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Constitution Amendment: Delta Assembly Adopts 12 Alterations, Defers Resolutions on 3

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In line with the requirements of the on going constitution amendment by the Nation’s Upper Legislative Houses, the Delta State House of Assembly, Thursday adopted 12 of the 15 alterations transmitted to it by the National Assembly.

The Lawmakers at plenary, presided over by the Speaker, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori among others unanimously gave nod to financial autonomy for States Houses of Assembly as well as adopted the immunity clause for legislators in respect to words spoken or written during plenary or committee sittings.

Rt Hon Oborevwori had upon resumption of plenary announced the receipt of the Fourth Alteration Bill 2017, signed by the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Lori and informed members that what was before them is to reach a resolution on alterations in sections 2,4,5,6,8,9,14,15,16,20,21, 22,24,27 and 28.

According to the letter, the bill was passed on 26 and 27 July, 2017 in the Senate and House of Representatives respectively, stressing that the transmission of the bill to states houses of Assembly was in line with section 9, sub section 2 of the 1999 constitution.

The Majority Leader, Hon Tim Owhefere in a motion moved for the House to receive the bill for further consideration upon which the Chairman, House Committee on Rules, Business, and Judicial Matters, Hon Rueben Izeze suggested that the bill be considered immediately in view of its exigency.

The Majority Leader in another motion moved for the House to resolve into Committee of Whole to enable it consider the proposed amendments in line with lawmaking process and was adopted.

At the Committee of Whole, the Chairman, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori stated that voting would not be by voice vote but by tellers and appointed two staff of the Assembly to take the counts as members raised their hands to vote for, against or abstain in voting, while he takes the records, announce results and then rule.

Alteration 2 which seeks to give powers to the President or Governor to authorize the withdrawal of money from consolidated funds from 6 months to 3 months and Section 4 that provides for the funding of State Houses of Assembly directly from the consolidated account, were unanimously adopted.

Also adopted, were Section eight which deals with immunity for legislators in the course of duty, Section nine that provides the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC sufficient time to conduct by – elections and to provide grounds for the registration of political parties as well as Section 14 which provides for independent candidature in elections.

The Lawmakers also voted in favor of Alteration 15 which seeks to change the name, “Nigerian Police Force to Nigeria Police to reflect their core mandate of providing civil services, Section 16 that seeks to disqualify a person who was sworn in as President or governor to complete a term of the elected President or Governor, from being elected into the same office for more than one term and Section 20 which seeks to strengthen the judiciary for speedy dispensation of justice and other related matters.

Section 21 that provides time for determination of pre-election matters and Section 24 which centered on the procedure for passing the constitution alteration bill where the President withhold assent, as well as Section 27 that reduces the age for qualification for office of President, membership of the House of Representative and State Houses of Assembly and Section 28 that specify the period within which the President or Governor presents the Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly or State Houses of Assembly, were also affirmed by the House during the voting process.

The House however in its wisdom deferred further consideration on three Alterations of the bill to allow it more time for more information on the subject matters before coming up with resolutions on them.

The deferred alterations include Sections 5, which provides for local government fiscal autonomy; Section 6 that seeks to strengthen local government administration in Nigeria and section 22 which deals with the establishment and function of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps and the need to include it in the exclusive list.

The House stressed that the need to strengthen local government administration in Nigeria, calls for more caution in taking decisions on matters in that regard.

It also noted that the agitation for State Policing made it to defer the resolution on the establishment of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps and placing it in the exclusive list to allow for more consultations.

The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori commended members for their diligence and commitment to duties, stating that the Delta State House of Assembly had again made history as one of the first Houses of Assembly to go this far in the process of the constitution amendment of the Feder[truncated by WhatsApp]

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