National Assembly will be transparent with constitution amendment process – Speaker Abass

We intend to harness the inputs of all Nigerians at the level of senatorial districts through open forum public consultations, and digital platforms, ensuring that every voice is heard and considered.”

365Daily – The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, has assured that this assembly will conduct the review of the 1999 Constitution transparently, with oneness, inclusivity and national cohesion as guide.

Abass made this known on Monday, February 26, 2024, while inaugurating the House Special Committee on Constitution Review at the National Assembly.

Speaker Abass also disclosed that the committee will work hand-in-hand with the executive arm of government at the federal and state levels to ensure that the process enjoys the backing of Nigerians.

The committee, which is chaired by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, had received over 44 bills seeking alterations in the 1999 Constitution on issues including rotational presidency, State police, and local government autonomy, among others. It is expected to be complete the task within 24 months.

He said, “The process will be deeply rooted in engaging with the Nigerian people at all levels, including traditional and religious institutions, pressure groups and trade unions, ethnoreligious organisations, the diaspora community, and much more.

“We intend to harness the inputs of all Nigerians at the level of senatorial districts through open forum public consultations, and digital platforms, ensuring that every voice is heard and considered.”

Abbas added that the current review which is the 6th would focus on devolution of powers, state policing; enhancement of fiscal federalism through local government autonomy; further decongesting the exclusive legislative list; recognising and assigning constitutional roles for traditional institutions; and promoting inclusivity, particularly greater gender equity and women representation into appointive and elective positions.

He urged Nigerians to participate in the review process by making input in ”the complexities and the debates that will arise during this process.”

“Let us embrace them as vital components of a vibrant democracy. The discussions and disagreements are not signs of weakness but rather indications of our strength and diversity. They remind us that we are a nation of many voices, each with something valuable to contribute to our collective future,” he stressed.

Earlier, the Committee Chairman, Hon. Kalu, declared that the panel would work tirelessly to deliver on its mandate within the next 24 months.

The deputy speaker said the committee would ensure “that every voice is heard, every perspective is considered, and every citizen is empowered to participate in the shaping of our nation’s future. ”

He said the committee will consider “establishment of state police, state access to mines; increased participation of women in politics; clear specification of the taxes/levies to be collected by each tier of government and the provision for the office of the Mayor of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”

In addition, he disclosed that proposals passed in the last constitution review exercise but which were not assented to by the President, would be revised, ”as well as executive-sponsored bill proposals that reflect issues on the renewed hope agenda of Mr President.”

In his remarks, the Chairman of Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly and speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin, promised that State Assemblies would ratify the Constitution alterations bills once they are transmitted by the National Assembly.

He added that the debate on the review of the Constitution would continue till Nigerians get the Constitution they deserve.

On his part, President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, who was represented by Barau Jibrin, assured that the Senate and House Committees will work seamlessly to ensure a comprehensive review of the constitution, adding that the process was not just a law review, but an amendment with the potential to reshape the nation’s democracy.

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