A Bill meant to give both the Federal and State governments legislative authority over railways on Thursday went through the second reading in the lower chamber.
The bill sponsored by Rep. Babajimi Benson (APC Lagos) has the title: “An Act to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999/(as amended) to provide that the Federal Government and the State Governments shall have concurrent legislative Authority on railway and to provide for matters related thereto.”
The explanatory memorandum reads: “This bilk seeks to Alter the Second Schedule to Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Act (No 24) 1999 (As amended) to provide that the Federal Government and the State Governments shall have Concurrent Legislative Authority with respect to Railway, and matters related thereto.”
In a short explanation while moving for the second reading of the bill, Babajimi said that putting the railway on the concurrent list will allow for the development of infrastructure across board especially in the States.
He argued that the new process will also increase revenue generation for the states.
“It will enhance infrastructure development. In Nigeria, the railway authority system is in the Exclusive List. To increase the Railway infrastructure, the authority in the exclusive preserve of the federal government, we should bring it into the concurrent,” hee posited.
The lawmaker said this will allow easy measures that will hasten the development of infrastructure, and increase revenue for the States.
The bill seeks to delete in part 1 under the Exclusive List item 55, and in part 11 under Concurrent Legislative List, insert a new item “HA -Railways” after paragraph 20.
Similarly, the proposed bill in 20A states ” The National Assembly may make laws for the federation or any part thereof with respect to Railways.
While 20B states “A State House of Assembly may, subject to paragraph 20A hereof, make laws for that State or any part thereof, with respect to Railways.”
When the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila called for a voice vote for the bill, it was passed with majority assent, and it was passed to the ad hoc committee on alteration of the Constitution.