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Senate: Bill Seeking to Restructure FCT Passes Second Reading

Ayodele Afolabi,  Abuja

A bill  seeking to restructure the Administrative and Political Structure of the six Area councils of the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT) Abuja, and other related matters has passed second reading at the Senate.

The bill sponsored by Senator Philip Aduda ( PDP, FCT, Abuja) , seeks to establish the administrative and political structure for the FCT Area councils with relevant laws to that effect by the National Assembly as against the Niger State laws that have been used in running the Area Councils over the years.

Leading the debate on the bill, Aduda said while each states of the federation in line with section 7(1) and (5 ) of the 1999 Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended, has enacted laws which provide for the establishment , structure, composition, finance and functions of Local Government Councils in their states, such laws have not been enacted by the National Assembly for FCT Area Councils.

He lamented that as  a result of that, the six Area Councils in FCT namely , Abaji, Abuja Municipal, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Kwali Area councils, have been operating under Niger State laws .

He said: “It is the responsibility of the National Assembly to enact laws for the Federal Capital Territory as provided under section 299 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as altered.

“Since 1999 , the National Assembly has not enacted any such law for the Federal Capital Territory Area Councils to enjoy their democratic existence as guaranteed under the constitution.

” The law applicable to the Federal Capital Territory Area Councils have been in existence since 1984 and this law refers to Niger State Edict of 1976. It is therefore with a view to liberating the FCT Area Councils from Niger State laws , that I present this modern and dynamic law for consideration”.

According to him, the proposed law if eventually passed, is divided into five parts dealing with issues adumbrated under section 7 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as altered.

While Part I of the law deals with general provision of Area council system, part II deals with Area Council Legislative councils , part III deals with the executive arm of the Area Councils , part IV deals with Public Service of the Area Councils and part V dealing with miscellaneous provisions for the Area Councils.

He explained that the proposed Act , has no financial implications as the Area Councils in terms of structures, are already in existence.

Most of the Senators who contributed to the debate like Dino Melaye, Shehu Sani, Adamu Aliero, Emmanuel Bwacha etc, argued for quick passage of the bill after which the Senate passed for second reading and accordingly forwarded it its committee on FCT for more legislative inputs.

The Committee was directed by the Deputy Senate President, Ike EKweremadu ( PDP Enugu West) who presided over the plenary, to submits its report within four weeks.



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