Jul 27, 2017

Constitutional Review - Bills passed by the House of Representatives on 27/7/2017

The Nigerian House of Representatives on 27th July, 2017, in a plenary session, with 97 Senators in attendance, deliberated over Bills seeking to amend the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic. The Clauses include;

1.     Bill on Members of the Council of States
Bill on the composition of members of the council of state

Yes - 274 No - 6 Abstain – 2

2.     Authorization of expenditure (Section 62 and 182) 
Bill to reduce the period of which the Governor of a State may withdraw funds from the consolidated revenue funds in the absence of an appropriation act from 6 months to 3 months.

Yes: 295 No: 0 Abstain: 0

3.     Devolution of Power
Bill to amend 2nd schedule, part 1 and 2 of the 1999 Constitution to give more legislative powers to state by moving some items to the Concurrent List in the Constitution.

Yes: 210 No: 71 Abstain: 8

4.     Financial Autonomy of State Legislature
Bill to provide for funding of Houses of Assemblies directly from the consolidated revenue of the State.

Yes: 286 No: 10 Abstain: 1

5.     Distributable account for LG's to have their own special account
Bill to alter Section 162 to empower each local council to maintain its own accounts into which all allocations due to the local government council shall be paid directly from the federation account and state allocations.

Yes: 281 No: 12 Abstain: 1

6.     Democratic Existence funding and tenure of LG council
Bill aims at strengthening local government administration in Nigeria by guaranteeing the democratic existence and funding of local government councils.

Yes: 285 No: 7 Abstain: 1

7.     State creation and boundary adjustment
Bill seeks to ensure that only democratically created local government councils can participate in state creation and boundary adjustments. 

Yes: 166 No: 125 Abstain: 3

8.     Immunity for legislators for Acts in Course of Duty
This is a Bill to alter section 4, 51, 61, 68,93 and 109 of the constitution, to provide immunity for members of legislature in respect of words spoken or written in plenary. This means that no member of the Senate can be legally prosecuted for words and writings made during a plenary session or in committee. And to institutionalize legislative bureaucracy in the constitution and obligate the president to address the joint national assembly once a year to give a state of the nation address.

Yes: 288 No: 10 Abstain: 1

9.     Political Parties and Electoral Matters: Time to conduct Bye Elections and Power to deregister parties.
Bill seeks to alter Section 134 and 179 of the Constitution to provide time for INEC to conduct bye elections and Section 225 to empower INEC to deregister political parties for non-fulfillment of certain conditions such as a breach of registration requirements and for not winning any seat in any election.

Yes: 293 No: 2 Abstain: 1

10.    Presidential Assent
This Bill seeks to alter Section 58, 59 and 100 of the Constitution to resolve the impasse when a President or Government fails to give or withdraw accent from a Bill passed by the Legislature.

Yes: 248 No: 28 Abstain: 4

11. Time frame for submission of names of ministerial or commissioner nominees. To set a time frame within which a president or governor shall forward names of nominees for ministerial or commissioner positions along with their intended portfolios.

Nomination shall be between 30 days after President has taken oath of office.

Yes: 248 No: 46 Abstain: 1

12. The Bill seeks to alter section 147 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to provide for the appointment of a Minister from the FCT, Abuja to ensure that the FCT is represented in the Executive Council of the Federation.

Yes: 191 No: 91 Abstain: 3

13. Change of names of some LG councils: Ebonyi, Oyo, Ogun, Pleateau and Rivers.
This Bill seeks to alter the Constitution to provide for change in the names of some Local Government Councils and the definition of the boundary of the FCT, Abuja.

Yes: 220 No: 57 Abstain: 8

14.   Independent Candidacy
This seeks to alter sections 65, 106, 131, and 177 of the Constitution. This is aimed at expanding the political space and broadening the options for the electorate by allowing for independent candidacy in all elections.

Yes: 275 No: 14 Abstain: 1

15.    The Nigeria Police Force to become Nigerian Police
This Bill seeks to alter the Constitution in sections 34, 35, 39, 214, 215, 216 and the Third Schedule to change the name of the Police from “Nigeria Police Force” to “Nigeria Police” in order to reflect their core mandate.

Yes: 280 No: 9 Abstain: 4

16.  Restriction of the tenure of President and Governor
The Bill sought that any vice president who had completed a tenure of a sitting president and contested a fresh four years mandate shall not be eligible to run for a second term of office.

Yes: 292 No: 3 Abstain: 3

17.    Separation of Office of the Accountant-General
This Bill seeks to alter section 84 of the Constitution to establish the office of the Accountant-General of the Federal Government separate from office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

Yes: 274 No: 23 Abstain:2

18. Office of Auditor General to be included in first line chat of consolidated revenue.
This Bill seeks to make the office of the Auditor-General for the Federation and for the State financially independent by placing them on first-line charges in the Consolidated Revenue funds of the Federation and of the States.

Yes: 289 No: 11

19.Separation of Office of the Attorney General from the Minister/Commissioner of Justice
This Bill seeks to alter sections 150, 174, 195, 211, 318 and the Third Schedule to the Constitution to separate the office of the Minister or Commissioner for Justice from that of the Attorney-General of the Federation and of states soas to create an independent office of the Attorney-General of the Federation insulated from partisanship. It also seeks to redefine the role of the Attorney-General, provide a fixed tenure, provide the age and qualification for appointment and also for a more stringent process for the removal of the Attorney General.

Yes: 234 No: 58 Abstain: 3

20.    Submissions from the Judiciary
This bill contains a vast array of alterations with regards to the Judiciary such as the composition of the National Judicial Council, and empowering Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal to hear certain applications in chambers thereby enhancing the speedy dispensation of justice.

Yes: 265 No: 6 Abstain: 7

21.  Determination of pre-election matters.
This Bill seeks to among other things make provisions for timelines for the determination of pre-election disputes.

Yes: 288 No: 3 Abstain: 1

22.   Consequential Amendment on Civil Defence
This Bill seeks to reflect the establishment and core functions of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. It is a consequential amendment because of the inclusion of the national security and civil defence as an item in the Exclusive Legislative List under the Second Schedule to the Constitution.

Yes: 293 No: 2 Abstain: 1

23.     Citizenship and indigeneship
This Bills seeks to alter section 25 of the Constitution to guarantee a married woman’s right to choosing either her indigeneship by birth or by marriage for the purposes of appointment or election.

Yes: 208 No: 78 Abstain: 2

24. Procedure for Overriding Presidential Veto in Constitutional Alteration
This Bill seeks to among other things provide the procedure for passing a Constitution Alteration Bill where the President withholds assent.

Yes: 271 No: 20 Abstain: 0

25.Removal of law making power from Executive Arm.
This Bill seeks to alter section 315 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to remove the law-making powers of the Executive Arm of Government.

Yes: 139 No: 148 Abstain: 4

26.  Investment and Securities Tribunal
This bill seeks to establish the Investments and Securities Tribunal under the Constitution.

Yes: 270 No: 12 Abstain: 2

27.   Reduction of Age for Election
This Bill seeks to alter the Sections 65, 106, 131, 177 of the Constitution to reduce the age qualification for the offices of the President and Governor and membership of the Senate, House of Representatives, and the State Houses of Assembly.

Yes: 261 No: 23 Abstain: 2

28.Authorization of expenditure time frame for laying Appropriation bill, Passage etc
This Bill seeks to provide for the time within which the President or Governor shall lay the Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly or House of Assembly to encourage the early presentation and passage of Appropriation Bills.

Yes: 252 No: 7 Abstain:2

29.  Deletion of State Electoral Commission from CFRN

Yes: 229 No: 51 Abstain: 1

30. Inclusion of Section 141 of the Electoral Act in the Constitution.

Yes: 241 No: 16 Abstain: 1

In total, there were 33 proposed amendments, 30 were adopted and 3 were rejected.

Adedunmade Onibokun, Esq.

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