President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that he is a strong believer in the need to restructure Nigeria but his hands are tied.
This is as he submitted that the issue of restructuring is a constitutional matter that should be dealt with by the National Assembly.
The President was quoted by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina to have made the submission on Friday when he played host to members of the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) led by Co-Chairmen, Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence, Rev. Dr. Samson Supo Ayokunle, at the State House in Abuja.
Buhari stated that though the issue of restructuring, true federalism, or devolution of powers remains a contentious one, he is glad the national assembly has started a constitutional review process.
He, therefore, expressed optimism that the various agitations will be attended to.
At the meeting, the President said, “On the contentious issue of restructuring or true federalism or devolution of powers, like you all know, this is a constitutional matter with which only the National Assembly can deal.
“I remain an unapologetic believer in devolving power to the people and that is why I signed the Executive Order granting autonomy to State Legislature and Judiciary. Unfortunately, this was met with some resistance at the state level and led to a more than two months strike action that has cost the country a lot of pain.
“Luckily the National Assembly has nearly completed the constitutional review process, which I hope would address some of the burning issues agitating the minds of our people.’’
Adesina, in the statement, said, “President Buhari assured that efforts were already on to create a more conducive environment to address both direct and indirect causes of challenges including areas of job creation and employment generation while appreciating religious leaders for their significant roles in national development, particularly in shaping perspectives.”
He quoted Buhari as saying, “Your role is critical in putting the correct perspective out to Nigerians.’’
Adesina said Buhari assured “the religious leaders that the government was already going after financiers of criminal elements, who also supply them with arms, but were constrained by the strike by Judiciary workers.”
“Fortunately, this strike has been called off and prosecution of some of these people would soon commence, while our security agencies expand their network in closing in on the others,’’ he quoted Buhari.
He said Buhari assured that his government remains committed to combating the various forms of insecurity plaguing the country and the Federal Executive Council at its last meeting approved some funds for the security agencies.
“As I mentioned yesterday, in Lagos, we would not relent in our efforts at clearing these criminals from all parts of our land including the forests,’’ Buhari said.
“But besides the imperative to abide by democratic processes is the important aspect of support of the citizenry to the security agencies by providing relevant and timely information.’’
“I must confess that I am more pained than anyone can imagine with the ongoing security challenges because, like you noted during your meeting, they have increased the hunger, pain and anger in the land,’’ he noted.
The President thanked the religious leaders for their concerns and urged them to continue to promote peace and understanding among their followers.
“I have listened to you and I am particularly happy that your meeting clearly identified specific and major roles for both the Government and the people of Nigeria. This is what has been lacking for some time in the national discourse on addressing our current security challenges,” he said.