Senate receives 35 Constitution Alteration Bills, set to transmit for assent

Ojochenemi Onje-James2 weeks ago7 min
Ten months after, National Assembly to transmit 35 Constitution Alteration Bills received from twenty-seven State Assemblies to President Buhari for assent, Bill seeking to abrogate State Joint Local Government Account failed passage
Bills
For the umpteenth time, the clamour for financial autonomy of local government councils in the country has suffered a setback in the ongoing Consitution Amendment process.

Passed as one of the forty-four Constitution Alteration Bills by the National Assembly in March 2022 and forwarded to the thirty-six State Houses of Assembly for concurrence, the bill failed to secure the approval of lawmakers in the State Legislatures.

The Senate has thus directed the Acting Clerk to the National Assembly, 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.

The Senate resolution to this effect followed a motion moved on Tuesday during plenary by Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central) on behalf of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege who, as Deputy President of the Senate, chaired the Senate Committee on Constitution Review.

 

 

Having forwarded 44 Constitution Alteration Bills to the State legislatures for concurrence on March 28 2022, twenty-seven State Houses of Assembly forwarded their resolutions on 35 constitutional amendment bills to the National Assembly. The remaining nine State Houses of Assembly yet to forward their resolutions to the National Assembly are: Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, and Zamfara.

The Senate, accordingly, urged the Assemblies that are yet to forward their resolution on the bills to do so in fulfilment of their constitutionally imposed legislative obligation to the Constitution amendment process.

The National Assembly had, through its Joint Ad-hoc Committee on Constitution Review in October 2022, accused the state governors of preventing the various State Houses of Assembly from concurring with Constitution Amendments proposals for financial and administrative autonomies for the 774 Local Government Councils. The federal lawmakers, therefore, threatened to mobilise organised Labour, particularly Local Government Employees, against the various state governments on the subject.

Three months after, the Senate has now resolved to make a U-turn, with its resolution to transmit them for assent by President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

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)
  • Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 7 (Correction of the name of Atisbo Local Government Area (Oyo State).
  • 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 are 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 bills 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 (Authorisation 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).\ 

    READ ALSO: Constitution Review by the 9th National Assembly and its Setbacks

 

Others are

  • Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 54 (State of the Nation and State of the State Address)
  • Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 55 (Composition of Members of the Council of State)
  • Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 57 (Restriction on Formation of Political Parties)
  • Constitution (Fifth Alteration) 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).

 

Some of the bills that failed passage at the State Houses of Assembly were the ones that sought for the 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.

Ojochenemi Onje-James

Ojochenemi Onje-James is a research writer and journalist with years of proven footprints in areas of crime and politics. She has a M.Sc in International Relations and Strategic Studies as well as a B.Sc in Mass Communication.

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