A Bill seeking to provide a constitutional framework for Special Economic Consideration for any state within Nigeria with a population of Ten Million and above, Wednesdaypassed second reading.
The bill with the title: “A bill for an Act to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria cap. C 23 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to grant Special Economic Consideration to certain states in Nigeria and other matters related thereto,” was sponsored by a member, Hon. Babajimi Adegoke Benson and three other lawmakers.
Benson whole arguing the bill said: “This Bill is a very special Bill. I call it unity Bill because the Bill is about Nigeria and Nigerians. I call it unity bill because it is one bill that if passed, will foster and promote the true meaning and intendment of section 41 sub section 1 of the Constitution which provides that “every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof and no citizen shall be expelled from Nigeria or refuse entry thereto or exit therefrom”.
He further states: “This consideration, it is believed will contribute to the fulfillment of the cardinal objective of this 8th Assembly Legislative Agenda of enhancing National Economy and Development through legislative initiatives to support infrastructure development and establishing regional hubs of development in each of the six geo-political zones in the country and put this Honourable House at the forefront of achieving over 8 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as agreed by nations of the world.”
According to him, these are: “Good Health and Well-being (Goal 1), Quality Education (Goal 2), Clean Water and Sanitation (Goal 4), Affordable and Clean Energy (Goal 5), Decent Work and Economic Growth (Goal 6), Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (Goal 7) , Sustainable Cities and Communities (Goal 9) and, Climate Action (Goal 11).
He said the Bill seeks to give deserving States in Nigeria the needed support to develop their critical infrastructures and cater for their rising population as occasioned by daily influx of Nigerians either for business or permanent residency.
“Any State with Special Economic Consideration by this Bill shall be granted 20% of all proceeds accruing to the Federal Government from the state to mitigate the pressures of urbanization, overcrowding and decaying infrastructure thus reviving the economic potentials of such states to contribute significantly to economic prosperity of Nigeria.”
He further states that “The premise of this Bill is the designation of any state within the threshold of Ten Million inhabitants as a megacity by the United Nations.
“This Bill aside being in conformity with global demands, will position Nigeria as a proactive country ready to address the urban challenges of overpopulation, poverty, infrastructure decay and environmental degradation, also cater for the teeming youths who represent 70% of our demography.
When the Speaker called for a voice vote, the bill scaled through second reading and was rendered to the ad hoc committee on the review of the constitution.