Reps’ bill empowering State Assemblies to create LGAs passes second reading

A bill seeking to empower the State Houses of Assembly to create local government areas in their respective domains has scaled through second reading at the House of Representatives.

Titled “A Bill for an Act to Alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to strengthen the Local Government Administration as a Third Tier of Government in Nigeria; and for Related

Matters”, the bill is sponsored by Hon. Oberuakpefe Anthony Afe representing Okpe/ Sapele/ Uvwie federal constituency of Delta State.

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Leading the debate at Wednesday plenary, Afe said the bill if passed into law would strengthen the local government as the third tier of government.

According to him, Section 3(6) of the bill seeks to “give more latitude to state legislatures to determine the number and size of local governments in line with the economic variables and other relevant considerations that will make the focal government structure more relevant to the day to day administration of cities and towns falling within their spheres of influence.”

Afe added that “Section 7(5) of this Bill seeks to concede to some responsibilities to local councils in the area of environmental challenge and development to make local government administration more impactful.

“A template that permits flexibility in the system of local governments is preferred to a regimented system dictated by the center which is difficult to adjust to changing needs and circumstances.”

However the bill encountered opposition from some members such as Hon. Nkem Abonta from Abia State and Solomon Bob from Rivers State.

But when put to a voice vote, the majority of the members supported the bill, making it pass for second reading.

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