Local

Constitution review: Why NASS bowed to governors over LG autonomy – Official


 

The National Assembly Tuesday bowed to the state governors over the latter’s refusal of autonomy for local government councils as proposed in the 44 Constitution amendment bills forwarded to State Houses of Assembly for concurrence March, 2022.

Out of the 44 constitution alteration bills forwarded to the state lawmakers for concurrence, only 35 were voted for by 24 out of the 36 state legislatures with complete exclusion of financial and administrative autonomies for local government councils.

The National Assembly had through its joint Ad – hoc Committee on constitution review October last year, slammed the governors for preventing their lawmakers from concurring with the constitution amendments proposals for financials and administrative autonomies for the 774 local government councils. 

 It threatened then to mobilise labour, particularly local government employees, against the various state governments on the bills for the required concurrence.

Resolution

But three months after, the Senate in plenary,  went through the 35 items concurred  to  by the State Houses of Assembly and resolved to, in collaboration with the House of Representatives, transmit them for assent by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Senate’s resolution to this effect, followed a motion moved by Senator Michael Bamidele   on behalf of Senator Ovie  Omo – Agege, who as Deputy President of the Senate, chaired the Senate Committee on Constitution Review but not at plenary Tuesday.

 The 35 items read by Senator Bamidele as listed on the order paper are ÷ Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 3 (Change of Names of Afikpo North and Afikpo South Local Government 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 Time for the Determination of Pre-Election Petitions, Election Petitions and Appeals therefrom).

The rest include 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 part of the passed ones are  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).

 Also listed are 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).

 It accordingly resolved to  direct the Clerk to the National Assembly to transmit the 35 Bills that had so far met the requirement of the provision of Section 9(2) of the Constitution to Mr. President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation for assent in line with the provisions of the Acts Authentication Act.

It also urged the following State Houses of Assembly – Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Zamfara; that are yet to forward their resolution on the Bills to do so in fulfillment of their constitutionally imposed legislative obligation to the Constitution amendment process.

 Failed bills 

Some of the nine bills 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 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 establishment of Local Government as a Tier of Government by  Guaranteeing  their Democratic Existence, Tenure; and for 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 inclusion of Presiding Officers of the National Assembly in the Membership of the National Security Council; and for Related Matters etc.”

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