A retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Francis Tabai, has thrown his weight behind the devolution of power to the states and the restructuring of the country.
Tabai, who expressed disappointment that the Ijaw leaders were not speaking up on the ‘’vexatious issues,” called on them to champion the call, insisting that the issues were in the best interest of the Ijaw people and other federating units.
The legal luminary made the call in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, on Sunday during a ceremony organised in his honour by the Ijaw Lawyers Forum to mark his 75th birthday.
While describing Nigeria as a complex nation, Justice Tabai noted that restructuring would guarantee justice and peace in the country.
He maintained that the constitution of the country had concentrated so much power on the centre, emphasising that power should be devolved to the states to give the component units greater power to determine and control themselves and their resources.
Tabai stated, “Ijaw people should join the call for restructuring. I don’t think that there is any opposition to restructuring from this area, but we should talk. Ijaw people are not talking, we should do the talking particularly the intellectual aspect of restructuring, it is our case. Restructuring is our cause and our desire as Ijaw people.
“We should be able to get greater control of our resources but our present constitution is such that we do not have proper access to our resources and it is not good for us. In the interest of justice and peace, there should be restructuring so that we can have greater control of our resources.
‘’Nigeria is a great country and we are also a part and component unit of this nation, but every component should be able to control its resources and contribute something to the centre.
“The constitution is such that there is too much power at the centre, so power should be devolved. The component units should have greater power to determine and control themselves and their resources, but everything is at the centre and it is not good.”
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A Report Of The Judgement Of The 16 Divisions Of The Court Of Appeal In Nigeria