State Assembly Speakers Urge President Tinubu to Address Economic Hardships

The Speakers of Nigeria’s 36 State Houses of Assembly have called on President Bola Tinubu to implement further measures to alleviate the economic hardships faced by Nigerians following recent policy changes, particularly the removal of the fuel subsidy. This appeal was made during a meeting of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria, held in Abuja on Thursday.

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State Assembly Speakers Urge President Tinubu to Address Economic Hardships

In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the Speakers acknowledged President Tinubu’s bold economic policies, such as the removal of the petroleum product subsidy and the floating of the exchange rate. However, they noted that these policies have had unintended harsh consequences on the populace.

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“We recognize the courage of the President in implementing these economic policies,” the communiqué stated, “but the unintended consequences are too harsh on the populace. We therefore urge the Federal Government and State Governments to initiate sustainable policies with equal measure of courage to ameliorate the sufferings of the people.”

The communiqué, signed by Rt. Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin, Chairman of the Conference, also highlighted the Speakers’ support for the creation of state police, advocating for its inclusion in the ongoing constitutional review.

“The Conference strongly advocates for state policing to check the negative trend of insecurity in our country,” it read. The Speakers argue that establishing state police is the most effective way to tackle the widespread insecurity plaguing Nigeria. “To achieve this, the Conference appeals to the National Assembly, the Presidency, and other relevant stakeholders to leverage the ongoing constitution review exercise.”

Addressing another critical issue, the Conference highlighted the non-compliance with constitutional provisions granting financial autonomy to State Legislatures. Despite these provisions, implementation has been inconsistent and often breached.

“We call on all relevant stakeholders to comply with all constitutional provisions regarding financial autonomy for the State Legislature,” the communiqué demanded.

The Speakers also addressed political tensions in Rivers State, urging local political leaders to seek peaceful resolutions to the conflicts between the Legislative and Executive Arms of the state government.

“The Conference appeals to the relevant political leaders in Rivers State to explore peaceful means to resolve the near impasse situation between the Legislative and Executive Arms of government of the state,” the communiqué stated.

Furthermore, the Conference received briefings from Hon. Chike Okafor, Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Nutrition and Food Security, and Hon. Mark Essiet, Chairman of the Committee on Inter-Parliamentary Affairs. These briefings focused on the mandates of their respective committees, emphasizing the importance of addressing food security and fostering inter-parliamentary cooperation.

The call from the State Assembly Speakers reflects growing concerns across Nigeria about the economic and security challenges facing the nation. The removal of the fuel subsidy, while intended to free up resources for development, has led to significant increases in living costs, affecting the daily lives of millions of Nigerians. The floating of the naira has also led to economic instability, further exacerbating these challenges.

By advocating for state police, the Speakers are pushing for a decentralized approach to security, which they believe will be more effective in addressing local security issues. This proposal has been a subject of debate, with proponents arguing that it will lead to more responsive and accountable policing, while opponents fear it could lead to abuses of power at the state level.

The appeal for financial autonomy for State Legislatures is also crucial, as it seeks to ensure that state lawmakers have the independence necessary to perform their duties effectively without undue influence from state executives.

In conclusion, the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria has laid out a comprehensive set of recommendations aimed at addressing some of the most pressing issues facing the nation today. Their call to President Tinubu and other stakeholders underscores the urgency of implementing measures that will mitigate the economic and security challenges currently afflicting Nigeria. The success of these recommendations will depend on the political will and collaborative efforts of all levels of government and relevant stakeholders.

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