CAC No. 160967

Senate transmits 35 Constitution amendment bills to Buhari for assent

The Senate has transmitted 35 of the 44 Constitution amendment bills to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

The lawmakers, on Tuesday, directed the Clerk to the National Assembly to transmit the 35 bills – that have so far met the requirement of the provision of Section 9(2) of the Constitution – to the president for assent.

The 35 bills have been considered by 27 State Houses of Assembly (SHA) and approved by at least 24 state assemblies as required by law.

The state assemblies, however, failed to vote on the two bills that seek financial and legislative autonomy for local governments.

The Senate also urged the Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, and Zamfara assemblies, which have yet to forward their resolutions on the bills, to do so.

The resolution to transmit the 35 bills followed the deliberation on a motion sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo- Agege, and 66 other senators.

Ekiti senator Opeyemi Bamidele, who presented the report, said the 27 states that have forwarded their resolutions on the bills are ~ Abia, Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross-River, Delta, Ebonyi and Edo States.

Others are Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Rivers and Yobe States.

The 35 bills, he said, have satisfied the provisions of Section 9(2) of the Constitution, for passage into law, having been approved by not less than 24 SHAs.

Initial controversy

The National Assembly passed the 44 Constitutional Amendment bills in March 2022 and by October of the same year, Mr Omo-Agege, who chairs the Constitution Review committee, complained that only 11 SHAs considered and voted on the bills.

He said 25 other states had threatened to take no action on the bills unless four more constitution amendment bills are considered and passed by the National Assembly.

The four bills are bills to:

*Establish State Police;

*Establish State Judicial Council;

*Streamline the procedure for removing Presiding Officers of State Houses of Assembly; and,

*Institutionalise Legislative Bureaucracy in the Constitution.

Their demands were contained in a letter from the Conference of Speakers to the National Assembly Joint Committee on Constitutional Review.

Mr Omo-Agege lamented the undue interference with legislative processes by some state governors.

The governors, he said, worked tirelessly to turn the Conference of Speakers and some state assemblies into political puppets.

“This interference has been ramped up, especially in opposition to the Bills granting financial and administrative autonomy to Local Governments,” he complained.

Although over 24 states have now considered the bills – as required by the Constitution – they still rejected the bills seeking legislative and financial autonomy for local governments.

Below is the full list of the bills considered by the 27 states.

1. Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 3 (Change of Names of Afikpo North and Afikpo South LocalGovernment Areas (Ebonyi State); ‘

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

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

4. Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 7 (Correction of the name of Atigbo Local Government Area (Oyo State); . i.

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

6. Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 9 (Financial autonomy of State legislatures and State Judiciary);

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

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

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);

10. Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 22 (Provision for Intervening Events in the Computation of Tine for the Determination of Pre-Election Petitions, Election Petitions and Appeals therefrom); ‘

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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);

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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);

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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