George Okoh in Makurdi
The desire by many Nigerians to see autonomy granted to local government administration gained grounds wednesday as the Benue State House of Assembly passed the bill to grant autonomy to local governments.
The assembly took the decision while deliberating on the constitution and at the same time voted against independent candidature bill.
In passing the bill, the assembly called for the abolition of joint accounts of local and state government.
Meanwhile, the bill for alteration to effect the core functions of civil defence corps was stepped down for wider consultation before definite action is taken on it.
Fifteen proposed alteration bills were presented for consideration by the committee of the whole which was chaired by its Chairman, Hon. Terkimba Ikyange.
While deliberating on the independent candidature bill, the assembly could not arrive at a unanimous decision, which prompted the committee chairman to put it to vote and 18 members voted against the bill while five members voted in support.
Thirteen other bills for alteration were expressly considered in their favour including abrogation of the Joint Account Bill.
Also considered by the assembly included provision of funds to the state assembly from the consolidated revenue fund, immunity for lawmakers irrespective of words spoken or writing during plenary, and provision of adequate time for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct by-elections and registration of political parties.
Others were reduction of age and qualification for prospective aspirants wanting to contest the presidential, governorship, and National Assembly and state assembly elections, as well as a bill on the presentation of the Appropriation Bill by the president and state governors within 90 days to the end of a financial year.
While speaking with journalists after the sitting, the Speaker, Ikyange said the bills were given express consideration because there was no ambiguity in them and promised that the bills would be transmitted to the National Assembly within 24 hours.