National Assembly amends constitution granting local governments full autonomy

NIGERIA'S National Assembly has passed an amendment of section 124 of the nation’s constitution granting full financial and administrative autonomy to all the country's 774 local governments areas.


On Tuesday this week, the Senate ratified the amendment, which was one of the 22 others approved by the House of Representatives last week. The section in question provides a consequential provision for the making of the local councils, a full third tier government without undue interference from state governments.


Both chambers had through a conference committee harmonised versions of the amendments into the constitution carried out by each of them last month. With the development, the National Assembly had ratified all the 23 clauses and sections that had been amended by both chambers.


Now, the newly amended document which would be sent to the 36 states houses of assembly, for approval. In addition, the National Assembly also approved the creation of the Office of Auditor General of Local Government as well as the State Local Government Service Commission.


This constitutional amendment  equally deleted provisions for the State Independent Electoral Commission from the constitution, vesting the powers to conduct council elections in the Independent National Electoral Commission. It, however, retained the immunity clause in the constitution for the president and governors by adopting the senate version of the amendments on the issue and rejecting the House of Representatives version which removed the immunity clause.


Furthermore, the National Assembly also made provisions for independent candidacy in future elections in Nigeria by amending sections 65 and 106 of the 1999 constitution. These bills will now be sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for him to sign them into law.