Saturday, June 09, 2018 10.15AM / State House
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday signed four bills related to the Nigerian Constitution’s Alteration 4th Amendment into law.
Significant was the assent to the Constitution Fourth Alteration Bill which grants financial autonomy and independence to the Houses of Assembly of the respective states and to the Judiciary of the respective states
Briefing State House correspondents on Friday, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, said the new law grants financial autonomy and independence to Houses of Assembly and judiciary in the states.
He said: “The funds due to the judiciary are now to be paid directly to the judiciary of those states, no more through the governors.”
“And the funds standing in the credit of the Houses of Assembly in the states are now to be paid directly to the Houses of Assembly of the states for the benefit of the legislators and the management of the Houses of Assembly.”
The Statement By Senator Enang
“I just want to inform you that His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari today assented to the Constitution Fourth Alteration Bill which grants financial authonomy and independence to the Houses of Assembly of the respective states and to the Judiciary of the respective states.
Therefore upon this signature the amounts standing to the credit of the judiciary are to be now be paid directly to the judiciary of those states, no more through the governors and no more from the governors and then the amounts standing to the credit of the Houses of Assembly of the respective states are now to be paid directly to the Houses of Assembly of that state for the benefit of the legislators and the management of the States Houses of Assembly. This grants full autonomy now to the judiciary at the state level and the Houses of Assembly at the state level.
This allows the State Houses of Assembly to operate like the National Assembly does because the National Assembly does not get its budget from the Executive.”
The Four Bills Assented To By The President Effectively Amending The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999
1. Law governing Financial Autonomy of State legislatures described above; known as Constitution amendment number 4.
2. Law governing ascension tenure limits for a vice-president or deputy governor who completes the terms of their principals to seeking reelection only once more; known as Constitution amendment number 16 or Restriction of Tenure of President and Governor . The principle is premised on the “fact that having taken the oath as President once, you can only contest for once again and no more.”
3. Law governing determination of pre-election matters which reduced the date and time of determining pre-election matters; known as Constitution amendment number 21.
4. Law governing the conduct of bye-elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); known as Constitution amendment number 9. INEC will now have sufficient time to conduct bye elections, by increasing the number of days from seven (7) to twenty-one (21) days and generally widened the latitude of the Independent National Electoral Commission to handle election matters upon vacancy occurring.
It is worthwhile to note also that the Reduction of Age for Election Bill was signed to law two weeks ago; known as Constitution amendment number 27 - popularly known as the Not Too Young To Vote Bill.
Other Bills Awaiting Assent
1. Bills No 2 (Authorization of Expenditure in absence of Appropriation);
2. Bills No 8 (The Legislature);
3. Bills No 9 (Political parties and Electoral Matters);
4. Bills No 15 (The Nigeria Police Force);
5. Bills No 20 (Submission from the Judiciary);
6. Bills No 21 (Determination of Pre-Election Matters);
7. Bills No 22 (Consequential Amendment on Civil Defence);
8. Bills No 24 (Procedure for Overriding Presidential Veto in Constitutional Alteration); and
9. Bills No 28 (Time Line for the Presentation of Appropriation Bill) respectively.
Recall that thirty-three (33) bills seeking to alter various provisions of the constitution were presented before the Senate and the House of Representatives in July 2017; of which the Senate approved 29 of the bills with the required two-thirds majority of members, while the House of Representatives also approved 21 of the bills with same majority.
By mid-April 2018, the two chambers approved 17 of the bills without difference and transmitted same to the State Houses of Assembly for their resolution.
Four of the bills were approved with amendment and was committed to a conference committee for further action in line with legislative tradition. It was noted by early last month that thirty-five (35) state Houses of Assembly had forwarded their resolutions on most of the bills.