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Constitutional Amendment: DTHA votes autonomy for Houses of Assembly

By Festus Ahon

ASABA—IN line with the requirements of the ongoing constitution amendment by the nation’s upper legislative arm, the Delta State House of Assembly, has adopted 12 of the 15 alterations transmitted to it by the National Assembly.

Delta State House of Assembly

The state lawmakers at plenary, presided over by the Speaker, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori among others, unanimously gave the nod to financial autonomy for states Houses of Assembly and also adopted the immunity clause for legislators in respect of words spoken or written during plenary or committee sittings.

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 was 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 July  26 and 27,  2017 in the Senate and House of Representatives respectively, noting 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, Chief 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, Mr 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 go into Committee of the whole to enable it consider the proposed amendments in line with lawmaking processs and same was adopted.

Also adopted, were Section 8 which deals with immunity for legislators in the course of duty, section 9 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.

At the Committee of the whole, the Speaker, Chief  Oborevwori, stated that voting would not be by voice but by tellers and appointed two staff of the Assembly to take the counts as members, who must raise their hands to vote for, against or abstain, 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 six months to three months and Section 4 that provides for the funding of state Houses of Assembly directly from the consolidated account, was unanimously adopted.

Also adopted, were Section 8 which deals with immunity for legislators in the course of duty, section 9 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 favour 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, among other alterations passed.

 


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