AN Awka based legal practitioner, GC Enekwechi has commended the federal government for its resolve to reform the police but cautioned that whatever reform being contemplated has to take due cognizance of the principles of federalism.
Speaking to National Light in his office, the prominent lawyer, who was the former chairman of Awka South Local Government Council Area contended that decentralised security will reduce to the barest minimum, the pervasive and seemingly intractable insecurity n the country.
“A centralised security architecture which is in vogue in the country is one of the principles of a unitary system of government; this is as a result of the 1999 Constitution which was not produced by the accredited representatives of the ethnic groups in Nigeria. If the federating units have their security infrastructure, there would be effective and efficient security networking like it was in the regional government in the first republic”, he contended.
Enekwechi, who advised the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the federal government to shift ground for the sake of the larger interest of the society, advised the government at all levels to increase the annual budget in the education sector since we are in the knowledge economy.
He called for substantial provisions in the budget for youths’ empowerment to realise their destiny as leaders of tomorrow.
On the introduction of community policing model, the legal luminary described it as mere distraction from restructuring of governance, adding that in federal arrangements the world over, security is decentralised.
On review of the constitution by the National Assembly, Enekwechi faulted the move, saying that what the country needs is a fresh constitution.
“If we are honest with ourselves, there should be a new people-oriented constitution made by the conference of all the ethnic groups in the country. This was what led to the 1960 Independent Constitution. Sovereign National Conference is very imperative so that people will determine where to belong to and what they want in federation.
“It could be a con-federation so as to enable the diverse ethnic groups to realise their God-given potentials. The issue of fiscal federalism is a desideratum because a situation where the proceed of the sale of crude oil and gas exploited in the Niger Delta region of the country is channeled into the federation account while the gold and other precious minerals exploited in some northern states like Zamfara, is appropriated by the state is not in tandem with the principles of federalism.
“It is unfortunate that there is double standard in what the federal government allowed Zamfara state. Again, while the northern governors are kicking against the disbandment of SARS on the ground that they are efficient and effective in confronting criminalities, cattle rustling and bandits, their southern counterparts stoutly reject it based on the impunity and brazen lawlessness.
On that score, it boils down to the necessity of decentralisation of security infrastructure which goes with restructuring and true federalism where each federating units know what will work for them and implement. That is the beauty of competitive federalism as was in vogue in the first republic. That is why restructuring remains a categorical imperative”.
On the failure to replace somebody from the south-east in the PENCOM, he contended that the concept of federal character in the appointment and promotions in top echelons in the federal public service has been terribly abused by a section of the country.
“The DSS, customs and exercise and other strategic agencies’ recent recruitment exercise was skewed in favour of the ethno-religious group in the north. The south was made to be contended with not more than 30 per cent of the entire recruitment. This is a brazen violation of the principle of the Federal Character Commission.
“As far as the concept of federal character is concerned, and as long as the PENCOM Act is concerned, that position should be for the southeast. The federal government will be deceptive if they look around the Southeast they don’t see a competent person to man that exalted position, that is condemning Southeast. It amounts to telling the youths in the Southeast that they have no future in Nigeria as it is now.