By Bakare Majeed | Friday March 17, 2023

President Muhammadu Buhari

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and Chairman House Committee on Constitution Review, Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), said President Muhammadu Buhari has signed 16 constitution alteration bills into law.

Mr Wase, in a statement on Friday, commended the president for giving assent to the bills, which according to him will devolve more power to states.

The bill on financial independence of State Houses of Assembly and State Judiciary is one of the bills signed by the president.

Other bills signed by the president are on the removal of the railway, prison and electricity from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported that the National Assembly in January transmitted 35 constitution amendment bills to the president for assent.

The 35 bills have been considered by 27 State Houses of Assembly (SHA) and approved by at least 24 state assemblies as required by Section 9 of the Constitution.

The state assemblies, however, failed to vote on the two bills that seek financial and legislative autonomy for local governments.

Mr Wase said four of the bills will help to address the call for true fiscal federalism.

“Essentially four of the bills deal with devolution of powers/promoting true Federalism. And also strengthening of State Houses of Assembly and Judiciary.

The deputy speaker also congratulated members of the 9th National Assembly for working tirelessly to ensure the passage of these legacy legislations.

Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Babajide Omoworare, in a statement on Friday also confirmed the signing of the bills.

He said Mr Buhari also assented three other bills; The Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology Act, The Nigerian Institute of International Relations Act, and The Federal Medical Centres (Amendment) Acts.

Full list of 16 Constitution alteration bills Mr Buhari assented to.

1. Fifth Alteration (No.1), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to change the names of Afikpo North and Afikpo South Local Government Areas; and for related matters.

2. Fifth Alteration (No.2), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to change the name of Kunchi Local Government Area; and for related matters.

3. Fifth Alteration (No.3), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to change the names of Egbado North and Egbado South Local Government Areas; and for related matters.

4. Fifth Alteration (No.4), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to correct the name of Atigbo Local Government Area; and for related matters.

5. Fifth Alteration (No.5), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to correct the name of Obia/Akpor Local Government Area; and for related matters.

6. Fifth Alteration (No.6), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to provide for the financial independence of State Houses of Assembly and State Judiciary; and for related matters.

7. Fifth Alteration (No.8), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to regulate the first session and inauguration of members-elect of the National and State Houses of Assembly; and for related matters.

8. Fifth Alteration (No.9), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to delete the reference to the provisions of the Criminal Code, Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Act, Criminal Procedure Code or Evidence Act; and for related matters.

9. Fifth Alteration (No.10), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to exclude the period of intervening events in the computation of time for determining pre-election petitions, election petitions and appeals; and for related matters.

10. Fifth Alteration (No.12), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to provide for the post-call qualification of the Secretary of the National Judicial Council; and for related matters.

11. Fifth Alteration (No.15), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to delete the item “prisons” in the Exclusive Legislative List and redesignate it as “Correctional Services” in the Concurrent Legislative List; and for related matters.

12. Fifth Alteration (No.16), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to move the item “railways” from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List; and for related matters.

13. Fifth Alteration (No.17), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to allow States to generate, transmit and distribute electricity in areas covered by the national grid; and for related matters.

14. In Fifth Alteration (No.23), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to require the President and Governors to submit the names of persons nominated as Ministers or Commissioners within sixty days of taking the oath of office for confirmation by the Senate or State House of Assembly; and for related matters.

15. In Fifth Alteration (No.32), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to correct the error in the definition of the boundary of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; and for related matters.

16. In Fifth Alteration (No.34), the Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to require the Government to direct its policy towards ensuring the right to food and food security in Nigeria; and for related matters.

Comments:

It’s done. The President has assented to my constitution amendment bill to move railways from the exclusive to the concurrent list.

States, local governments and private investors can now own, construct and operate railways without requiring the FG’s permission. 

Recall that I sent in my memorandum to the constitution review committee as a private citizen.

Recall that the Senate passed my bill unanimously 92-0 and the ayes had it in the Reps. 27 state houses of assembly supported it with simple majorities.

Well, It is now law, the constitution is amended and history is made. Thanks be to God.

Now to amend the NRC Act.

Read my Memorandum here:

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