Jacob Segun Olatunji And Kolawole Daniel-Abuja
The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, adopted the harmonised conference report on a Bill for an Act, to further alter the 1999 constitution, and rejected the amendment of section 9 to allow for a referendum in determining the fate of the National Conference recommendations.
Both Houses of the National Assembly had passed separate versions of the amendments, necessitating the constitution of a joint conference committee to harmonise the differentials, report of which was laid on Tuesday, by the Deputy Speaker, Honourable Emeka Ihedioha, who chaired the House ad-hoc committee on constitution review.
Voting to adopt the conference report, 261 of the 360-members participated in the process, out of which 252 voted in support, eight voted against, while one member abstained.
While declaring the results, Speaker of the House, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, who presided over the process stated that “in view of this, we have met the constitutional requirement of at least 240 members for the passage of the report. I therefore congratulate all of you.”
In line with the Constitution, two-third majority of members must vote in support of the report for the amendments to be deemed passed, and consequently, the report will be forwarded to the 36 States Houses of Assembly for their Concurrence.
The 71 amendments approved by the House bother on: legislative immunity, local government autonomy, state creation, indigene ship and citizenship, independent candidacy in elections, budgetary process, life pension for National Assembly heads, role for traditional rulers, amongst others.
An alteration of Section 7, amongst other stops revenue allocation from the federation account to local governments that are not democratically elected. Local government administrations also stand dissolved at the expiration of four years, commencing from the date the members of Council were sworn in.
Altered Section 59, read, “Within seven days, the President of the Senate shall convene a joint sitting of the National Assembly to reconsider the Bill and if passed by two-thirds majority of members of both houses at such joint sitting, the Bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required,” the alteration reads.
The House also approved independent candidacy in elections in Nigeria. A new amendment makes it mandatory for the president to address a joint meeting of the National Assembly, once a year.
The offices of the Auditor-General of the Federation, Nigerian Police, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, National Security Agencies have now been place on a first line charge from Nigeria’s Consolidated Revenue Account.
House members equally approved life pension for the President or Deputy President of Senate and Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. Payment of the life pension is provided that he/she was not impeached from office.