Constitution Amendment: Federal Lawmakers Endorse Local Government Autonomy

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The National Assembly on Tuesday adopted the constitutional provision for autonomy for the local governments in Nigeria even as the agitation  for Independent candidacy got the nod of the federal lawmakers.

There has been agitation for autonomy for the third-tier level government especially in respect of spending.

According section 9 of the bill, the section enhances the sovereignty of the citizens through their elected representatives by removing the need for Presidential assent in constitution alteration exercise. It also replaces the word “Act” wherever it appears with the word “bill”.

The amendments which are contained in the Conference Report of  both the Senate and House of Representatives on constitution amendment, was approved by the Senate Monday.

The report contains 23 salient amendments in the constitution , including the conferment of immunity on the lawmakers in respect of words spoken or written in the exercise of their legislative duties through amendment of section 4.

Others are section 9 of the constitution amended which removes the need for Presidential assent in constitution alteration exercise.Senate At Plenary

The new amendment also makes it mandatory for the President of the country to attend a joint meeting of the National Assembly once a year to deliver a State of the Nation Address to the joint session of the National Assembly as contained in section  67.

Section 89 and 129 of the bill empowered the National Assembly and the state Houses of Assembly respectively, to prescribe sanctions, civil or criminal or both for failure, refusal or neglect to obey summons issued by a legislative house or a committee of any of the Houses.

But after the Senate adopted the report, its Chairman on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang (PDP Akwa Ibom North) kicked against the process of the adoption.

According to Enang, since the Senate debated only 8 out of the 23 amendments , it was wrong for it to have adopted the whole report without needed debate.

He was however ruled out of Order by the Senate President who quoted senate standing order 53(6) to knock him off his argument.