ABUJA – Barring any unforeseen development in the proposed amendment of the 1999 constitution by the National Assembly, the Police Force as well as generation and transmission of electricity will leave the exclusive legislative list and be part of the concurrent list.
This follows the passage through second reading an amendment bill seeking to liberalise internal security and power generation, among other things, by the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The bill is being sponsored by the Chief Whip of the House, Rep. Tahir Monguno, from Borno State and is titled, “A Bill for An Act to Alter Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Devolve to State Some Items on the Exclusive List, and for Related Matters”.
Leading debate on its general principles during plenary, Monguno said some items such as the police, power generation, public holidays, and mining activities needed to be moved to the Concurrent List to be legislated upon by both the federal and state governments.
Citing the police as an example, Monguno said devolving power would guarantee effective policing of the nooks and crannies of the society.
He said: “Hon. Speaker, Hon. Members, we all know that section 4 of the 1999 constitution empowers the National Assembly to make laws with respect to matters to the exclusion of any other tier of government included in the Exclusive Legislative List. “The 1999 Constitution came into force on May 29, 1999 and since then, series of challenges have been noticed with regards to the exercises of powers vested in the National Assembly, which is seen as concentrating powers in the centre. The concentration has led to agitation for devolution of powers to the states in order to achieve true federalism.
“This bill seeks to devolve some items on the Exclusive Legislative List to the state. The implication, therefore, is that the items will be transferred from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List. In other words, both the National and the state Assemblies can legislate on them.”
Also contributing to the debate, Rotimi Agunsonye and Nkem Abonta from Lagos and Abia states, respectively, spoke in favour of the Bill.
In the absence of any dissenting view, the bill was put to vote and got the support of majority of the members in plenary.