Following reports circulating through the blogosphere, social media and social centres on the move to create 20 more states by the Nigerian Senate, the law makers have refuted the claim.
Spokesperson of the House, Ajibola Basiru said the legislature has no power to recommend or propose the creation of a new state unless the bill is in line with section 8 of the 1999 Nigerian constitution.
He added that the committee reviewing the 1999 Nigerian Constitution was misunderstood.
Basiru further explained that section 8 of the constitution sets out the criteria for the creation of a new state in Nigeria. The criteria includes a referendum and the approval of two-thirds of the state's population and that of the lower and higher chambers.
"Therefore, the Senate is not empowered to approve new states contrary to what has been reported," he said.
Ajibola Basiru further explained the criteria for creation of new states in a statement, saying contrary to the reports, the senate would submit a request to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which would ensure compliance with the provisions of the Nigeria constitution.
The move must also get the approval of at least two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives and Senate from the region seeking to create new state, the spokesman revealed.
The following states have been in circulation as the new ones to be created.
- ITAI State from Akwa Ibom
- Katagum State from Bauchi
- Okura State from East River
- Okun State from Kogi
- Adada State from Enugu
- Gurara State from South Kaduna
- Ijebu State from Ogun
- Ibadan State from Oyo
- Tiga State from Kano
- Ghari State from Kano
- Amana State from Adamawa
- Gongola State from Adamawa
- Mambilla State from Taraba
- State of Savannah from Borno
- Etiti State from southeastern Nigeria
- Orashi State from Imo and Anambra
- Njaba State from Imo
- Aba State from Abia
- State Anioma from Delta
- Torogbene State and Oil River from Bayelsa and Delta and Rivers State
- Bayajida State from Katsina and Jigawa, and Zamfara
The creation of the states has been rejected by many society groups and Nigerians.
Recall that prior to the time of independence there were three regions - North, West and East, and territorial system continued until 1960.
In the year 1987, Nigeria had 21 states including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
General Yakubu Gowon created 12 states between 1967 and 1987; General Murtala Mohammed created 7 states between 1976 and 1987; General Ibrahim Babangida created 11 states between 1987 and 1996; while General Sani Abacha created 6 states between 1996 and 1998.
Critics have viewed the move to create 20 more states as another burden to Nigeria as well as another avenue to let corruption strive.