Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed for second reading a bill seeking to devolve some items in the exclusive list to states.
The bill sponsored by the Chief Whip, Mohammed Monguno, is seeking to alter Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to enable states legislate on police, solid mineral, electricity, prisons, public holidays and labour.
Monguno, in his lead debate, said since the 1999 Constitution became operational, there have been challenges regarding the concentration of many items in the exclusive legislative list.
He explained that if the bill is passed both the national and state assemblies can legislate on issues like policing, prisons, mining among others.
The lawmaker, while stating that the devolution of power to states is long overdue, stated that the move will trigger off development in the country and address the quest for true federalism.
In his contribution, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, said ordinarily federal government should not have business with some of the items in the exclusive list.
“What is the business of federal government with some of these items? Until we unbundle the centre, Nigeria will remain stagnant. We are saying the centre is overloaded with a lot and they cannot move. We need to reduce the centre so they can move,” he stated.
Kuye Ali noted that the bill “goes to the very heart of all agitations in this country.”