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CROSS RIVER ASSEMBLY REJECTS FINANCIAL AUTONOMY FOR LEGISLATURE

By NBF News

Cross River State House of Assembly has concluded deliberation on the amendments to the 1999 Constitution proposed by the National Assembly by unanimously rejecting 14 sections of the bill.

The National Assembly had recommended among others that the legislature and judiciary at all levels should be financially autonomous. The lawmakers during the plenary session in Calabar rejected Section 121, which recommends financial autonomy for judicial and legislative arms of government as well as Section 65, which seeks to raise the bar of educational qualification for political office holders from school certificate to diploma.

Other sections rejected by the Assembly to the chagrin of the workers, who had expected the legislators to use the opportunity to effect some changes in the interest of democracy, included sections 66, 68, 81, 131, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227 and 138.

However, the legislators approved 29 sections of the amendment as proposed by the National Assembly when the Speaker, Hon. Francis Adah, put it to vote. Some of the sections accepted included Section 190, which provides for governors to inform their state houses of assembly that their deputy shall perform the duties of the governor whenever he is on leave or unable to discharge his official functions.

Speaking while moving the motion for the resolution of the Assembly to alter the provision of the 1999 Constitution, the  former Deputy Speaker, Mr. Orok Duke, said the exercise has enabled them make input into the Constitution amendment process. Duke, representing Calabar South I State Constituency, called on the legislators to cooperate with the National Assembly in the task of amending the Constitution.

Speaking with journalists, the Deputy Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, stated unequivocally that it would be bad if state legislators don't have the courage to stand for the independence of the legislature, stressing that the legislature at every level must be independent in terms of finance and everything as that was the only way to get the best from them.