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Constitution Amendment: Reps Panel to Recommend 28 Alterations

The House of Representatives Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution will recommend 28 amendments to the House for consideration, Premium Times reports.

Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), the Chairman of the Committee, disclosed this on Friday during a meeting with speakers of State Houses of Assembly in Abuja.

In his opening remarks, Mr Wase said 1,980 recommendations were made by Nigerians in the 178 memoranda submitted to the committees after the zonal public hearing on the bills.

He stated that in the first batch, the Committee recommended 28 bills for harmonization with the Senate, out of the 62 bills considered. He said that “eight (8) bills were rejected, twenty-five (25) Bills were retained with modifications and the consideration of 3 bills were deferred.”

The deputy speaker stated that the thematic areas include issues bothering on local government administration and autonomy, the legislature, judicial reform, state creation, state police, devolution of powers, women and vulnerable groups.

Other areas are; strengthening of Institutions, good governance, political parties and electoral matters, traditional institution, Federal Capital Territory Administration, fundamental human rights and national security.

Mr Wase did not disclose the bills that the committee has rejected so far.

The State Police has been rejected, 35 per cent affirmative action has been rejected and mayor for FCT has been deferred.

Mr Wase stressed that there is a need for synergy between the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly to ensure they deliver a working constitution.

According to the deputy speaker, the current constitution is “military exigency,” adding that “that the reference to ‘We the people’ in the document does not truly represent them.”

He added, “We also are cognizant of the fact that we cannot work in isolation if we must achieve a concrete result and deliver on the promises we have made to Nigerians. Whatever we have done will still go through the State Houses of Assembly for their own input and vote.

“Hence the need for this collaborative synergy which will give us the opportunity to engage, consult and harmonize for a smoother, tidier and more efficient Constitutional review.

“We have worked tirelessly to engage, negotiate, debate, lobby, review and persuade in order to reflect the various competing and contrasting aspirations of Nigerians of different leanings and backgrounds. One thing we are sure of is that no one has been left behind.

“We have aggregated all manners of proposals, sorted them out to meet the constitutional guidelines and criteria and have ultimately harmonized positions after lengthy debates and majority votes on several critical issues.”

State Houses of Assembly play a prominent role in the passage of Constitution amendment bills.

Section 9(2) of the 1999 Constitution provides that 24 Houses of Assembly must approve a bill before it can be transmitted to the President for assent.

After the two chambers must have passed the bills with 2/3 support in their respective chambers, 24 House of Assembly must give a nod to the bills.

“An Act of the National Assembly for the alteration of this Constitution, not being an Act to which section 8 of this Constitution applies, shall not be passed in either House of the National Assembly unless the proposal is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of that House and approved by resolution of the Houses of Assembly of not less than two-thirds of all the States,” section 9(2) reads.

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