National Assembly Approves Local Government Autonomy, Independent Candidacy

The National Assembly on Tuesday approved autonomous status for all the 774 local government areas in the country by amending Section 124 of the 199 constitution.

The amended section will now make all the councils a full third tier of the government and also give them the leverage to perform their statutory functions without interference from state governments.

The Senate at its proceedings approved a number of provisions adopted by the conference committee made up of lawmakers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution.

The conference committee also approved and endorsed the provision for immunity to cover every written and verbal statement made by legislators in the course of performing their legislative functions.

The National Assembly also made provisions for independent candidacy in future elections by amending sections 65 and 106 of the Constitution.

It, however, retained the immunity clause in the constitution for the President, governors and their deputies which the House had earlier removed.

The inability of the Senate to form a quorum last week Wednesday hindered its consideration of the report of the conference committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution.

At the resumption of plenary on Tuesday, the situation was resolved, making the way for the approval of the committee’s report.

The amendment empowers the National Assembly and the state assembly to prescribe civil or criminal sanctions‎ for failure or neglect to obey summons issued to anyone by the National Assembly.

The federal lawmakers further amended Section 9 of the Constitution by removing the need for presidential assent in constitutional amendment exercise while sections 174 and 211 were also amended to establish the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Attorney – General of a state respectively as different from Minister of Justice and Commissioner for Justice.




     

     

    The lawmakers also provide that a court or tribunal shall not stay any proceedings on account of any interlocutor’s appeal; and that where a “force majeure occurs, the period shall not be counted in the computation of the 180 days for the purpose of determining election petitions.

    The amendment of Section 225 of the Constitution vested in the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the power to de-register political parties for breach of registration requirements and failure to either win a presidential, governorship, local government chairmanship or a seat in the National or State Assembly.

    The Senate President, David Mark, said that the constitutional amendment process would now enter a next phase.

    He, therefore, directed that the report should be sent to all the 36 states of the federation immediately, while the state assemblies deliberate to determine which of the provisions would be adopted and which would be thrown out.

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