Reps mull resource control, special status for Lagos, Kano, Port’Harcourt
If passed, the bill, which was sponsored by the Minority Leader Leo Ogor, would be incorporated into the 1999 Constitution as amended.Another bill, which seeks to grant special economic considerations to states with a population of over 10 million, has also passed the second reading.
The plenary session for their consideration was presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.The bill is titled: “ An Act to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to vest the control of the revenues derived from minerals, mineral oils, natural gas in, under or upon any land in the states of the federation and for other related matters.”
Leading the debate on its general principles, Ogor said the bill would boost the Federal Government’s efforts to diversify the economy.He said under the plan, states would be empowered to focus on areas where they have comparative advantage.
Ogor added that states that are endowed with natural resources would depend less on the monthly allocation from the Federal Government.According to him: “We are confronted with a situation where states go cap in hand every month to Abuja for the federal allocation. When states are allowed to develop the resources in their areas, it would lead to specialisation, as the exclusive legislative list is already over-crowded.”
Also contributing, Fredrick Agbedi said the initiative was long overdue, adding that it would help in pulling the nation out of recession.The speaker referred the matter to a special ad-hoc committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution after Sadiq Ibrahim (APC, Adawawa) raised a point of order that the matter be debated until it satisfies the constitution amendment committee.