The Rivers State House of Assembly has approved the fourth alteration number 24 of the 1999 Constitution which outlined the process for the amendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria where the President withheld his assent.
At its 132 Legislative Day of the Eight Assembly (Third Session) on Monday , the Rivers State House of Assembly voted on 15 alterations of the Constitution (Fourth Alteration) Bill 2017 transmitted to it by the National Assembly.
The voting process was presided over by the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani.
The House also approved Fourth Alteration Number 27 which provided for the reduction of age for qualification to contest the position of President, Governor, National and State Assembly Seats in order to accommodate youths in the electoral process.
The Rivers State House of Assembly further voted to approve alteration number 8 which permitted immunity for legislators during sitting and to strengthen the legislative process.
Also approved by the Rivers State House of Assembly was alteration number 28, which specified the period within which the President or State Governor must present an appropriation bill to the legislature for consideration.
Furthermore, the House voted to approve alteration number 4 which conferred financial autonomy on State Assemblies and alteration number 2, which reduced the period that the President or State Governor could spend money before the passage of the next budget from 6 months to 3 months.
However, the Rivers State House of Assembly rejected alteration number 5, which sought to abrogate the Local Government Joint Account and permit local government councils to operate separate accounts and further rejected alteration number 9 which sought to permit INEC sufficient time to conduct bye-election and de-register political parties.
It also rejected alteration number 14 which sought to provide for independent candidates in the course of elections.
In his remarks after the House of Assembly voted on the 15 alterations of the Constitution (Fourth Alteration) Bill 2017 transmitted to it by the National Assembly, Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, urged the National Assembly to revisit the issue of devolution of power, as too much powers were concentrated at the National Assembly.
The Speaker explained that the over concentration of powers at the Federal level was making the country to drift to a unitary system.
Rt. Hon Ibani said that by the voting, the Rivers State House of Assembly has contributed to the process of deepening the nation’s democracy.
He directed the clerk of the Rivers State House of Assembly to immediately transmit the resolution of the House to the National Assembly for necessary action.