Northern senators have rejected the planned relocation of some federal agencies from Abuja to Lagos, just as they alleged lopsidedness in the distribution and allocation of resources in the 2024 budget against the North.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in an internal memo last week, announced plans to transfer some of its departments to Lagos, citing congestion at the headquarters in Abuja
After the CBN announcement, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, also ordered the relocation of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) headquarters from Abuja to Lagos.
The lawmakers, under the aegis of Northern Senators Forum, kicked against the move and urged their constituents to remain patient, saying they would engage the executive in peaceful negotiations and deploy legal measures where necessary to address the issue.
The senators, in a statement by their spokesman, Senator Suleiman Kawu Sumaila said, “We firmly believe in the power of open dialogue and collaboration to bring about positive change for our nation.
“We urge our constituents to remain patient as we diligently explore avenues for dialogue, engage in peaceful negotiations, and deploy legal measures where necessary.
“Rest assured, our actions align with the constitutional framework and the laws of the land, as we endeavor to uphold justice and fairness.”
Similarly, 16 northern youth associations have said the planned relocation of FAAN and CBN offices from Abuja to Lagos would create an economic imbalance, diminish opportunities for businesses, entrepreneurs, and aspiring professionals in the Northern states.
The associations, at a press conference by their joint action committee held yesterday in Kaduna, said the decisions were not only unjustified, but also detrimental to the economic, social and political development of the Northern region and the nation as a whole.
Murtala Abubakar, the convener, briefed the press alongside Hashim Tom Maiyashi, Director of Public Communication & Strategy and Latifa Abdussalam Director of Gender Mobilization on behalf of the 16 Northern youth groups.
Abubakar said by moving the CBN departments to Lagos State, the apex bank was effectively creating a monopoly and a bias in favour of the financial institutions based in Lagos, while neglecting and marginalizing the ones in other parts of the country, especially the North.
He said the fact that the CBN did not consult with the stakeholders and the public, who owned the bank, shows not only lack of transparency and accountability by its management but that the action itself lacks basic legitimacy and is therefore unacceptable.
Abubakar also said the plan to move FAAN headquarters to Lagos would create a disconnect between the FAAN and the federal government, which is based in Abuja, and affect the oversight and regulation of the FAAN activities.
He said, “Moreover, the relocation will create a bias and favouritism towards airports in Lagos, which already account for more than 60% of the passenger volume of the country while neglecting and marginalizing the airports in other regions, especially the North, which needs more attention and investment.
“We believe these unwarranted actions by the CBN and FAAN would impact on regional economic equilibrium. This shift poses the risk of exacerbating regional disparities rather than fostering an environment of equal economic development.
“We wish to warn the federal government that such actions will not go unchallenged. We will resist them through all available means, including legal, political and civil actions.”
The Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA), also rejected the relocation of key departments of the CBN and the FAAN to Lagos by the President Bola Tinubu-led administration.
The President, KADCCIMA, Mr. Ishaya Idi said the development does not promote any immediate economic advantage to the country.