President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that he will continue to work to guarantee that power is truly in the people’s hands.
He stated that the difficult problems of restructuring, real federalism, and devolution of powers are constitutional concerns that can only be addressed by the National Assembly.
President Buhari stated this when he received in audience members of the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.
At the head of the delegation were the 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.
The President told his visitors that those who feel strongly about these issues should approach the National Assembly for them to be addressed.
“On the contentious issue of restructuring or true federalism or devolution of powers, as 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.’’
President Buhari said efforts are on to create a more conducive environment to address unemployment.
Buhari appreciated the religious leaders for the significant roles they play in national development.
“Your role is critical in putting the correct perspective out to Nigerians,’’ he said.
On security, the President told 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 is closing in on the others,’’ he noted.
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,’’ he said.
President Buhari said the government has a major part to play in providing security.
“I must confess that I am more pained than anyone can imagine with the ongoing security challenges because, as 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.
“I have listened to you and I am particularly happy that your meeting clearly identified specific and major roles for both the Government and the people of Nigeria. This is what has been lacking for some time in the national discourse on addressing our current security challenges.’’
The NIREC delegation led by Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Dr. Samson Ayokunle, thanked the President for the onerous assignment of leading the country, advising the government to fund the armed forces better to confront myriad of security challenges facing the country, block sources of illegal arms, publish names of that funding terrorism and try them.
They also canvassed the recruitment of more policemen, strengthening the judiciary, tackle unemployment by creating jobs for youths particularly, and on separatist agitations in the country.