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Constitution Review: NASS Bows To Governors On Refusal Of LG Autonomy

Vanguard reports that the National Assembly has directed the Clerk to the National Assembly, CNA, Sani Tambuwal to as a matter of urgency, transmit the 35 Bills that have so far met the requirement of the provision of Section 9(2) of the Constitution to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent in line with the provisions of the Acts Authentication Act.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly has eaten the humble pie by bowing to the 36 State Governors over the refusal of autonomy for Local Government Councils as proposed in the 44 constitution amendment bills forwarded to State Houses of Assembly for concurrence in March 2022.

With the forwarding of the 35 Bills to President Buhari for assent, nine have so far been rejected by the State Houses of Assembly.

Out of the 44 constitution alteration bills forwarded to State Houses of Assembly for concurrence, only 35 were voted for by 24 out of the 36 States Houses of Assembly with complete exclusion of Financial and Administrative autonomies for local government councils.

Twenty-seven State Houses of Assembly have however forwarded their resolutions on 35 constitutional amendment bills to the National Assembly, with nine states remaining.

The State Houses of Assembly that were yet to forward their resolutions to the National Assembly are: Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, and Zamfara.

The National Assembly has also asked the remaining nine state Houses of Assembly that were yet to forward their resolutions on the constitutional amendment bills to do so in order to fulfil their constitutionally imposed legislative obligation.

Resolutions of the Senate yesterday were sequel to a motion titled, ” Passage of Constitution( Fifth) Alteration Bill’s, 2023 sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, APC, Delta Central and supported by 65 other Senators.

The motion was presented yesterday at the Chamber by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, APC, Ekiti Central on behalf of Senator Ovie Omo – Agege who as Deputy President of the Senate, Chairs the Senate Committee on Constitution Review.

Recall that the National Assembly had through its Senator Omo- Agege led joint Ad – hoc Committee on constitution review in October last year lampooned the State Governors for not allowing the various State Houses of Assembly from concurring with constitution amendments proposals for Financials and Administrative autonomies for the 774 local government councils.

The Committee had threatened the State Governors that would mobilise the organised labour, particularly local government employees against the various state governments on the bills for the required concurrence.

The directive that the CNA should forward the Bills to President Buhari for assent is coming three months after the threat.

Some of the nine bills that failed passage at the State Houses of Assembly were: the one that sought for Abrogation of the State Joint Local Government Account and Provide for a special Account into which shall be paid all Allocations due to Local Government Councils from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State; and for Related Matters “.

The one on the establishment of Local Government as a Tier of Government by Guaranteeing their Democratic Existence, Tenure; and Related Matters.

The one that sought for Institutionalization of Legislative Bureaucracy in the Constitution; and for Related Matters as well as the one that sought for the inclusion of Presiding Officers of the National Assembly in the Membership of the National Security Council; and for Related Matters, among others

Earlier according to Senator Bamidele, the 35 items listed on the order paper were: Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 3 (Change of Names of Afikpo North and Afikpo South LocalGovernment Areas (Ebonyi State),

Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 4 (Change of Name of Kunchi Local Government Area (Kano State); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 5 (Change of Names of Egbado North and Egbado South Local Government Areas (Ogun State) and Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 7 (Correction of the name of Atigbo Local Government Area (Oyo State).

Others are: Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 8 (Correction of Name of Obia/Akpor Local Government Area (Rivers State);

Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 9 (Financial autonomy of State legislatures and State Judiciary); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 10 (Enforcement of Legislative Summon); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 11 (Inauguration of Members-Elect), Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 21 (Deletion of reference in the Constitution to the provisions of the Criminal Code, Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Act, Criminal Procedure Code or Evidence Act), Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 22 (Provision for Intervening Events in the Computation of Tine for the Determination of Pre-Election Petitions, Election Petitions and Appeals therefrom).

Others were : Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 24 (Expansion of the Interpretation of Judicial Office); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 25 (Appointment of Secretary of the National Judicial Council);

Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 29 (Devolution of Powers (Airports));

Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 30 (Devolution of Powers (Fingerprints, identification and criminal records).

Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 31 (Devolution of Powers (Correctional Services), Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 32 (Devolution of Powers (Railways), Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 33 (Devolution of Powers (National Grid System); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 39 (Power to enforce compliance of remittance of Accruals into the Federation Account and Review of Revenue Allocation Formula) and Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 40 (Independence of Certain bodies).

Also passed were: Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 41 (Removal of Transitional Law-making Powers of the Executive, Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 43 (Domestication of Treaties); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 44 (Timeline for the Presentation of Appropriation Bills); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 45 (Timeframe for the Submission of the Names of Ministerial or Commissioner Nominees); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 48 (Power to summon the President and Governors);

Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 49 (Authorization of Expenditure); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 50 (Replacement of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation with the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 51 (Creation of the Office of Accountant-General of the Federal Government), and Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 53 (Separation of the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and of the State from the office of the Minister or Commissioner for Justice).

Others were: Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 54 (State of the Nation and State of the State Address); Bill No. 55 (Composition of Members of the Council of State), Bill No. 57 (Restriction on Formation of Political Parties); Bill No. 62 (Correction in the Definition of the Boundary of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 63 (Fundamental Human Rights); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 65 (Food Security) and Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 66 (Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps).

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