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Constitution review: Reps to revisit power devolution in September

Nigerian News Update » Nigerian Newspapers
Punch Newspaper
Like the Senate promised, the House of Representatives said on Tuesday that lawmakers would in September revisit the review of the 1999 Constitution, particularly the controversial rejection of devolution of power to the 36 states.

The Leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed this in Abuja.

The House, which is currently on a seven-week annual vacation, will reconvene on September 19.

Both the Senate and the House had voted against devolution of power on Thursday last week to the dismay of many Nigerians.

But on Tuesday, Gbajabiamila stated that members would revisit the issue in September. He noted that mistakes were made in the lumping of all the items on devolution under one proposal.

The All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Lagos State, added, “Many of us will be asking for the issue of devolution of power to be revisited upon resumption in September.

“The democratic process was played out as it should be during the voting exercise.

However, the process is ongoing and not concluded.

“Under our rules, we do have a mechanism which allows for rescission of a decision when appropriate or when new unknown facts emerge.

“For me, it was a mistake or oversight to have lumped all items for devolution under one umbrella or sub-head titled devolution of powers. There were about nine items including railways, pensions, arbitration, stamp duties, parks and others under the sub-head and members should have voted on each rather than vote in one fell swoop.

“A member may have agreed to certain items for devolution to states and not to others. The way we voted, one would never know how to pass judgment on each item.”

He added, “I believe each item should stand or fall on its own merit. It is important to note that devolution of power is a baby step and the simplest form of reconstruction, not a surgical dismemberment of our country.

“We must feel the pulse of the nation in moments like this.”

Meanwhile, some state governments appeared before the House Committee on Loans/Aid/Debt Management on Tuesday to defend the loans procured from foreign creditors.

The Katsina State Government said it planned to provide 136 health centres in the 34 local governments of the state from the $110m the Islamic Development Bank would offer the state; while the state Commissioner for Health, Mariya Bala Usman, who appeared before the committee, stated that three teaching hospitals and a nursing school would be built from the loan.
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