Obasanjo made us think like a sovereign state. Today, Lagos is making over N45 billion monthly. The surest way forward is to deepen investments in the areas where Ekiti has comparative advantage. We should also make good investment in technology to grow the knowledge
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