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…SEEKS FINANCIAL AUTONOMY FOR STATES ASSEMBLY

By NBF News
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State Houses of Assembly were yesterday urged to collaborate with the National Assembly in their quest for financial autonomy in the next attempts to amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who made the appeal during a meeting with the members of the Delta State House of Assembly regretted that the immediate past state assemblies rejected the proposal to make them first line charge.

He lamented that clauses to make the state assemblies enjoy first line charge could not get the statutory support of a two-third majority required from the state Houses of Assembly. Tambuwal said the clause inserted by the National Assembly was borne out of the yearning of Nigerians to have such autonomy for the parliaments, adding that 'it was unfortunate and ironical that that particular amendment was turned down by some of the state assemblies.'

The speaker, who noted that the amendment might be re-introduced in subsequent alteration efforts since it was meant to deepen the roots of democracy, urged the state Houses of Assembly to 'therefore, take steps to accept the request when next we send it.' He also urged state parliaments not to engage their executive arm of government in undue confrontation, noting that the basic function of the legislature was to check and balance the activities of the other arms of government.

'Our role is to check and balance the activities of the other arms so you should not engage in any confrontation so long as they are working within the ambit of the law. 'The understanding is for us to engage ourselves constructively. You may use your oversight function to call them to order,' he said, adding that the state Houses of Assembly should also ensure stability in the parliaments by avoiding unconstitutional means of leadership changes as experienced in the past.'

Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Mr. Victor Onyekachi Ochei had earlier explained that he and his colleagues were in Abuja for an induction programme and urged the speaker to carry along members of the House, irrespective of party or ethnic affiliation.

Ochei called for the alteration of the exclusive legislative list of the Constitution as amended to offer states opportunity to make input to laws being made by the National Assembly on matters that they hitherto, had no powers to legislate on.