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Nigeria: Lawmaker Accuses Bauchi Govt of Constitutional Breaches

| July 16, 2013 More

The Governor of Bauchi State, Mallam Isa Yuguda, and the state House of Assembly have been accused of breaching the 1999 Constitution in their attempts to relocate the headquarters of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area in the state.

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on House Services, Hon. Yakubu Dogara (PDP/Bauchi), who made the accusation at a news conference weekend, said the attempt to relocate the headquarters of the local council from Tafawa Balewa town to Bunu was not only a contravention of the constitution but an action designed to cause disaffection among the people of the state.

Dogara, a ranking member of the House of Representatives, urged President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly to prevail on Yuguda and the state assembly to respect the constitution and put a stop to the move in the interest of democracy.

The local government area was created in 1976 with its headquarters in the historic town of Tafawa Balewa, the hometown of Nigeria’s first Prime Minister, the late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

The lawmaker argued that the purported relocation of the council headquarters by the state assembly was ultra vires, as the powers to create councils lie exclusively with the National Assembly.

According to him, the creation, boundary adjustment and relocation of a local government area were on the Exclusive Legislative List and subject to the provisions of Section 8 (5) of the 1999 Constitution. Dogara described the purported foundation laying ceremony of the new local government area secretariat on June 6 in a location not recognised by the constitution as an exercise in futility and a joke carried too far.

“This unconstitutional action of the state assembly and governor has no basis in law, logic and morality. It must be seen in its true light, as very provocative, divisive and a dangerous precedent for our nascent democracy.

“The Bauchi State House of Assembly attempted to pass a law relocating the headquarters of Tafawa Balewa local government area to another village. The bill went through first, second and third reading the same day in breach of the provisions of the Constitution. Realising the folly of their action, the state assembly jettisoned the bill and ridiculously adopted a motion on Febuary 8, 2012 purporting to relocate the headquarters of the local council to Bunu.

“As critical stakeholders, we refrained from commenting on the issues believing that sanity and maturity will prevail in the end.

Unfortunately, our expectation turned out to be misplaced. It is trite knowledge that the state assembly lacks the powers to relocate the headquarters of a local government area it did not create.

“The law creating Tafawa Balewa local council with headquarters in Tafawa Balewa is a federal law which is protected by Section 315 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

It is even more puerile to attempt to amend a law by way of a motion,” he said.

Dogara disclosed that the only female member of the state assembly, Hon. Rifkatu Samson Danna, who tried to caution the assembly against the relocation of the local government headquarters on the grounds that it lacked the constitutional powers to do so, was unconstitutionally suspended indefinitely by her colleagues.

He said the members of the state assembly had failed to understand parliamentary procedures and the constitutional provisions which limit the exercise of their powers.

He dismissed as falsehood the reasons advanced by the governor and the state assembly for the relocation. The Bauchi State Government said that the action was meant to restore peace to the area but Dogara argued that there have been more than 18 documented attacks resulting in loss of lives and property worth millions of naira since the purported relocation of the local council headquarters.

Category: Bauchi State News

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