2014 Confab report can’t restructure, I didn’t know my representatives – Akume

The Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, on Monday, said the report of the 2014 constitutional conference was not workable in restructuring the country.

Akume stated this during a briefing in Makurdi, Benue State, which was attended by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, and traditional rulers, political and religious leaders.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had dispatched cabinet members to their home states to douse the tension created by the #EndSARS protests.

Addressing the stakeholders, Ortom suggested that the Federal Government should go back to the 2014 confab report to restructure the country.

Ortom said, “There is a need to dust the 2014 confab report to restructure every segment of the country.

“We need to restructure the current presidential system of government, all the sectors, the EFCC, the relationship among federal, state and local government areas, revenue generation and distribution.

“What is happening now is as a result of accumulated wrongs meted to people as well as issues that were left unattended by successive administrations.”

But Akume, in his remarks, said that the 2014 confab report could not be relied upon, because it defied equality.

Akume said, “The confab report cannot be relied upon because it defies equality as the number of people who came from the East outnumbered the North.

“I was at the National Assembly then, but I did not know those who represented me. They (representatives) were merely handpicked without my knowledge.”

The minister, who lamented the damage done to the nation’s economy, however, said the government was working on a welfare package to cushion the effect of the damage.

Akume, who represented the President on the occasion, lamented that even though the Special Anti-Robbery Squad started well, it derailed in its functions when it began to engage in extrajudicial killings and caused people psychological trauma.

Other speakers at the meeting commended the proactive steps taken by Ortom to ensure that youths in the state did not engage in looting and destruction of property, while the protests lasted.

The Tor Tiv, Orchivirigh, Prof. James Ayatse, said if the Federal Government’s intervention had impacted on the people, there would not have been the kind of outcry witnessed during the protests.

Also speaking on behalf of civil society organisations, Josephine Habba of the Jireh-Doo Foundation called on the President to tender an unreserved apology to families of youths killed during the #EndSARS protests.

She said the #EndSARS protests had shown that since youths could not obtain court judgments to get government to act, they could get judgments on the streets.

Also former minister in the Second Republic, Paul Unongo, urged the nation’s leaders to have listening ears to the issues raised by the youths.

On his part, Senator Barnabas Gemade said Ortom deserved commendation for handling the protests well.

The Benue State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Akpen Leva, said the President should, as a matter of urgency, convene a national conference to fix the nation and discuss some burning issues, including the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020.

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