(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) -The Rivers State House of Assembly has voted against financial autonomy for local councils but threw their weight behind financial independence for state assemblies
The lawmakers took the decisions on Monday in response to a communication from the Clerk of the National Assembly requesting them to vote in the on going process of altering the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Rivers Assembly also voted in support of immunity for statements made during plenary on the floor of the legislature; stipulation of time for budget presentation and reduction of period for extra budgetary expenditure by the executive from six to three months.
The lawmakers who claimed to have consulted their constituents on the issues at stake also voted against independent candidature, strengthening of the local government councils and giving of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, enough time to bye elections and other matters connected there to but favoured the procedure for passage of laws when the president withholds assent.
They voted in support of change of police nomenclature from Nigeria Police Force to Nigeria Police, reduction of ages for people to contest for political offices in Nigeria and strengthening of the judiciary for speedy administration of justice as well as time for determination of pre-election matters.
Speaking at the end of the exercise where the lawmakers had to only vote and cannot amend any of the proposals, the Speaker, Rt. Ikuinyi Owaji-Ibani said history will remember them favourably for rising to the occasion and doing what they were supposed to do to ensure peace, good governance and the deepening of democracy in Nigeria.
He however called on the National Assembly to revisit the issue of devolution of powers, as according to him, devolution of powers is the basic feature of democracy to allow each federating unit to develop at its pace, as this will make Nigeria a better place for all.
Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Ibani urged the Clerk of the Rivers State House of Assembly to communicate their decisions on the fourth alteration Bill 2017 to the clerk of the National Assembly.

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