The Senate had received a 33-item report on the fourth review of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria on Tuesday.
Wednesday, July 26, therefore, the Senate considered and voted for the passing of some of the bills in the report which includes immunity for lawmakers, financial autonomy for state legislature among others.
97 Senators were present at plenary for the constitutional review and a voting process was used to consider the bills.
Bill No. 1 – To allow former lawmakers be Members of the Council of States, 95 senators voted yes – Amends the Third Schedule to include former Presidents of the Senate and Speakers of the House of Representatives in the composition of the Council of State.
Bill No. 2 – For authorization of expenditure, 93 voted in support – Alters sections 82 and 122 of the Constitution to reduce the period within which the President or Governor of a state may authorise the withdrawal of monies from the consolidated revenue fund in the absence of an appropriation act from 6 months to 3 months.
Bill No. 3 – 90 Senators voted in support of devolution of power to the states, however, fails to review the country’s revenuw sharing formular – Alters the Second Schedule, Part I & II to move certain items to the Concurrent Legislative List to give more legislative powers to States. It also delineates the extent to which the federal legislature and state assemblies can legislate on the items that have been moved to the Concurrent Legislative List.
Bill No. 4 – For financial autonomy of state legislature, 90 Senators voted yes – provides for the funding of the Houses of Assembly of States directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State.
Bill No. 5 – 84 Senators voted yes to grant distributable account for local government’s to have their own special accounts – alters section 162 of the Constitution to abrogate the State Joint Local Government Accounts and empower each Local Government Council to maintain its own special account into which all allocations due to the Local Government Council shall be directly paid from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State and also to make provisions for savings in the Federation Account before distribution to other levels of Government.
Bill No. 6 – 88 of the members of the Red Chambers voted yes in support of Democratic Existence funding and tenure of local government council – The alterations here are aimed at strengthening local government administration in Nigeria by guaranteeing the democratic existence, funding, and tenure of local government councils.
Bill No. 7 – In terms of State creation and boundary adjustment, iit almost went into a tie as 47 voted yes, while 48 voted no. In other words, the bill was dropped – This essentially seeks to alter section 8 of the Constitution to ensure that only democratically elected local government councils participate in the process of State creation and boundary adjustment. It also removed ambiguities in the extant provisions to enhance clarity with respect to the procedure for state creation.
Bill No. 8 – One of the most outstading bills – immunity for legislators for Acts in course of Duty, 93 Senators voted yes – Alters sections 4, 51, 67, 68, 93 and 109 of the Constitution to provide immunity for members of the legislature in respect of words spoken or written at plenary sessions or at Committee proceedings; institutionalize legislative bureaucracy in the Constitution like the Civil Service Commission in the executive and the Judicial Service Commission in the judiciary; and, obligate the President to attend a joint meeting of the National Assembly once a year to deliver a state of the nation address.
Bill No. 9 – In the case of political parties and electoral, including the time to conduct by-elections and power to deregister parties, 90 senatos voted yes – Alters section 134 & 179 to provide sufficient time for INEC to conduct by-elections; and section 225 to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to de-register political parties for non-fulfillment of certain conditions such as breach of registration requirements and failure to secure/win either a Presidential, Governorship, Local Government chairmanship or a seat in the National or State Assembly or a Councillorship.
Bill No. 10 – 95 Senators voted yes in the case of Presidential assent of bills – Alters sections 58, 59 and 100 to resolve the impasse where the President or Governor neglects to signify his/her assent to a bill from the National Assembly or withhold such assent. This is to enable timely passage of laws for good governance.
Bill No. 11 – 75 Senators voted yes in support of submission of names ministerial nominees, 78 voted yes in the case of submission of their portfolios, 84 votes also for state commissioners, 87 for their portfolios; 49 voted in support of 35% affirmative action for women as ministers – alters the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to set a timeframe within which the President or a Governor shall forward to the Senate or State House of Assembly names of nominees for confirmation as Ministers or Commissioners; provide for attachment of portfolio and thirty-five percent affirmative action for women.
Bill No. 12 – 77 senators voted yes in support fo the bill for the appointment of minister from the FCT – Alters 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.
Bill No. 13 – For change of names of some local government councils: Ebonyi, Oyo, Ogun, Plateau and Rivers, 84 Senatoes voted yes – Alters the Constitution to provide for change in the names of some Local Government Councils and the definition of the boundary of the FCT, Abuja.
Bill No. 14 – In the case of independent candidacy, 82 Senators voted in support – Alters 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.
Bill No. 15 – 87 voted in support of the change of name for the Police – Alters 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.
Bill No. 16 – 88 supported the bill seeking to restrict the tenure of a President or a Governor – This Bill restricts a person who was sworn-in as President or Governor to complete the term of the elected President from contesting for the same office for more than one term.
Bill No. 17 – For the separation of the Office of the Accountant-General, 89 voted yes – Alters 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.
BIll No. 18 – 95 voted yes so that the office of the Auditor-General will be included in first line chat of consolidated revenue – Alters the constitution 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.
Bill No. 19 – For separation of office of the Attorney-General from the Minister/Commissioner of Justice, 95 voted yes – Alters 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 so as 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.
Bill No. 20 – For submissions form the Judiciary to ensure speedy delivery of justice, 95 voted yes – 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.
Bill No. 21 – For determination of pre-election matters, 97 voted yes in support – This Bill seeks to among other things make provisions for timelines for the determination of pre-election disputes.
Bill No. 22 – On the bill for Civil Defence, 97 voted yes – This Bill reflects 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.
Bill No. 23 – 97 voted yes in the case of citienship in line with indigenship – Alters 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.
Bill No. 24 – 87 voted yes in the case of procedure for overriding presidential veto in constitutional alteration – This Bill among other things provide the procedure for passing a Constitution Alteration Bill where the President withholds assent. In a revote, 92 voted yes.
Bill No. 25 – 89 voted yes for removal of the law-making powers of the Executive from the Constitution – Alters section 315 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to remove the law-making powers of the Executive Arm of Government.
Bill No. 26 – for Investments and Securities Tribunal, 76 voted yes – This bill establishes the Investments and Securities Tribunal under the Constitution.
Bill No. 27 – 86 supported a reduction of age for election – Alters 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.
Bill No. 28 – for authorisation of expenditure time frame for laying appropriation bill, passage and so on , 94 voted in support – This Bill provides 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.
Bill No. 29 – for deletion of the NYSC Decree from the Constitution, 88 voted in support – Alters the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to delete the National Youth Service Corps Decree from the Constitution so that it can be subject to the regular process of amendment.
Bill No. 30 – 90 voted yes in support of deletion of Public Complaints Commission Act from the Constitution – Alters the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to delete the Public Complaints Commission Act from the Constitution so that it can be subject to the regular process of amendment.
Bill No. 31 – 92 voted yes so National Security Agencies will be deleted from the Constitution – Alters the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to delete the National Securities Act from the Constitution so that it can be subject to the regular process of amendment.
Bill No. 32 – 46 voted yes in support of the deletion of Land Use Act from the Constitution – Alters the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to delete the Land Use Act from the Constitution so that it can be subject to the regular process of amendment.
Bill No. 33 – 73 voted yes in support that INEC be deleted from the 1999 Constitution.