Journalism of Courage

Parlous state of security and economy may run states aground, alerts Nigerian Governors Forum

``The London Paris Club refunds may culminate in the criminal bid to deprive the states of about $419 million’’

The 36 state governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) have cried out that the current parlous state of the country especially security and economy may paralyze political and socio-economic activities in the states, saying that if the hydra-headed problems were not tackled speedily, government business and social life of the people may be adversely affected.

“If the spate of insecurity, political and economic uncertainties in the country are not tackled promptly, government business may be grounded as the states are due to suffer heavy financial losses,’’ the NGF Chairman and Ekiti Gov. Kayode said on Monday at the maiden meeting of the state Attorneys-General of the federation.

“For these uncertainties across the nation, we have placed the office of the state Attorneys-General on red alert.’’

Sensing moves to ambush states through some frivolous cases and court orders, the governors’ forum said the Attorneys-General in the states are also on red alert to watch out for such cases and counter them.

Fayemi, who was represented at the meeting by Plateau Gov. Simon Lalong, said: “In ensuring that the state is not ambushed through frivolous cases/court orders that may lead to heavy financial losses and grounding of government business we have put our Attorneys-General on red alert.

“We do not doubt that this meeting would afford you the opportunity to seek solutions.’’

On the vexed issues of autonomy for state judiciary and legislature, Fayemi said governors were in support of granting autonomy for the other arms of government — judiciary and legislature.

He, however, said the onus should be on the states to determine and implement it and not the federal government.

“You are all aware of the controversy occasioned by the question of the autonomy of the judiciary and legislature.

“The Forum has often been in support of autonomy, but we felt that the onus was on the states to determine and implement it.

“It is therefore expedient that as chief law officers (the attorneys-general) of our states, you exercise the right to review and monitor the extent of implementation in the states,’’ the Ekiti governor pointed out.

He also raised the hope that the governors’ forum through its Peace and Inclusive Security Initiative (PISI) was holding rounds of dialogue with key stakeholders on ways of handling the security challenges with a view to restoring peace to the beleaguered communities in the states.

Fayemi also tasked the attorneys-general on some constitutional matters such as the administration of the criminal justice system, stamp duties, value added tax, and the fallout from the London Paris Club refunds.

“The London Paris Club refunds may culminate in the criminal bid to deprive the states of about $419 million.’’

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