Buhari assents to bill allowing states to generate, transmit, distribute electricity

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President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to 16 constitutional alterations seeking to amend various parts of the 1999 Constitution.

The joint senate and house of representatives’ special ad hoc committee on the review of the 1999 constitution disclosed this on Friday.

The deputy speaker of the house of representatives and chairman, house committee on constitution review, Mr. Idris Wase, said in a statement yesterday (Friday) that the bills signed into law by the president included those devolving powers from the federal government to the states as some items were moved from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list in the constitution.

Two outstanding features of the bills are those seeking 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” as well as the legislation that “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.”

The other power devolution bills that passed legislative requirements included those on airports and prisons as well as biometric and criminal records.

While the president signed the bills seeking to grant state legislature and judiciary autonomy, majority of the state Houses of Assembly opposed independence for local governments.

Wase noted: “Essentially four of the bills deal with devolution of powers/promoting true federalism. And also strengthening of State Houses of Assembly and Judiciary,” Wase said.

He commended the president for giving assent to the bills, which according to him will devolve more power to states.

Below is the full list of 16 constitution alteration bills the president 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.

Recall that the national assembly in January transmitted 35 constitution alteration bills passed by the state houses of assembly, out of the 44 bills sent to them.

To amend a clause in the constitution (two-thirds or four-fifth) majority of each of the senate and the house need to approve the amendment after which it will be transmitted to the state houses of assembly, where two-thirds or 24 out of the 36 of them have to concur.

Out of the 36 states, 27 houses of assembly – Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun Rivers and Yobe – forwarded their resolutions on the bills.

The houses of assembly in Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara states made no submissions.

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