The two arms of the National Assembly, Senate and the House of Representatives, said yesterday that only 11 states of the federation have voted on constitutional amendment bills transmitted to them six months ago.
Deputy Senate President and Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee, Senate Ovie Omo-Agege, who disclosed this at a briefing in Abuja yesterday, said 25 states had not demonstrated any commitment to consider and vote on some of the 44 bills.
He listed the 11 states to include Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Lagos, Ogun and Osun.
According to him, the 25 states yet to act on the bills are requesting the National Assembly to include establishment of state police , state judicial council, streamlining of procedures for removing presiding officers of State Houses of Assembly and institutionalization of legislative bureaucracy in the constitution.
Omo- Agege, who described the situation at hand as most disheartening, coming six months after the 44 bills were sent to states for consideration, alleged that refusal of the 25 State Assemblies to consider the bills was a case of hand of Esau and voice of Jacob .
He accused governors of truncating a democratic process, adding that governors of the affected 25 states were behind actions taken by their respective state assemblies as a way of frustrating effort at giving financial and administrative autonomy to local government councils across the country .
Omo- Agege said: ” Six months after transmitting 44 bills to State Assemblies for concurrence, it is most disheartening to inform you that only 11 State Houses of Assembly have demonstrated their independence and loyalty to the constitution regarding the bills.
“25 State Houses of Assembly have yet to consider and vote on these bills. So far, only Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Lagos, Ogun and Osun States have successfully considered, voted on, and forwarded their resolutions on the 44 bills to the National Assembly.
“More worrisome is that while we are still expecting the receipt of the resolutions of the remaining Houses of Assembly, we received a letter from the Conference of Speakers of State Assemblies informing the National Assembly that the remaining states will not act on the 44 bills unless the National Assembly passes four new bills they have proposed in the letter.
“The bills they propose seek to amend the Constitution to:establish state police; establish state judicial council; streamline the procedure for removing presiding officers of State Houses of Assembly; and nstitutionalize legislative bureaucracy in the constitution.
“The National Assembly is in no way averse to acting on any proposed bill or memoranda appropriately tabled before it, at any time in its life.
“However, it is legally inappropriate for the conference of speakers to use the four bills as a quid pro quo to act on the 44 bills the National Assembly transmitted. It is clear, and we cannot overstate that this letter is not in keeping with the obligation the constitution has placed on them regarding the constitutional amendment.
“It is disheartening that some State Houses of Assembly, through the conference of speakers, would give the National Assembly conditions before fulfilling their constitutional obligations.”