The Berom Community in Abuja and Environs (BECA) articulated its position on the National Conference and came up with the following recommendations:
1. FORMS OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE
• Accepts the Presidential system of Government to suit our peculiarities as a nation. Duplication of functions should be streamlined to reduce cost of governance.
• Retention of a Bi-Cameral Legislature at the Federal level.
• Legislators at all levels should be on Part-Time basis.
2. GOOD GOVERNANCE
• All Government activities should be guided by the principles of: Rule of Law, transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, due process, zero tolerance to corruption, etc.
• All anti-corruption legislations be reviewed/amended to take care of:
• Speedy trial or disposition of such cases and severe sanctions should be considered to serve as deterrent.
• Development of democratic culture by ensuring one Man one vote, each vote counts and respect for minority groups.
• Promotion of the welfare of all citizens without discrimination.
• Immunity should be removed from Political office holders.
• The Committee agrees with the retention of citizenship/indigenship-settlers dichotomy as is practiced in other democracies e.g. USA, Australia, Malaysia, etc and as recognized by the United Nations.
• The BECA recommends that the objectives and directive principles of state policy as contained in Chapter II of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended should be justifiable to accord with the need to challenge the violation of the citizens’ human rights.
3. THE JUDICATURE
• The Committee is in absolute support of the entrenchment of fundamental rights provision as contained in Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
• The Committee is of the view that impunity of judicial officers should be appropriately addressed as follows:
o That the Bench be reserved for the best and the brightest in character and learning, while the appointment and elevation of judges should be based on merit and high scholarship, not on seniority or political patronage.
o That disciplinary action against erring judges be routinely carried out to salvage the bench from moral degeneracy.
o That aside judges, our judicial personnel – Court Bailiffs, Clerks, Registrars, Messengers, Typists, etc who equally play very important roles in the dispensation of justice should be above board.
o That the Nigerian Bar Association should play a role here by beaming its search light on corrupt court personnel and be brought to justice.
o That the independence of the judiciary be strengthened by funding it directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
o That our Justices, Judges and other judicial staff/officers or workers are paid commensurate remunerations that will disabuse their desire for filthy gratification. Plans be made out for them to enjoy their retirement.
• The Committee supports the review of judicial institutions and advocates for the creation of Constitutional Court to handle constitutional matters; electoral Court to handle all election cases; financial offences Anti-Corruption Court to handle such cases speedily.
• The Committee supports the retention of Sharia and Customary legal systems in the Constitution and the provision of Canon Legal System into the Constitution for States and Local Governments that require it.
• Supports the promotion of alternative dispute resolution through arbitration, adjudication, etc.
• The Committee is of the view that deepening democracy should be sustained by public enlightenment of Nigerian citizens and promoting the development of political values and culture. Furthermore, the political parties themselves should ensure the promotion of internal democracy in the conduct of their affairs and avoid winner-takes-all syndrome. Losers should be taken along in governance. Above all there should be transparency in the electoral system.
• Democratic culture can only evolve through regular practice of elections and sampling of public opinion, periodically.
• Minorities should be carried along in governance to foster unity and discourage dictatorship tendencies.
5. POLITICAL PARTIES AND GODFATHERISM
• Godfatherism should be condemned and rejected in its entirety by all well meaning Nigerians. While internal democracy by our political parties and the views of the majority be heard and views of the minority be respected.
6. NATIONAL SECURITY
• There is need to review and redesign our national security apparatus to make it people-centered, and not for regime protection.
• The Committee supports creation of State and Local Police.
• The Committee supports the encouragement of other Security agencies such as Private Security and investigating agencies to complement the other Security outfits.
7. STATE CREATION AND MERGER
• BECA accepts the creation of States structure one from each of the six Geo-Political Zones.
• The Committee supports the re-introduction of Bursary/Scholarship awards from Secondary education to tertiary Institutions on equal bases from Students in all States of the Federation.
• The Committee advocates greater investment by Government in education as in Israel, Japan and other top world class educationally ranked Nations.
• Supports the return of schools to Missionaries and private Agencies that were taken over by Government without payment of adequate compensation.
• Supports Institutionalizing Tsangaya/Almajiri education system.
a) A healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Therefore in agreement with the Revised National Health Policy 2004, the Federal, States and Local Governments should make adequate budgetary allocations to the Health Sector with particular attention to Primary Health Care Delivery. Also adequate attention and free medical provision be provided for pregnant women; children up to 14 years of age, and the elderly (60 years and above);
b) The Committee supports the encouragement of investment by the Federal, State and Local Governments in the Health Sector, and further supports that on healthcare, emphasis should be placed on Primary Health care in the rural areas and secondary health care for urban areas.
10. SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT
• The Committee supports the promotion of science and technology education and advocates that it should be reviewed in such a way that it will promote practical application and further encourages the promotion of technological adaptation for the national economy. More funds should be injected into research in our Universities, Polytechnics and other Tertiary Institutions.
• The dichotomy between the Universities, Polytechnics and other Tertiary Institutions should be abolished.
• 1% of the Science and Technology’s budget should be injected into research and Development Agencies in charge of research and development in the country should be well and properly funded for efficiency through Private and public Organizations.
• Each multi-national company operating in Nigeria should as a matter of necessity within 5 years of its operation in Nigeria, promote and develop one indigenous technological innovation within their areas of specialization or interest, thereafter such promotion and Developments should be feasible in catchment areas and beyond provided it covers Nigeria as a Nation.
11. RESTORING THE NATIONAL ETHICS, MORALS AND CORE VALUES
The Committee is of the view that restoring national ethics, morals and core values requires:
Cultural regeneration and reorientation at home, work, school, Church, Mosque, community etc by all and sundry i.e. our attitudinal and moral revival as a people should and must positively changes.
Review the criteria and manner of award of National Merit/Award to ensure that people who are given such awards are recognized right from their resident communities and who must attest to their character and achievements.
The reward system should be comprehensive/holistic to cover innovations, excellence, etc.
12. RELIGION, SECULARISM AND THE SECULARITY OF THE NIGERIAN STATE.
• The Committee supports the idea that Nigeria remains a multi-religious nation, (secular). The teaching of religious values should be encouraged at all levels devoid of violence and that Nigerians should vehemently resist negative western values such as gay marriage, pornography, violent films etc.
• The Federal, States and Local governments should all hands-off sponsorship of any form of pilgrimage. No State or Local Government should adopt any religion as a State religion in spite of the numerical strength of its adherents.
13. AGRICULTURE, FOOD SECURITY AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
• The Federal Government should hands-off involvement in Agricultural matters except on issues of Agricultural Institutions such as research, monitoring, training, etc and policy formulation.
• On Grazing Reserves, the Committee observes that in view of the problems associated with nomadic cattle rearing in Nigeria over the years leading to avoidable loss of lives and properties, coupled with the mistrust between the nomads and farmers nationwide, outdated nomadic grazing system, the BECA recommends Ranching System of cattle management which is modern, profitable, healthy convenient and safer for the cattle rearers.
14. THE ENVIRONMENT
• The Committee supports the idea that the Federal Government should work in tandem with the State Governments for a clean, healthy and sustainable environment in order to check flooding, soil erosion, oil spillage and desertification. The Committee further recommends that the Federal Government should work in conformity with the United Nations position on Climate Change.
• The federal Government in conjunction with the state and Local Governments should restore mining ponds, ecological distorted areas, etc.
• The Federal Government should provide and equip the Nigerian Armed Forces adequately with the necessary enablement and resources to provide security, peace and the protection of the country’s territorial sovereignty.
• That Nigeria should continue to play her leadership role of ensuring security in the West African sub-region, Africa and the world at large.
• The Military should be invited into Civilian crises only in extreme cases where threats of National Integrity exist.
• The Military as a symbol of discipline and integrity should have the orientation to maintain its co-values and ethics.
16. TENURE OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS
The Committee supports:
• One term of 6 years for the President only.
• One term of 6 years for the Governors only
• 4 years of two terms for Legislators of the national and State Assemblies which should be on part-time bases.
17. THE INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC)
• INEC should be fully independent devoid of any interference from the Executive and Legislative arms of Government.
• That INEC’s Funds should come directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.
• That the Chairman and Commissioners of INEC should be nominated by the Executive and confirmed by the National Assembly.
• That a law should be enacted by the National Assembly to enable INEC conduct electronic voting in the country.
• That Nigerians in the Diaspora should be allowed to vote electronically.
18. POPULATION AND CREDIBLE NATIONAL CENSUS
The Committee supports the following:
• That the National Population Commission (NPC) should be independent.
• That its funds should come directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.
• That the Chairman and the Commissioners of National Population Commission should be appointed by the Executive and confirmed by the National Assembly.
• That both the National Population Commission and the National Bureau of Statistics, as well as any other related Agencies dealing with statistics or population matters be merged.
• That National Population Commission should pay special attention to demographic movements while INEC should take note of the population data in the creation/delineation of constituencies.
19. THE LAND USE ACT
• The Committee is of the opinion that Land should be owned by individuals and communities. Such lands can only be acquired by individuals, governments or organizations with the consent of the owners and payment of compensation at prevailing costs.
20. ROLE OF TRADITIONAL RULERS AND LOCAL INSTITUTIONS IN GOVERNANCE AT NATIONAL AND LOCAL LEVELS.
• The Committee supports that Traditional Institutions should continue to serve as custodians of traditional values and customs. They should also be used as agents of peace and security within their areas of jurisdiction.
21. THE ECONOMY
• The BECA recommends that Governments at all levels should facilitate and provide the enabling environment for the eradication of poverty at various levels in the society.
• The Committee also recommends that Governments at all levels should evolve deliberate policy of checking rural-urban drift by ensuring massive rural programmes covering rural road developments, provision of electricity and potable water, recreational centres (sporting facilities), primary health care facilities, ICT facilities, good and functional vocational facilities and schools.
• The BECA recommends that Government should provide the enabling environment and facilities in the rural communities to encourage semi-processing of agricultural and mineral resources for higher profits. Government should also promote local industries.
22. OIL AND OTHER MINERAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT, EXPLORATIONS AND SHARING MECHANISM.
• The current formula for the management, exploration and sharing of oil and non oil mineral resources should be changed in favor of States.
23. REVENUE GENERATION AND MOBILIZATION
• Fiscal federalism will adequately take care of revenue generation and mobilization in the country.
24. NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE CORPS (NYSC)
• The Committee supports the continuation of the scheme as a tool for national integration.
• However, the Committee is of the opinion that the amendment of the enabling Act should be done in such a way that Corp members be insured against loss of life or serious injury while performing their official duties and of Corp members should be reviewed upwards in the light of inflation and other economic variables.
25. GENDER ISSUES
• The United Nations (UN) provisions on gender issues should be adopted and implemented., provided our national values, norms, cultures, traditions etc are respected and protected.
26. YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT
• Governments at all levels should provide the enabling environment such as provision of soft loans for employment of youths in the rural/urban areas. More importantly, the Committee noted that the issue of ‘Power’ is key to the development of the country and as such further enjoins Government to address the issue of power generation, transmission and distribution to enhance industrialization and youths to be self-employed.
27. PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED PERSONS AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
• The Constitution should be amended to make provision that will cater for the needs of the physically challenged persons such as:
o Free and compulsory education from primary to tertiary level; employment and elective political office.
o Universal design should be adopted in all designs and constructions of roads, public buildings and transportation.
28. INVESTMENT IN SPORTS
• Governments at all levels i.e. Federal, State and Local Government, should invest heavily in Sports. This will no doubt afford our youths the opportunity to be engaged in recreational activities in areas they are gifted.
29. BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENT
• There is need for a boundary adjustment exercise to be carried out in such a manner that it will accommodate the desires and interests of minority ethnic groups and tribes with whom they share common boundary, culture, traditions, folklores, artifacts etc.
30. NATIONAL INLAND WATERWAYS ISSUES
• Inland waterways issues should go into the concurrent legislative list to be shared by both the Federal and State Governments.
31. UNSETTLED ISSUES OF THE NIGERIAN CIVIL WAR (1967 – 1970)
• Where there are unsettled issues resulting from the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 – 1970, such issues should be brought to the Conference for deliberation in the spirit of truth and reconciliation.
32. LANGUAGES AND LANGUAGE POLICY
• Nigerian language should be respected, preserved and taught.
33. PENSION MATTERS AND RIGHTS OF SENIOR CITIZENS
• The Bill on Pension Matters pending in the National Assembly should be expeditiously handled and passed into law.
34. FEDERAL CHARACTER
• The issue of Federal Character should be reviewed such that incompetence, mediocrity lack of merit and inadequate qualifications for appointment should be checkmated. In the Committee’s view, this will ensure that the best brains/minds qualified are employed.
• The principle of equality and proportionality should be respected by Federal, States and Local Governments in employment representations etc.
35. ELECTIVE MAYORALTY, ADMINISTRATIVE/LEGISLATIVE STRUCTURES OF FCT ABUJA.
• In line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, the Committee supports a Mayoralty for Federal Capital Territory.
36. SPECIAL STATUS FOR LAGOS
• In line with the independent status of Lagos during the Colonial era and its subsequent status as a Federal Territory administered by a Federal Minister (Alhaji Musa Yar’Adua), the Committee supports that Lagos should be designated a “Federal Territory”.
37. REVISITING BAKASSI
• Since Nigeria is a signatory to the International Court of Justice declaration, its judgment on Bakassi is binding on Nigeria.
• However, should there be any superior and/or justifiable grounds contrary to the judgment, the possibility should be explored by Nigeria.
SIGNED BY COMMITTEE MEMBERS ON BEHALF OF BECA:–
D.D.N. Kaze Stephen Pam Kwis
Yakubu Pam Gam Stephen Mang
Barr. Fibi Muhammad Ms Ladi T. Dakwo, JP
Dung Jugu Bature Esq