Constitution Amendment: Senate Okays Life Pension for National Assembly Members, Rejects Local Government Autonomy, 6 year single term

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The Senate yesterday took Nigerians by surprise when it rejected autonomy for local governments in the country.

Prior to this action by the Senate, the House of Representatives had assured on autonomy for local governments. Meanwhile yesterday  58 Senate members voted for, a number which fell short of the required 73 needed to pass; with 38 rejecting and 2 abstaining.
Other proposal that suffered rejection during Tuesday’s voting was the six year single term for the President, Governors and their Deputies, where 86 Senators yesterday voted against the proposal, 14 in support while one senator abstained.
For the separation of the Office of the Attorney General of the State from the Office of the Commissioner for Justice, Empowering the Attorney General of the State to direct investigations in certain cases, and Removing the word “Force” from the Nigeria Police Force all failed.
The move compelling the President came in an alteration of section 58, and addition of a new subsection “5A” which states that: “where the President neither signifies that he assents or that he withholds assent, the bill shall at the expiration of thirty days become law.”Also, in a bid to strengthen the legislative arm of government at the state level and ensuring timely passage of laws, the Senate made an alteration to section 100 of the 1999 constitution by inserting a new subsection “5A” that says: “where the Governor neither signifies that he assents or that he withholds assent, the bill shall at the expiration of thirty days become law.”
On remuneration for the leadership of the National Assembly which was thrown out by the House of the Representatives, the Senate differed with the lower chamber when it approved the recommendation of the committee that proposed life pension for National Assembly members.
The passage came with the alteration of section 84, and addition to the existing subsection (5) and a new subsection “(5A)” that says: “Any person who has held office as President or Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall be entitled to pension for life at any rate equivalent to the annual salary of the incumbent President of the Senate, Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.”
The Senate also passed the recommendation of the committee on the procedure for drafting an entirely new constitution as proposed in clause 2 of the amended 1999 constitution.The clause which is an alteration of section 9 of the Principal Act was re-drafted by inserting new subsections “(3A)”.The amended subsection (3A) provides that “for the purpose of altering the provisions of this constitution, the assent of the President shall not be required.
In the same vein, each State will now have its own labour union which tactically weakens the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) as the nation umbrella of all labour unions in Nigeria.
The States Houses of Assembly have also been put on the first line charge funding from the consolidated revenue fund thereby granting them financial autonomy.
However, the proposal to allow states establish and own prisons was rejected. However, states were disallowed from constructing, owning maintaining and administer.
In the same vein, attempt to remove the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the Land Use Act from the constitution was overwhelmingly rejected. States Houses of Assemblies have also been allowed to legislate on road safety and stamp duties.
Speaking after the votes were concluded, Senate President David Mark said the upper legislative chamber was done with the constitution amendment and will set up a conference committee that will meet with that of the House of Representatives to harmonize possible areas of differences

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