LEGAL IDEAS FORUM

Amendment of exclusive and concurrent legislative list: a right step towards true federalism and winning the war against insecurity.


INTRODUCTION
This research work shall x-ray the exclusive and concurrent legislative list. That is, in line with the constitutional provisions. Furthermore, in this research work, we shall recommend the various items in the exclusive legislative list that should be imminently expunged and added to the concurrent legislative list in order to bring true Federalism in the country. In the same vein, this work shall proffer solutions in solving the overwhelming insecurities in the country. Thus, in summation, this research work is a call for TRUE FEDERALISM in the country and for a better government.

By virtue of section 4(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended the legislative power of the Federal is vested on the National Assembly which consist of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Section 4(2) went further to state that the National Assembly shall have the power to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the Federation or any part thereof with respect to any matter included in the Exclusive legislative list set out in Part 1 of the second schedule of the constitution. By this provision, an exclusive power have been given to the National assembly to legislate on all matters set out in part 1 of the second schedule of the constitution without any interference by any state house of assembly, that’s to say that a state house of assembly cannot as a matter of constitutional provision legislate on any matter in the exclusive legislative list as captured by section 4(3) of CFRN.

More so, Section 4(4) also empowers the National assembly to make laws in any matter in the concurrent legislative list set out in the first column of part 2 of the Second Schedule of the constitution to the extent prescribed in the second column opposite thereto and any other matter with respect to which it is empowered to make laws in accordance with the provisions of this constitution. However, section 4(7) of the CFRN provides that the House of Assembly of a state can not make any law in respect to matters included in the Exclusive legislative list set out in part 1 of the Second Schedule but can make laws in any matter included in the concurrent legislative list set out in the first of part 2 of the Second Schedule of the constitution.

The practical implication of the forgoing is that the House of Assembly and the National Assemble have equal right to legislate on the concurrent legislative list while the National Assembly have the exclusive right without interference to make laws in respect to the exclusive legislative list. Section 4(5) of the CFRN provides that if any law enacted by the House of Assembly of a state is inconsistent with any law validly made by the National Assembly, the law made by the National Assembly shall prevail and that other law shall to the extent of its inconsistency be null and void. This is to say that when the National Assembly makes law on any matter in the concurrent legislative list and the House of Assembly of a state also makes law on any matter in the concurrent list which is inconsistency to the provision of the the same law made by the National Assembly, that of the House of Assembly of a state will be declared void to the extent of its inconsistency even though the legislation is for the peace, order and good government of the state as stated in section 4(7) as long as it is inconstant with that of the National Assembly will be declared void to the extent of its consistency. This suggest that there is no true freedom for the House of Assembly of the state to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the state when it comes to the concurrent list except that of the residual list which the House of Assembly of a state have exclusive legislative power over, this position has been given judicial backing in the Supreme Court in suit number SC. 340/2010 between the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Lagos and Commissioner for Justice had declared that the Federal Government lacks the Constitutional powers to make laws outside its legislative competence, which are by implication residual matters meant for the State Assembly.

It is imperative to note that there are 68 items in the exclusive legislative list which is within the exclusive constitutional rights of the National Assembly to legislate on as provided for in section 4(2) of the CFRN. This items include 1, account of the government of the Federation and of offices, courts and authorities thereof, including audit of those account. 2, arms, ammunition and explosives. 3, Defence e.t.c. While the concurrent legislative list includes 30 item in which the National Assembly and the House of Assembly of a state can legislate on.

It is pertinent to note at this point that with the overwhelming increase in the insecurity challenges and separatist movements in Nigeria, it is therefore needful to capture the interest of states and True Federalism in our constitution by way of amending the exclusive and concurrent legislative list to meet the current need of the country. In terms of the security challenges facing the country and the separatist movements I strongly believe in the amendment of the exclusive and concurrent legislative list by moving some items from the exclusive list to the concurrent legislative list, some of this items includes defence, mines and minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas, police and other government security services established by law, designation of securities in which trust funds may be invested, commercial and industrial monopolies, combines and trusts, arms, ammunition and explosives, to mention but a few, by moving this items to the concurrent legislative list, the House of Assembly of a state will have the right to legislate on this.

For example if item 45 of the exclusive legislative list which is police and other government security services established by law is moved to the concurrent legislative list it will afford the House of Assembly of a state the opportunity to establish state police in other to strengthen the security of the nation and to bring about peace, order and good government of the state as stated in Section 4(7) of the CFRN. Also the movement of other items aforementioned will bring about equitable management of resources by state governments and the practice of True Federalism in the country, and it will also reduce the high level of crime, migration and separatist movements in the country.

In conclusion, with the concurrent happening in the country and the security challenges facing the country, the amendment of the exclusive and concurrent legislative list will bring a positive step to solving these challenges and bringing great development to the entire nation which will subsequently lead to the diversification of the countries economy leading to an increase in the country’s GDP.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ossai Emmanuel Okwuchukwu, is from Ndokwa west local government area of Delta state, a graduate of English and literary studies University of Calabar, Calabar and also a 400 level student of Faculty of Law University of Calabar.

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