President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, March 17, signed 16 constitutional amendment bills into law.
This crucial feat by the President Buhari-led administration was announced by the presidency through a presidential media aide, Tolu Ogunlesi.
The signing of the bill, of course, comes with serious implications for the judiciary, the transportation sector, the prisons, local governments, and other aspects of governance at various levels.
Judiciaries and railways
By this signing, State Houses of Assembly and judiciaries now have constitutionally guaranteed financial independence, while railways have moved from Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent List.
With Railways moving from exclusive to concurrent, it means rail is no longer an exclusive preserve of the federal government and the National Assembly. States will now be able to make laws regulating the establishment and operation of rail services within their territory. Interstate rail will remain the government’s responsibility.
Moreover, with Buhari’s assent to the bills, states can now generate, transmit and distribute electricity in areas covered by the national grid.
Prisons, now known as correctional services, have been moved from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent List.
This means that states now have the power to establish correctional and custodial facilities, and State Assemblies have the power to legislate on such.
A major change to the constitution mandates the president and governors “to submit the names of persons nominated as Ministers or Commissioners within sixty days of taking the oath of office for confirmation by the Senate or State House of Assembly.