The National Assembly has disclaimed a media report that the Senate Committee on the Review of 1999 Constitution has proposed the creation of additional 20 States.
According to the statement by the Senate Spokesperson, Sen. Dr. Ajibola Basiru, the report is a gross misrepresentation of the decision of the committee on the request for creation of more states.
Far from recommending creation of any state, the Senate Committee, while acknowledging receipts of several bills proposing creation of new states, decided that it is not in a position to recommend or propose the creation of any state unless there is compliance with the provisions of Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic as amended.
Dr. Basiru, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee of Media and Public Affairs stated that, for ease of reference, Section 8 of the 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.
In view of the above, the Senate Committee maintained that it is not in a position to propose creation of any state as reported.
He explained that what transpired was that the committee decided to refer the requests received to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure compliance with Section 8 of the Constitution by conducting referendum in the areas to know if the requests were supported by at least two-thirds majority of members representing the area demanding the creation of the new state in the Senate, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly in the area.
It said that the above clarifications are imperative to set the record straight.