As the National Conference commences debate on committees’ reports at the plenary today, delegates from Lagos State have presented their position, including a demand of a new revenue sharing formula. In the new formula, the delega wants the states to get 50 per cent and the federal government and derivation principle getting 25 per cent each.
In a position paper signed by Olasupo Shasore, Prof Tunde Samuel, Alhaji Olufemi Bashorun and Rabiu Oluwa, the Lagos State delegates also said that the establishment of State Police (and Prisons) would allow individual states to b e in total control of their policies towards the effective and efficient administration of criminal justice, law and order.
According to the delegates, “For the continued existence and sustainability of Lagos as the commercial backbone of Nigeria, this position is predicated on equal opportunities and founded on equity. We are confident that the implementation of the recommendations suggested herein will result in an equitable system of federalism and a sustainable constitutional partnership between the federal government and the components states.”
In view of this, the delegates from Lagos State said the people of Lagos would prefer only two tiers of government, stating, “There ought to be only two orders of government, the federal government and state governments. Local government administrative divisions should be left as the exclusive preserve of the States.
“Local government creation, structure, tenure, boundary adjustments, functions and funding should remain a residual function of the states as presently constituted. We do not support further creation of states,” they said.
On revenue accruing to Nigeria in the 'Federation Account', the Lagos State delegates said it should be shared as follows: federal government getting 25 per cent, states or what they called distributable pool getting 50 and derivation getting 25 per cent from the federally collected revenue.
According to the delegates, immediate steps should be taken to repeal the value added tax act and the federal government should forthwith desist from the practice of administration and collection of VAT.
According to the Lagos delegates, the Exclusive Legislative List in Part I of the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution should be reduced from 68 to 57 items, stating specifically that items 5, 10, 28, 34, 40, 47, 56, 59, 60(a), 60(d), 61 and 63 should be deleted, while items 8, 11, 39 and 45 should be amended.
Lagos state government in the position paper said that the creation of regions as governing sub-national units in Nigeria was not feasible and therefore, there should not be any further creation of new states at this time, while advocating that Nigeria should adhere to constitutional federalism, which to date only prescribes states.
On land, the delegates said, “Land is a capital but is in need of organisation and accessibility and the Land Use Act has achieved this purpose and it should continue to do so with some minor improvement.”
According to them, “The right of sub-national states to their intra-state waterways is inviolable. It is a breach of the rule of law for central authorities to administer inland territory of any state in Nigeria against the wishes of the people of the states. Federal agencies should respect the constitutional autonomy of states over intra-state inland waters, its violation must abate forthwith”.
On judiciary, the delegates said, “The appointment procedure of judges of the high courts of the states should be the exclusive preserve of the respective states. The federal government, through the National Judicial Council should no longer interfere in the appointment procedure."
On state police and prison services, Lagos state government said: “Prisons as a legislative item should be moved from the Exclusive Legislative list to the concurrent list. This will allow States to run their correctional facilities. States should also be allowed to maintain control and deploy a state police.
The Lagos State delegates further said that Section 6 (6) (c) of the Constitution should be expressly removed in order to allow access to the courts to enforce the provisions of Chapter II of the Constitution for greater accountability and national integration, while Lagos State should be accorded special status for the purposes of allocation of revenue and other resources as a first line charge on the national budget in keeping with recognised practice of rehabilitation for former capital territories.