I believe in devolution of power, says Buhari

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Friday, said he believes in devolving power to the people.

He, however, said the contentious issue of restructuring, true federalism or devolution of powers remains a constitutional matter which can only be dealt with by the National Assembly.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Friday.

According to Adesina, Buhari said this when he received 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.

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.’’

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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 regime remains committed to “quickly pushing this dark side of our history behind us and we are currently making sure that funding would not hamper our efforts.’’

According to the President, the last Federal Executive Council meeting approved some funds for the security agencies, which would be put to judicious use.

“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.

The President said the government had the major part to play in providing security, “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 patriotism and commitment to ensuring peace and understanding.

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