Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has given an insight into why his administration was unable to implement recommendations contained in the report of the 2014 National Conference, which his administration commissioned.
Jonathan offered his explanations at the public presentation of a book on the 2014 National Conference tiled: “The National Conversation”, authored by Akpandem James and Sam Akpe, in Abuja, on Tuesday.
The 2014 confab made far reaching recommendations on issues many Nigerians believed, had the potential of reducing, if not eliminating, some of the socio-economic and security challenges currently being faced across the country.
Some of the recommendations include: devolution of powers to states in the area of security and the control of resources among other things.
Jonathan’s address was read at the event by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim.
He said: “When people say I should have implemented the report of the conference, my feeling is either those people did not understand the political environment at the time, the length of time it would take to implement the report of a conference like that or they were just playing politics with such an important matter.
“Those who are familiar with the process of constitutional review will know that to implement the confab report, a number of alterations will be made in the Constitution which will require the involvement of the National and State Assemblies.
“Such an elaborate review will be termed impossible at the time because at the time the report was submitted in August 2014, we were already on the verge of the 2015 election.
“It is also important to point out that at that time, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwual who was a member of my party — Peoples Democratic Party, PDP —has already moved out with some members to join the opposition.
“That meant that a reasonable part of the legislature was already anti-government. When you know that your parliament is under that kind of situation, it would have been impudent on my part to take such a precious document, which I considered crucial for development, to a parliament that would not take it into consideration.
“Such a task would require the cooperation of the institution responsible for the enactment of new laws and the amendment of some existing ones.
“There was no way that could have been done. We were also fully aware that segment of our population were already suspicious of the actions of government.
“Our intentions would have been misconstrued, especially against the backdrop of the ECOWAS protocol on constitutional reforms, which states that no substantial modification shall be made to the electoral laws of member states in the last six months before the election.
“When I contested the 2015 elections, my expectation was that I would win a second term within which period I would work on the implementation of the confab report within the four year mandate.
“My first two years would have been dedicated to the implementation of a substantial part of the report.”
Subsidy Investigations: FIRS Tells Reps Her Role
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has said its role is purely the collection of revenue for the government and not keeping records of how the monies are expended.
This explanation is in response to queries by the Special Adhoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy Regime tasked to investigate petroleum products subsidy in Nigeria.
At the committee sitting, the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Muhammad Nami, who was represented by the FIRS Coordinating Director, Compliance Support Group, Dr. Dick Irri, explained that the role of the Service as provided by its Establishing Act was confined to the assessment of taxpayers, collection of taxes, accounting for and enforcement of taxes that were due to the government of the Federation.
“The Service’s statutory functions remains that of assessment, collection, accounting, and enforcement of payment of taxes that are due to the Government of the Federation and any of its agencies;” he explained, “taxes collected by the FIRS are usually shared amongst the three tiers of the government in line with the constitution of the country and FIRS does not maintain records of what the funds are used for by the three tiers of government. The Service also does not have the power to ask for such records.”
Earlier, Nami had stated the request by the Committee for information on Subsidy payments and releases were not tax-related and thus were not within the statutory powers of the Service to respond to.
The Special Adhoc Committee had written to the FIRS requesting information on Subsidy Payment releases from the Consolidated Revenue Account, Subsidy claims, and lodgment of FOREX into the Consolidated Revenue Account by the NNPC, among others.
“The Service holds the Adhoc Committee on Petroleum Products subsidy Regime and other Committees of the National Assembly in high esteem and will always give necessary support to ensure the success of their oversight functions;
“All the tax-related information requested on your letter dated 1st July 2022 has been duly submitted;
“All the 16 items listed on your letter dated 5th August 2022 are not tax-related and also are not part of the responsibilities of the Service,” the FIRS Executive Chairman explained.
Apologising for his inability to appear in person, the Executive Chairman stated that his absence was due to other official national engagements outside the Federal Capital Territory.
The Special Ad-Hoc Committee on Petroleum Products Subsidy Regime, chaired by Hon. (Arc) Ibrahim Al-Mustapha Aliyu was constituted in June 2022 with a mandate to investigate the Petroleum Products Subsidy Regime covering the periods from 2013-2021.
BREAKING: Lagos Govt Extends Okada Ban To More LGAs
The Lagos State Government has extended the ban on commercial motorcycles,l (okada) to four more Local Government Areas and five Local Council Development Areas.
The Commissioner for Transport, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, confirmed this on Thursday.
According to Oladeinde, the decision was taken after a review of the earlier ban on commercial motorcycles operation in six local councils.
The additional councils where the total Okada ban is pronounced include Kosofe Local Government, Oshodi-Isolo Local Government, Shomolu Local Government, and Mushin Local Government.
READ ALSO: Fire Guts Shopping Mall In Lagos
Others are Ikosi-Isherri LCDA, Agboyi-Ketu LCDA, Isolo LCDA, Bariga LCDA, and Odi-Olowo LCDA.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has ordered full enforcement from September 1, 2022.
We Are Being Raped By Herdsmen In Our Community – Rivers Women
Some women from Evekwu community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, on Wednesday, staged a protest to the Rumuji Police Division to demand urgent intervention over the activities of herdsmen.
The women, who carried placards with different inscriptions, had first marched to the Rumuji Police Station before returning to the palace of the paramount ruler to complain about how “cows have destroyed their crops” leaving them and their families with “hunger”.
The community’s woman leader, Joy Obisike called on the local government chairman, Governor Nyesom Wike and President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as security agencies, to prevail on the herdsmen to “steer clear” from their farmland.
The women threatened to deploy other means that will ensure their safety and that of their crops.
Another woman leader in Evekwu community, Salome Amakanwo alleged that their lives were being “threatened on a daily basis” by the herdsmen who “use guns and dangerous weapons” and that their woman were being “raped at gunpoint”.
She said the revenue from the crops is what they use to train their children in school.
The protesters called for urgent intervention by government at all levels and security agencies to save them from looming hunger and crisis.
A police personnel at the Rumuji Police Station, who addressed the protesters, advised them to take their complaints to the local government council secretariat for urgent intervention.
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