By Chioma Iruke
The Nigerian Senate Committee on Constitution Review has denied reports that it proposed creation of additional 20 states to the existing 36.
Rather, the upper chamber said that such requests for creation of more states were only referred by the committee to the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure compliance with provisions of section 8 of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) on state creation.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru, in a release titled “Senate Committee did not propose creation of 20 New States”, refuted reports that the Senate Committee on Constitution Review has proposed the creation of additional 20 States saying the report is a gross misrepresentation of the decision of the committee on the request for creation of more states.
According to the Senate spokesman who is also a member of the 58-man committee headed by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, rather than recommending creation of any state, the Senate Committee, while acknowledging receipts of several Bills proposing creation of new states, decided that it was not in a position to recommend or propose the creation of any state unless there was compliance with the provisions of section 8a-d of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution provides:
“An Act of the National Assembly for the purpose of creating a new State shall only be passed if-
(a) a request, supported by at least two-thirds majority of members (representing the area demanding the creation of the new State) in each of the following, namely –
“(i) the Senate and the House of Representatives,
(ii) the House of Assembly in respect of the area, and
(iii) the local government councils in respect of the area, is received by the National Assembly;
“(b) a proposal for the creation of the State is thereafter approved in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of the people of the area where the demand for creation of the State originated;
“(c) the result of the referendum is then approved by a simple majority of all the States of the Federation supported by a simple majority of members of the Houses of Assembly; and
(d) the proposal is approved by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of members of each House of the National Assembly.”