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‘Right to free basic education, national grid devolution’ — inside the 35 constitution amendment bills


 

The senate, on Tuesday, said 35 constitution amendment bills have been passed by state assemblies.

 

At the plenary session, the lawmakers asked the clerk of the national assembly to transmit the bills to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

 

Among the proposed legislations not approved by the state assemblies are bills seeking financial and legislative autonomy for local governments.

 

In March 2022, the senate and house of representatives voted on bills seeking to amend the 1999 constitution.

 

The red and green chambers agreed on some of the bills and differed on others, while a total of 44 bills were transmitted to the state houses of assembly.

 

According to sections 9(2) and (3) of the 1999 constitution, two-thirds of all the state assemblies — 24 states — are required for each amendment to be approved.

 

Below is the full list of the bills approved by the 27 state houses of assemblies.

S/N        BILLS

1              Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 3 (Change of Names of Afikpo North and Afikpo South Local Government Areas (Ebonyi State)

The bill seeks to change the names of Afikpo north and Afikpo south LGAs to “Afikpo” and “Edda” LGAs, respectively.

 

2              Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 4 (Change of Name of Kunchi Local Government Area (Kano State)

The bill seeks to change the name of Kunchi LGA to “Ghari”.

 

3              Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 5 (Change of Names of Egbado North and Egbado South Local Government Areas (Ogun State)

The bill seeks to change the names of Egbado north and Egbado south LGAs to “Yewa north” and “Yewa south” LGAs, respectively.

 

4              Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 7 (Correction of the Name of Atigbo Local Government Area (Oyo State)

The bill seeks to correct Atigbo LGA to “Atisbo”.

 

5              Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 8 (Correction of Name of Obia/Akpor Local Government Area (Rivers State)

The bill seeks to correct Obia/Akpor LGA to “Obio/Akpor”.

 

6              Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 9 (Financial autonomy of state legislatures and state judiciary)

This bill seeks to provide the framework for the implementation of the financial autonomy already granted by earlier alterations of the constitution for state houses of assemblies and state judiciaries, by the creation of a disbursement committee to superintend the release of appropriated sums to the legislative and judicial arms.

 

7              Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 10 (Enforcement of Legislative Summons)

It seeks to strengthen the power of the legislature to deal with failure, refusal, or neglect to attend a legislative summons by making it an offence punishable on conviction, by a court of law, in accordance with an Act of the national assembly.

 

8              Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 11 (Inauguration of Members-Elect)

This bill seeks to provide for two-third majority of members-elect as the quorum of members-elect required for the first and inaugural session of members-elect of the national and state houses of assembly.

 

9              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)

The bill seeks to delete the reference to the provisions of the Criminal Code, Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Act, Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act in the Constitution.

 

10           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)

This bill seeks to alter the provisions of the constitution to exclude the period of intervening events, like disasters and force majeure in the computation of time for determining pre-election petitions, election petitions and appeals therefrom.

 

11           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 24 (Expansion of the Interpretation of Judicial Office)

The alteration here seeks to expand the interpretation of judicial office to include courts or tribunals created by an Act of the national assembly or a state house of assembly.

 

12           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 25 (Appointment of Secretary of the National Judicial Council)

The bill seeks to provide a minimum post-call qualification of 10 years for the secretary of the National Judicial Council.

 

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

This bill seeks to move the item “airports” from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list.

 

The intent of this and other bills under the heading “devolution of powers” is to decongest the exclusive legislative list by moving those items to the concurrent legislative list, thereby giving more legislative powers to the state. This is aimed at strengthening federalism and ensuring that governance responsibilities are efficiently allocated to the level of government best able to manage them, and expanding the revenue base of sub-national governments.

 

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

This bill seeks to move the item “fingerprints, identification and criminal records” from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list.

 

15           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 31 (Devolution of Powers (Correctional Services)

This bill seeks to delete the item “prisons” from the exclusive legislative list and redesignate it as “correctional services” in the concurrent legislative list.

 

16           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 32 (Devolution of Powers (Railways)

The bill seeks to move the item “railways” from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list.

 

17           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 33 (Devolution of Powers) (National Grid System)

This bill seeks to delete after the word, “areas”, the words, “not covered by a national grid system” in the concurrent legislative list. This will allow states to generate, transmit and distribute electricity in areas covered by the national grid within their respective domains.

 

18           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 39 (Power to Enforce Compliance of Remittance of Accruals into the Federation Account and Review of Revenue Allocation Formula)

The bill seeks to empower the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission to enforce compliance with the remittance of accruals into and disbursement of revenue from the federation account,  and streamline the procedure for reviewing the revenue allocation formula.

 

19           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 40 (Independence of Certain Bodies)

The amendment in this bill seeks to alter the constitution to enhance the independence of certain regulatory and oversight institutions created by the constitution. This is to help improve the quality of governance, strengthen the rule of law, encourage transparency and accountability, prevent corruption, and ultimately reinforce both the quality and the resilience of democracy.

 

20           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 41 (Removal of Transitional Lawmaking Powers of the Executive)

This bill seeks to remove transitional law-making powers from the executive arm of government.

 

21           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 43 (Domestication of Treaties)

The bill seeks to alter the constitution to specify the time within which the executive shall present to the national assembly any treaty between the federation and any other country for enactment.

 

22           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 44 (Timeline for the Presentation of Appropriation Bills)

This bill seeks to provide a timeframe within which the president or a governor shall lay the appropriation bill before the national assembly or house of assembly, and the period within which the national assembly or house of assembly shall pass the appropriation bill. The intent of this bill is to entrench a January-to-December budget year in the constitution which will make state and national budgets more predictable.

 

23           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 45 (Timeframe for the Submission of the Names of Ministerial or Commissioner Nominees)

The bill seeks to alter the provisions of the constitution to provide a timeframe within which the president or a governor shall forward to the senate or state house of assembly names of nominees for confirmation as ministers or commissioners.

 

24           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 48 (Power to Summon the President and Governors)

This bill seeks to alter the provisions of the constitution to grant the two chambers of the national assembly and state houses of assembly powers to summon the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and governors of states, respectively, to answer questions on issues of national security or any matter whatsoever, over which the national assembly and state houses of assembly have powers to make laws.

 

25           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 49 (Authorisation of Expenditure)

The bill seeks to alter the provisions of the constitution to reduce the period within which the president or a governor may authorise the withdrawal of monies from the consolidated revenue fund in the absence of an Appropriation Act, from six months to three months.

 

26           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 50 (Replacement of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation with the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government)

The bill seeks to alter the constitution to replace the consolidated revenue fund of the federation with the consolidated revenue fund of the federal government in sections 80, 81, 82, and 83 of the constitution.

 

27           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 51 (Creation of the Office of Accountant-General of the Federal Government)

This bill seeks to establish the office of the accountant-general of the federal government distinct from the office of the accountant-general of the federation. The proposed alteration is aimed at ensuring ease of administration by enabling the federal government to have its own accounting officer separate from the accounting officer that deals with the other tiers of government.

 

28           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)

This bill seeks to establish the office of the attorney-general of the federation and of the state separate from the office of the minister of justice, or commissioner for justice in order to make the office of the attorney-general independent and insulated from partisanship.

 

29           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 54 (State of the Nation and State of the State Address)

The bill seeks to alter the provisions of the constitution to provide for a state of the nation and state of the state address by the president and governor, respectively.

 

30           Bill No. 55 (Composition of Members of the Council of State)

The bill seeks to alter the constitution to include former presidents of the senate and former speakers of the house of representatives as members of the council of state. This is to ensure that the three arms of government are fairly represented in the council.

 

31           Bill No. 57 (Restriction on Formation of Political Parties)

This bill seeks to enhance existing provisions on the formation of political parties to ensure their national orientation, viability, and sustainability.

 

32           Bill No. 62 (Correction in the Definition of the Boundary of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja)

This bill seeks to alter the provisions of the constitution to correct the error in the definition of the boundary of the federal capital territory, Abuja, by substituting Nasarawa state for Plateau state.

 

33           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 63 (Fundamental Human Rights)

This bill seeks to alter the provisions of the constitution to make free, compulsory, and basic education a fundamental right of all citizens under chapter IV of the constitution.

 

34           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 65 (Food Security)

The bill seeks to alter the provisions of the constitution to require the government to direct its policy towards ensuring food security in Nigeria.

 

35           Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 66 (Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps)

This bill seeks to entrench the establishment and core functions of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in the constitution.

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