Senate throws out bill on statutory grant for Lagos
The Senate on Wednesday rejected a Bill seeking statutory grant and recognition of Lagos State for its `strategic socio-economic significance.’
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central), was rejected by most of the lawmakers who argued that it contradicted certain constitutional provisions.
Tinubu had urged her colleagues to support the bill for Lagos to be granted one per cent of revenue from the Federation Account as statutory grant.
“Lagos is of strategic, social economic significance as the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria. Today, Lagos serves as the commercial capital of Nigeria.
“The strategic importance of Lagos State is inherent in several sectors of the economy.’’
She said statistics indicated that six out of 10 international passengers arrived in Lagos while eight out of 10 departed from Lagos.
“Lagos is home to the major ports that served Nigeria. It accounts for over 90 per cent of all maritime exports.
“The state delivers much of the funds and charges that go into the coffers of the Federal Government. It is incontrovertible that Lagos state generates much of Nigeria’s income outside its oil sector.
“According to FIRS report in 2008, 86.2 per cent company income taxes were collected in Lagos, including 56.7 per cent value added tax.
“As a city which caters for the welfare of residents and visitors, Lagos is placed under a huge strain that affects its infrastructure and has welfare implications for residents and transient citizens of other states in Nigeria.
“This grant will be utilised in meeting the public infrastructural need of Lagos state, including rail infrastructure to decongest the roads’’, she added
In the same vein, Sen. Solomon Adeola (APC-Lagos West), drew the attention of his colleagues to the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos.
He said if the grant was approved, it would not only benefit the state but the entire nation.
Sen. Fatima Rasaki, wife of former Lagos administrator representing PDP Ekiti Central, said the bill was overdue adding that the state deserved the grant as a former capital city.
However, many senators voted against the bill, arguing that one state could not be `so favoured’ over other states.
Sen. James Manager said that although he was in support of the bill, it would not be possible to pass it as it contravened certain sections of the constitution.
The argument in support took a complete turn when the Majority Whip, Sen. Olusola Adeyeye spoke on the bill.
Adeyeye said Lagos State deserved 13 per cent like states in the Niger Delta.
He countered Sen. Philip Aduda’s plea that the Federal Capital Territory be considered also for a similar grant.
He further stated that the FCT had enjoyed so much attention from the federal government, describing the territory as a “rotten pampered child.”
His comment irked many senators and generated mild commotion in the chamber until he retracted the comment with the intervention of Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu who presided.
When the question was put, many senators in voice vote, voted against the bill.
In a related dev elopement, the Senate passed for second reading a Bill seeking to protect Nigerians from lynching or extrajudicial killings.
The billed is titled: “A Bill for an Act for the Prohibition of and Protection of Persons from Lynching, Mob Action and Extrajudicial Execution and other Related Offences, 2016.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Dino Melaye, received the nod of the Senate and was referred to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to be returned in four weeks.