President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that the contentious issue of restructuring, true federalism or devolution of powers remains a constitutional matter, only the National Assembly can handle.
He, however, reiterated his position on devolving more power to the people.
The president stated this when he received members of the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) led by Co-Chairmen, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, and President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle, at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.
The President said: “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.’’
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.
He appreciated religious leaders for their significant roles in national development; particularly in shaping perspectives.
“Your role is critical in putting the correct perspective out to Nigerians,’’ he added.
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 in closing in on the others,’’ he added.
Buhari said the government had the major part to play in providing security
He said: “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, as you noted during your meeting; they have increased the hunger, pain, and anger in the land,’’ he noted.