NASS: Deputy Speaker Calls for Local Governance Reform to Tackle Security Challenges

NV News

By Oriri Peter

In a critical national discourse convened today on Nigeria’s Security Challenges and Good Governance at the Local Government Level, the Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu delivered an impactful welcome address. The event, organized by the Office of the Deputy Speaker, aims to tackle the escalating security issues and governance shortcomings that plague the country, especially at the grassroots level.

“Today’s discussions are imperative as we seek innovative solutions to the pressing security challenges facing our nation,” said Hon. Kalu. He emphasized the commitment of the National Assembly, particularly the House of Representatives, to explore all viable options to ensure a safer and more secure Nigeria.

Nigeria’s federal system is built on a hierarchical distribution of responsibilities, with Local Government Councils (LGCs) at the base. These councils are entrusted with providing essential municipal functions and ensuring governance reaches the grassroots. However, Hon. Kalu noted that the local governance system has faltered, leading to significant service delivery gaps that have disproportionately affected rural citizens.

“The decline in local governance has created ungoverned spaces exploited by non-state actors, exacerbating social unrest and violence,” Kalu observed. He highlighted the historical failures of past constitutional amendments aimed at addressing these issues, underscoring the urgent need for effective reforms.

One of the focal points of the discourse is the debate on state police, which Kalu described as a positive step but insufficient on its own. “Security is just one piece of the puzzle. A strong local government that delivers essential services and fosters community is the best defense against any threat,” he stated. He called for a united effort to identify and overcome the challenges crippling local governments, from inadequate funding to lack of autonomy.

The event seeks to provide a platform for stakeholders to reflect on the grassroots governance framework, identify key challenges, and propose actionable solutions. Discussions will address the bottlenecks in effective governance at the local level, the extent to which weak governance contributes to insecurity and developmental challenges, and strategies for galvanizing public action for improved governance and service delivery.

“I urge us to be bold, innovative, and united in our efforts to revitalize local governance. Only then can we ensure every Nigerian feels the embrace of a caring and responsive government,” Kalu concluded.

The discourse is supported by The Partnership to Engage, Reform, and Learn (PERL), funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO). Hon. Kalu expressed gratitude for their collaboration in the collective effort to promote good governance and security across Nigeria.

As the national dialogue progresses, participants hope to build a consensus on the most effective strategies to strengthen local governance and enhance security, ensuring a brighter future for all Nigerians.

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