The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has urged that the country returns to the 1963 Republican Constitution, with a Confederation of Independent regions or Federation of states or regions.
The President of CAN, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, made the call on Thursday in Abuja at a news conference.
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According to him the ongoing Constitutional Amendment should adopt the 1963 Republican Constitution as a panacea to the multifaceted challenges confronting the country.
He also called for gender equity, women empowerment through education and inheritance, equal opportunities in all socio-political affairs, and 18 years as the age of maturity and for consent for marriage.
“Federal structure and power devolution; a return to the 1963 Republican Constitution. Confederation of independent regions or federation of states or regions.
“Devolution and decentralisation of power and governance system through formal introduction of geo-political zones/regions with clearly assigned roles,” Ayokunle said.
He also called for Constitutional recognition for traditional rulers and religious leaders by strengthening their cultural and social-religious responsibilities.
He said, “Constitutional backing for the operational decentralization and recognition for law enforcement agencies. For example, Sections 214 and 215 (4) of the 1999 Constitution should be expunged.
“Redefining of courts of superior jurisdiction to accommodate the purpose Regional/Zonal system with respective appellate structures. Maintain the Secularity of Nigeria: By removing any religion provisions of or if need be, insert also constitutional provisions for Ecclesiastical Courts,” he said.
On public revenue, fiscal federalism, and revenue allocation, the CAN President said that revenue allocation and sharing formula to be guided by the principles of sustenance and benefits to sources of derivation on the ratio of 70:30 to regions and central level respectively.
Ayokunle said the Constitution should maintain the financial autonomy/independence of the Judiciary.
He equally called for the separation of the office of the Attorney General from the office of the Minister of Justice.
“Proper constitutional definition of an indigene and residency rights. Equality of all persons before the law; immunity clauses should be expunged,” he said.
On states creation, the CAN leader said that this should be done as being advocated for with Southern Kaduna/ Kataf/Gurara State, from Kaduna State; Adada State from the present Enugu State;
Cross River North from Cross River state;
Okun State from the present Kogi State; Okigwe state from the present Imo State; and Oke-Ogun State from the present Oyo State, among others.
“Amend Section 3(2) and delete Section 3(6) of the 1999 Constitution to allow for the creation of more local government areas or such autonomous administrative units to be created by the respective regions/confederating units,” Ayokunle said.