Former Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda has said that governors of the 36 states of Nigeria must bear more responsibility than President Muhammadu Buhari for the current state of security in Nigeria.
Yuguda stated this on Newsnight, a pre-recorded programme that airs on Channels Television.
He said the argument that state governors do not control security agencies within their states does not hold water.
Yuguda, also a former aviation minister charged governors to be far more proactive than they have been in tackling threats to the peace and safety of lives and property.
“From my own experience, the primary responsibility when taking the oath of office is about the protection of lives and property,” he said.
“For those that have the problems starting in their place, it is their responsibility. The President will not approve any Certificate of Occupancy for you to build a house in any state of the federation, it is the governors that do.
“If the governor approves the C of O of your house, you don’t expect Buhari to build a fence for your house or provide security for you.
“If a government will dedicate the entire resources and budget on security to ensure that everybody sleeps in his house and you don’t have money to build roads, go to the President and say ‘I have secured my state, everybody sleeps with his eyes closed and business is going on. I don’t have any money, will you please support me with N20, N30 billion so that I can build roads? The President will do that.”
The former governor said governors have made a covenant with the people of their states to secure their lives and their property.
He, therefore, asked the state governors to be alive to their responsibilities and the Chief Security Officers, rather than always blame President Buhari for the attacks in their domains.
The issue of who controls security has for a long, remained a burning issue of national discourse.
Over the years, state governors in Nigeria have come under heavy criticism over their inability to provide solutions to the insecurity in the country. Those who criticise the governors hinged their arguments on the fact that they are the Chief Security Officers of their states and as such the buck stops on their tables as long as securing the lives and property of residents of their states is concerned.
Though the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) confers on state governors the title of Chief Security Officer, the wording, or caveat in Section 215 shows that the governors may after all be right in insisting that they are mere figureheads.
Section 215(4) of the Constitution says: “Subject to the provisions of this section, the Governor of a state or such Commissioner of the Government state as he may authorise in that behalf, may give to the Commissioner of Police of that state such lawful directions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order within the state as he may consider necessary, and the Commissioner of Police shall comply with those directions or cause them to be complied with; provided that before carrying out any such directions under the foregoing provisions of this subsection, the Commissioner of Police may request that the matter be referred to the President or such minister of the Government of the Federation as may be authorised in that behalf by the President for his directions.”
TNC recalls that in June last year, Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State had tackled Buhari for attributing the security challenges in the country to the failure of states and local governments.
Buhari had, during an interview on Arise TV said governors and local government chairmen were also voted into office to provide necessities to their electorates.
The president directed governors to tackle the insecurity challenges experienced in their states and stop running to Aso Rock every time.
But reacting, Governor Masari in an interview with newsmen, said it was wrong for the president to blame states and local governments.
The governor had said, “It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to ensure the protection of lives and property of citizens in all nooks and crannies of the country.
“In the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the issue of security is under the Exclusive List so it is the responsibility of the Federal Government and states can only complement and this is what we have always done and are still doing.
“Based on provisions of the Constitution, the blame should go to the Federal Government for the general state of insecurity in Nigeria.”