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NASS regrets killing of devolution bill, says it will be revisited

Nigerian House of Representatives has admitted that the killing of the devolution of powers bill by the National Assembly was an error.

The House then quickly promised that, it would be corrected upon its resumption from summer vacation this September.

Speaking thorough its Majority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, the House said, the rejection was due to the lumping of many of the powers to be devolved into one single bill, leading to confusion among many members during scrutiny.

The bill had earlier suffered a gross defeat in the Senate with 46 senators in support and 48 against, falling far short of the 74 votes required to pass.

Though it strive better in the House, scoring 210 against 71 votes, but then it was still struck down having fallen below the 240 vote-threshold required.

That had led to public criticisms. Many aggrieved groups had registered their grievances against the rejection of the bill, which was seen as shortcut to achieving restructuring of the country.

“Many of us will be asking for the issue of devolution of powers to be revisited upon resumption in September,” Gbajabiamila said, adding: “It’s either an oversight or mistake for several items to have been lumped under the devolution of powers bill, a situation that led to the defeat of the bill.

“There were about nine items, including railways, pensions, arbitration, stamp duties, parks and others under the subhead and members should have voted on each rather than vote in one fell swoop.

“A member may have agreed to certain items for devolution to states and not to others. The way we voted one would never know how to pass judgment on each item.

“I believe each item should stand or fall on its own merit. It is important to note that devolution of powers is baby steps and the simplest form of reconstruction not a surgical dismemberment of our country. We must feel the pulse of the nation in moments like this”, he maintained.

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