The Senate has denied ever proposing a certain number of new States in addition to the existing 36 States of the Federation, explaining that there are laid down procedures for the creation of States as provided by the 1999 Constitution.
The upper legislative chamber was reacting to a news report (not LEADERSHIP) that its Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution had proposed the creation of 20 new States.
A statement signed by the Senate spokesperson, Senator Ajibola Basiru (APC, Osun Central), titled, ‘Senate Committee Did Not Propose Creation Of 20 New States’, on Sunday, said the news report in question was a gross misrepresentation of the decision of the Senate 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,” Basiru said.
The chairman, Senate Committee of Media and Public Affairs noted that for ease of reference, Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that an Act of the National Assembly for the purpose of creating a new State shall only be passed subject certain conditions.
The conditions include “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,” he outlined.
Basiru added that, “In view of the above, the Senate Committee is not in a position to propose creation of any state as reported. Rather the committee decided to refer the requests received to Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure compliance with section 8 of the Constitution by conducting referendum in the areas if the requests 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.”
The Senate spokesperson stated that the clarifications were imperative in order “to set the record straight.”