For quite a while, there has been several calls for local government autonomy in Nigeria by different organisations, a governorship aspirant for 2019 general election in Kwara State under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), Barr. Salman Jawondo however, speaks on the issue with our JUDICIARY CORRESPONDENT, KAYODE ADEOTI. Excerpts:
Agitation for local government autonomy in Nigeria seems to be on the front burner again following former President Obasanjo’s call for its review, what is your position on the issue?
It was part of the proposed amendment by the National Assembly that was extended to the state assemblies. But there is no doubt we need government autonomy. With the look of things, local governments have been reduced to a level which is quite pitiable and that is why nothing is happening at the councils again. They are not doing anything, whatever money that comes from the Federal account to the local councils is no longer enough to care for their welfare, in fact, it is been hijacked in some cases. The internally generated revenues are taken over by some states’ governments. The council is not functioning as it should again because of paucity of funds. I believe if local governments are autonomous, things will improve at that level and the country as a whole will be better for it.
On the issue of state police, do you think if it is eventually established, it will halt killings and some other crimes in the country?
From the period of native police authority, I’ve not been in support of state police because it will not work, we can consider what happened in the case of states Independent National Electoral Commission. The commission was marred with all sorts of irregularities. What we had during the state INEC can equally occur with state police. It is better imagined than experienced and those who experienced intimidation, humiliation, harassment during the era of native authority will never agree with state police. We don’t want it for now because we are not ripe for it. We don’t want repeated faction of what Nigeria has been subjected to in the past, for those advocating for it, they never know what state police entails. It is better we join hands together to kick against it and stop the advocacy. We should work towards the betterment of this country.
The crime rate seems to be on the increase in ilorin following the number of those arrested recently for allegedly dealing in human parts, what do you think is responsible for this and what’s the way out?
We can easily trace the increase of this crime to the harsh economic condition under which people are operating. It was said recently that some powerful persons are behind the prevalence. It is quite unfortunate; the illicit act shows the level we’ve degenerated in terms of moral. There are better ways out of the menace other than to go back to the basis, we should stop praising people we don’t know anything about their wealth, even the politicians. Let it be taught by religious bodies, morals, good ways of life. We need to uphold the integrity of this holy city lest some people throw it into the mud.