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The Lagos State House of Assembly passed 11 bills into Law in 2018, while others remained at various legislative stages in the House.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the House passed 7 and 12 bills into Law in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

The 11 bills passed by the lawmakers in 2018 resulted in the Lagos State Electric Sector Reform Law, 2018; the controversial Land Use Charge Law, 2018 and the 2018 Appropriation Law.

Others are the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law, 2018; Lagos State House of Assembly Service Commission (Amendment) Law, 2018 and Lagos State Teaching Service Commission Law, 2018.

Also passed were the Lagos State Pension Reform (Amendment) Law, 2018; Lagos State Awards Scheme Law, 2018 and Lagos State Health Scheme (Amendment) Law, 2018.

The rest are the Lagos State Mental Health Service Law, 2018 and the Lagos State Tourism Promotion Agency Law, 2018.

As the year 2018 drew to a close, the Lagos State Local Government Service Commission (Repeal and Reenact) Bill, 2018 was awaiting third reading.

Seven bills were on second reading stage, and no fewer than eight at Committee stage, while the House was awaiting laying of report for the Lagos State Land Use Charge (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

In its bid to make some Laws meet present realities, the House, in the year, moved to review 10 of its Laws, many of which were at committee stages as the year ended.

The Assembly, on Nov. 1, 2018, at a three-day retreat in Abeokuta, Ogun, set machinery in motion to review the state’s Environmental Law and 9 other Laws to meet global best practices.

The Speaker, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, said at the opening of the retreat that the House was committed to moving the state forward with realistic laws, hence, the aim of revisiting the Laws were to enhance their operational capacity for development.

“For us to move Lagos State forward, there is the need for us to put in place laws that are enduring and in conformity with the interests of those who put us here.

“We must restructure them (selected laws) and introduce new laws where applicable. We need laws that can satisfy the interest of our constituents.

“In our parliamentary business, we need to pick laws that we have passed and see areas we need to tinker with so that we continue to do what we were elected for.

“We will continue to review our laws. It is by going through them regularly that we will prepare our state for a better law. Even if a law is passed yesterday, we can come around to review it today,” Obasa had said.

Some of the Laws for review by the House include the one on Environment for the Management, Protection and Sustainable Development of the Environment in the state and for connected purposes.

Other laws for review are, the Public Private Partnership Law, Urban and Regional Planning Law, Model City Law, Public Procurement Agency Law, Transport Law, Neighbourhood Safety Agency Law, and Environmental Law (Waste Management).

The proposed amendments to these laws are at different stages in the House.

Of all the laws passed by the House since inception of 8th Assembly, the Land Use Charge Law became the most controversial, raising so much dust and drawing the ire of many residents of the state.

Stakeholders, including professional bodies and civil society organisations, on March 27, demanded a reversal of the new Lagos State Land Use Charge Law, 2018 to its former status, rather than an amendment.

Some walked out of the public hearing organised by the House on the proposed amendment to the bill to register their grievances, not only on the law, but also on the proposed amendment.

The House had organised a Public Hearing on the proposed Amendment in response to the protests that greeted the law after Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode’s assent.

According to the stakeholders, the state government has no justification for the increment resulting from the amendment, based on the challenges in the economy.

The public hearing, which witnessed a rowdy session, saw members of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) , Ikeja Branch and other civil society organisations walk out angrily.

Since then, the report of the public hearing on the proposed amendment has not been laid on the floor of the House by Mr Bayo Osinowo, the Chairman of the six-man House Ad hoc Committee on Land Use Charge (Amendment) Law, 2018.

The Speaker had also explained that the report was still with the house adhoc committee and its presentation was being expected.

The House, besides acting on numerous public petitions, also passed several motions and resolutions on good governance, welfare of citizens and environmental issues (heaps of refuse and flood).

House resolutions also covered better training and remuneration for teachers to enhance quality education, incessant tanker accidents, traditional institutions, violation of human rights by Police as well as the poor and unhygienic condition of abattoirs in the state.

Others are on perennial traffic congestion, spate of drug abuse, robbery in traffic among others.

Unlike in 2017 when the House received Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode’s appropriation bill for 2018 in December and started work on it, the lawmakers continued to await the state 2019 Appropriation Bill as 2018 ended.

It is expected that this would likely be one of the early bills the house will be receiving and giving its attention to in the new year.

When the House resumes after the new year break, however, the general elections will be just a month away, with Presidential and National Assembly elections slated for Feb 16.

Two weeks later on March 2, the governorship and state houses of assembly polls will follow.

Many of the lawmakers who are seeking return to the house will have to intensify their campaigns to convince the electorate to make their dreams reality.

How the approaching elections will impact on legislative activities as the lawmakers return can be imagined, but remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the Speaker, Obasa, has asked Nigerians and Lagos residents in particular to continue to pray for and support the House in its bid to serve them better.

Projecting into 2019, he promised that the House would build on its achievements.

“Our promise always is that the Lagos Assembly will continue to put the people’s interest first in all our laws and resolutions.

“We are committed to serving the people more,” Obasa said.

According to him, the House will build on its achievements, with commitment to serve the people of Lagos.

He said that the lawmakers had done well as the representatives of the people, and the House would continue to do those things that would move the state to the next level.

However, the face of the Assembly, for the larger part of 2019, after May 29, remains to be seen.

In the 2015 polls, the Peoples Democratic Party sprang a surprise, grabbing eight seats from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 40-member house.

Seven of the eight, however, later defected to the APC.

Will there be such surprises again in 2019 to change the face of the assembly?

That is the question the electorate will answer when they file out to the polls on March 2, 2019.

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