Reps stop bill seeking establishment of seaports by states

The House of Representatives has stepped down a bill to alter the constitution and remove item 36 (maritime shipping and navigation) from the exclusive legislative list and insert it on the concurrent legislative list to allow states to establish seaports without the permission of the Federal Government.

The proposed legislation which was presented for second reading at plenary on is sponsored by Onofiok Luke (PDP, Akwa Ibom).

In his lead debate, Luke said the bill seeks to alter the second schedule to the Principal Act by deleting item 36 from the exclusive legislative list and inserting after item 32 on the concurrent legislative list, new items 33, 34.

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The new items read: “a House of Assembly may make laws for the State with respect to maritime shipping and navigation, including shipping and navigation on tidal waters.

“Shipping and navigation on the River Niger and its affluent and on any such other inland waterway not designated by the National Assembly to be an international waterway; lighthouses, lightships, beacons and other provisions for the safety of shipping and navigation. Such ports not being Federal ports (including the constitution and powers of port authorities for State ports).”

However, chairman of the committee on navy, Yusuf Gagdi (APC, Plateau) argued that with the current security situation it is better for the ports to be in the hands of the Federal Government.

Gagdi appealed to the sponsor to step down the bill for further consultations which he did.