The Nigerian Senate was thrown into a rowdy session on Wednesday when a bill seeking one per cent of federal government’s grant to Lagos State was put forward by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central).
Tinubu claimed that Lagos deserved special assistance from the federal government and stated it is ”the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria”, among other reasons.
However there was strong opposition to the bill from other senators.
Here are five:
Senator Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto North) was the first to oppose the bill. He described it as ill-timed and unnecessary. According to him, the bill would make Lagos richer and make other states poorer. He insisted that passing the bill would be a dangerous precedent because it would serve as an incitement for other states to also demand for special grants.
Senator Hope Uzodinma (Imo West) said passing the bill would open windows for other states to come up with similar bills. He added that instead of allowing the bill to sail through, the option of conceding federal government’s abandoned property in the state to Lagos to augment its cost of maintenance could be explored.
Senator Tanimu Aduda (FCT) said he would only support the bill if the same status being sought by Lagos would be accorded the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He argued that FCT also deserved special allocation for its development, claiming that the infrastructure in the territory was being stressed by the influx of people.
Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), said he would have supported the bill but noted that the National Assembly had no power to make any law that would empower any state to exclusively draw money from the federation account.
Senator James Manager (Delta South), said Section 164(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) incapacitated him from supporting the bill. He said the section authorised the National Assembly to first make a law before the federal government could grant financial assistance to any state. He added that even when such law was made by the National Assembly, its application would not be automatic as compliance with such law would be at the president’s discretion.