In a bid to avoid resource control of land and development ''in, under and over every territory within jurisdiction of states across the federation, the senate on Wednesday killed the removal of land use act, it also rejected the constitutional alteration bill seeking the devolution of powers that would have moved some items from the bloated exclusive list in the 1999 constitution to concurrent list where more powers is guaranteed to states within the federation
They voted overwhelmingly in favour of bills seeking to reduce executive powers by removing the power of the executive arm of government to make laws, and provided procedures for overriding a presidential veto, in the event the president withholds assent to a legislation.
The devolution of powers bill, which sought to alter the Second Schedule, Part I & II of the constitution, was defeated with 48 no votes. Forty-six senators voted for it, with one abstention.
Bill No. 22 seeking to alter Section 25 of the constitution and guarantee a married woman’s right to choose her indigeneship by either birth or by marriage, for the purpose of appointment or election, was also defeated.The Senate, however, passed the bill on
These were in addition to the passage of bills instituting an annual state of the nation address by the president to the National Assembly, and a bill providing for the appointment of a minister from the Federal Capital Territory.
Other bills passed included those seeking to reduce the age qualification for elective offices (#NotTooYoungtoRun Bill), independent candidacy, and separation of the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation or State from that of the Minister or Commissioner of/for Justice.
Earlier, before the vote on the bill, she had attempted to encourage the lawmakers not to reject it.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, at the end of the voting, said the Senate had made history and laid the foundation for far-reaching reforms for Nigeria’s political, economic and social development.
“We have today, through the amendments, redefined our budget process. We have addressed issues that have held our country down for many years.
“We have also by the amendments shown our commitment to the fight against corruption by providing for the separation and financial autonomy for the Offices of the Accountant General, Auditor General and particularly, the Attorney General.
“By these 29 bills, distinguished senators, I will say that we have laid a new foundation for a new Nigeria that will be more committed, create opportunities for our young people and place us firmly among the nations of the world that are really prepared for the years ahead.
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He explained further that “if you delete the Land Use Act and remove the powers of the federal government over land, it would be easy for the South-south states that have been at the forefront for the control of their oil resources to achieve it”.
“The states would just legislate on the land in their territories and whatever natural resources lies below the ground belongs to them, instead of the federal government.