The house of representatives has voted in favour of a bill seeking to empower states to control electricity and declaration of public holidays.
At Tuesday’s plenary session, the green chamber passed for second reading a constitution amendment bill that seeks to devolve to states some items which the 1999 constitution reserves for the federal government.
Some of the items also being transferred to the concurrent list — include policing and mining.
Most of the lawmakers who endorsed the bill argued that the federal government is “overburdened” and needs to let go some of its powers to fast-track Nigeria’s development.
Mohammed Monguno, majority leader and sponsor of the bill, said the transfer of those powers to the states is long overdue, and will “set in development in Nigeria”.
Uzoma Nkem-Abonta from Delta state said: “What is the business of federal government with some of these items? Until we unbundle the centre, Nigeria will remain stagnant.
“We are saying the centre is overloaded with a lot and they cannot move. We need to reduce the centre so they can move.“
Kuye Aliu from Lagos said the bill “goes to the very heart of all agitations in this country”.
“The constitution provides that Nigeria shall be a federation but as it is, it is running like a unitary system of government,” he said.
“There may be no peace in the country until we leave that colonial mentality. This is a bill that all of us should support at this critical time.”
The lawmakers subsequently voted in favour of the bill and referred it to its committee on constitution amendment.