S/East: Bill For Creation Of New State Passes First Reading At Reps

A bill proposing the creation of a new state in Nigeria’s southeast geopolitical zone has passed first reading in the House of Representatives.

The proposed legislation, co-sponsored by lawmakers Amobi Ogah (Abia), Miriam Onuoha (Imo), Kama Nkemkama (Ebonyi), Chinwe Nnabuife (Anambra), and Anayo Onwuegbu (Enugu), seeks to establish the state of Etiti, with Lokpanta as its capital.

The Etiti State will have 11 Local Government Areas (LGAs): Aninri, Awgu, Isuikwuato, Ivo, Oji-River, Ohaozara, Okigwe, Onuimo, Orumba North, Orumba South, and Umu-Nneochi.

The lawmakers are seeking an amendment to the 1999 Constitution to facilitate the creation of the new state, which will be formed from parts of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo states.

The National Assembly is currently in the process of amending the 1999 Constitution, with work expected to be completed by December 2025, according to Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu.

Section 8(1) of the constitution stipulates that a new state can only be created if it is supported by “at least two-thirds majority of members (representing the area demanding the creation of the new state) in each of the following, namely:

“(i) the Senate and the House of Representatives. (ii) the House of Assembly in respect of the area”.

“(iii) And the local government councils in respect of the area is received by the National Assembly; (b) a proposal for the creation of the State is thereafter approved in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of the people of the area where the demand for the creation of the state originated.

“(c) The result of the referendum is then approved by a simple majority of all the states of the Federation, supported by a simple majority of members of the Houses of Assembly.

“(d) The proposal is approved by a resolution passed by a two-thirds majority of members of each House of the National Assembly.”

No state has been created since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999.

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