The Senate has concluded plans to review some administrative and political laws that would empower the six Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT to function like local governments at state level.
Also, the Senate wants to look at enacting independent laws for the area councils as against the Niger State laws that have been used in running the Area Councils over the years.
Towards this end, the Senate has passed for second reading a bill seeking for Administrative and Political Structure for the six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT Abuja, and other related matters.
The bill sponsored by Senator Philip Aduda (PDP FCT), seeks to establish the administrative and political structure for the FCT Area councils with relevant laws. Aduda in his lead debate on the bill said while each state of the federation in line with section 7(1) and (5 ) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, has enacted laws which provide for the establishment , structure, composition, finance and functions of local government councils in their states, such laws have not been enacted by the National Assembly for FCT Area Councils.
He lamented that as a result of that, the six Area Councils in FCT namely, Abaji, Abuja Municipal, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Kwali Area councils, have been operating under Niger State laws.
He said: “It is the responsibility of the National Assembly to enact laws for the Federal Capital Territory as provided under section 299 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as altered.
“Since 1999, the National Assembly has not enacted any such law for the Federal Capital Territory Area Councils to enjoy their democratic existence as guaranteed under the constitution.
“The laws applicable to the Federal Capital Territory Area Councils have been in existence since 1984 and this law refers to Niger State Edict of 1976. It is therefore with a view to liberating the FCT Area Councils from Niger State laws that I present this modern and dynamic law for consideration”.
According to him, the proposed law if eventually passed, is divided into five parts dealing with issues adumbrated under section 7 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as altered.
While Part I of the law deals with general provision of area council system, part II deals with area council legislative councils , part III deals with the executive arm of the area councils , part IV deals with Public Service of the area councils and part V dealing with miscellaneous provisions for the area councils.
He explained that the proposed Act has no financial implications as the Area Councils in terms of structures, are already in existence.
In his contributions, the chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West), said it was high time the Territory was given the status of a state for easy political and administrative structure and development.
He lamented that the FCT was still using the laws of Niger State in 2015 many years after it was created and therefore sought the support of all senators for the bill.
Senator Adamu Aliero (APC Kebbi Central) informed that the current laws governing the Territory were made in 1976 and was only amended in1984, blaming the development on bad leadership which failed to pass the previous bills on the subject.
The lawmaker, who was a former Minister of FCT, disclosed that all previous bills, including the one sent when he was in office, failed to pass second reading in the Senate which is empowered to make laws for the Territory.
“FCT is supposed to be governed by the laws of National Assembly, but this has never been done, maybe due to non-passage of previous executive bills”, he said.
Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP Taraba South) regretted that the bill, which he described as noble, germane and relevant, was presented during the 5th Senate, but failed to pass second reading.

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