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NASS tasks states Houses of Assembly on Constitution Amendment

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The National Assembly has urged the remaining 25 States Houses of Assembly, who are yet to pass the Constitution amendment bills to do so in the interest of Nigerians.

Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, the Chairman, National Assembly Joint Committee on Constitution Review and Deputy Senate, said this at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

Omo-Agege said that the committee recommended 66 Constitution Alteration Bills for passage by the states, saying however, that only 44 bills were approved.

He said that bills included the local government financial autonomy and the inauguration of senators and lawmakers-elect bill.

Omo-Agege said that six months after the transmission of the bills to states assembly, 25 out of them were yet to vote on the bills.

“It is most disheartening that only states houses of assembly 11 have demonstrated their independence and loyalty to the constitution regarding the 44 bills,” he said.

Omo-Agege listed the states assembly who approved the bills to include Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Lagos, Ogun and Osun.

“These states have successfully considered, voted on and forwarded their resolutions on the 44 bills to the National Assembly.

“More worrisome is that while we are still expecting the receipt of the resolutions of the remaining houses of assembly, we received a letter from the Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly informing the National Assembly that the remaining states will not act on the 44 Bills.

“The letter indicated that they could only approve the bills when the National Assembly passes four new bills they have proposed,” he said.

He said that the new bills sought to amend the Constitution to establish states police; states judicial council, as well as streamlining the procedure for removing of presiding officers of states houses of assembly and the institutionalisation of legislative bureaucracy in the Constitution.

He said that the national assembly was in no way averse to passing bills or memoranda appropriately tabled before it, at any time.

“However, it is legally inappropriate for the conference of speakers to use the four Bills as a quid pro quo (a favour or advantage granted in return for something) to act on the 44 Bills,” he said.

Omo-Agege said that the Bills transmitted to the state assembly were not about members of the National Assembly.

“It transcends our personal and political interests. It is about the people who have graciously given us the temporary privilege to serve them,” he said. (NAN)

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