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National Assembly transmits constitution amendment copies to state assemblies

Bill to expand NEDC’s financial provisions, deepens impact passes second reading

The National Assembly has transmitted copies of proposed amendments of the 1999 Constitution to State Houses of Assembly for concurrence. Findings showed that the transmission of clean copies of the amendments was concluded on Monday, November 20, 2017.

A source close to the Office of the Senate President said the transmission of copies of the amendment to State Houses of Assembly took some time because of “cleaning up copies to ensure that what you have in the Senate is also what you have from the House of Representatives.”

He said that State Assemblies are expected to turn in their resolutions to the National Assembly in the first quarter of 2018 for further legislative work before transmitting same to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

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He explained that it is expected that the State Assemblies will not find it difficult to come up with their resolutions of the proposed amendments because they were carried along during the amendment process. According to him, “It is not expected that the State Assemblies will unduly delay the transmitted copies, especially when they were carried along at every stage of the constitution amendment process.”

Findings also showed that State Assemblies have been fully sensitised to appreciate the issues at stake and the thinking of Nigerians on all issues slated for amendment. Much energy has been devoted to the constitution amendment proposals which did not scale through the hurdle of the National Assembly.

Talks and comments have comprehensibly centred on such areas as the failure of the National Assembly to approve devolution of powers to states, removal of the Land Use Act from the Constitution, and 35 per cent affirmative action for women.

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The consensus is that the failure of the National Assembly to pass some critical proposals amounted to gross “insensitivity to the aspiration of a greater number of Nigerians.” In all, the National Assembly constitution review committee formulated 33 bills, passed 29 while four were rejected.

The four rejected critical proposals included devolution of powers to states, deletion of Land Use Act from the constitution, state creation and boundary adjustment and 35 per cent affirmative action for women. Also rejected was the recommendation to alter Section 25 of the Constitution to guarantee a married woman’s right to choose either her indigeneship by birth or by marriage for appointment or election.

Any proposal that meets the approval of at least 24 state houses of the assembly will be processed and transmitted to the President for assent.