LAGOS – Some prominent lawyers in Lagos on Tuesday kicked against creation of 18 more states in Nigeria.
Delegates at the National Conference had recently endorsed creation of the states in addition to the existing 36 states.
The lawyers told NAN in separate interviews that the recommendation was not in the best interest of Nigeria at this point in time.
Mr Onyekachi Ubani, a former Chairman of the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said that more states would be an additional burden to the nation.
Ubani said: “The recommendation to create 18 additional states is very unnecessary.
“Some of the existing states cannot sustain the running of their governance without recourse to the Federal Government for assistance.’’
He argued that agitation for creation of one more state in the South-East Zone should be on the basis of economic viability.
“The state must show that it is economically viable. If it does not satisfy this condition, then, there is no need for its creation,” Ubani said.
Also, Mr Taiwo Taiwo, a former Chairman, NBA, Lagos Branch, said that most of the states were dependent on subventions from the Federal Government to survive.
“Personally, I think the issue of states’ creation should go beyond politics. There is really no need to create additional states,” Taiwo said.
Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a civil rights group, said that the confab should have recommended return to regionalism.
Mumuni said: “Creation of 18 more states will take Nigeria several steps backward. That suggestion is not well thought out.
“SERAP’s position is for merging of the existing states and a return to regionalism, whereby every region is able to survive on its own with resources generated from its environment.”
Another lawyer, Mr Wale Ogunade, also supported return to regional government.
“When we had only three regions, Nigeria was developing rapidly, and the regions competing with each other.
“They should have recommended merger of states instead of creation of additional ones.” (NAN)