Constitutional Review: Allow LGs to handle women, humanitarian Affairs — Group urges NASS

A group, Youths in Motion, has called on the National Assembly to allow local governments perform the duties of the Federal Ministry of Women and Humanitarian Affairs.

The Executive Director of the group, Timi Olagunju, made that call on Thursday at the South-West Zonal Public Hearing on the Review of the 1999 Constitution organised by the Senate in Lagos.

Olagunju said that the call became necessary as the local governments are closer to the grassroots and could more readily address poverty.

“We recommend that the Federal Ministry of Women and Humanitarian Affairs and its functions should be rather performed by the local governments because they are closer to the women and the people in terms of humanitarian services.

“We also recommend that the ministry be replaced with the Ministry for Gender Inclusion with some veto powers.

“These veto powers will allow it to be able to veto budgetary allocations at the Federal Executive Council.”

Olagunju, also the Global Vice President, IRI GenDem, called for severance of the Office of Attorney General from all the political appellates that came with it.

He said: “In terms of referendum, we propose that the subject of referendum should be reintroduced into the constitution, it is not new, it was in the 1963 Constitution.”

Similarly, Mr Francis Akinlotan, Member, Board of Trustee, Youth Party (YP), called for gender equity and increased participation of women and vulnerable groups in governance.

Akinlotan advocated autonomy for local government administration to play its role as agents of development at the grassroots.

He added that a four-year tenure should be given to local government office holders.

He called for deletion of Section 3(6), 7(6)(a), 162 (5), 8(5) and (6) and 153 (1) of the Constitution, which allows Federal Government to interfere with the states’ power over creation and management of local governments.

Akinlotan also called for police, judicial and electoral reforms, clarity on residency and indigeneship, saying that the creation of additional states must be based on economic viability.

Also speaking, a representative of the African Resourceful Leaders Foundation, Mr Michael Ogunsola, advocated more women representation in governance in both elective and appointive positions.

Ogunsola said that women constituted about half of the population, and they yet faced many challenges.

He said their political representation steadily declined since 2007 without any action from political leaders.

He called on the National Assembly to improve on the social-economic and political rights of women, and promote gender equity in political and administrative offices.

Prince Dele Banjo, Founder, Banthestrip, however, kicked against the establishment of state police, saying it would create tribal police force, increase proliferation of illegal arms, over-empower the state governors and promote gangsterism.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that several other groups at the public hearing advocated electoral reforms, gender equality and opportunity for women and vulnerable groups.

The Public Hearing is an ongoing nationwide process to amend Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution. (NAN)