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Reps c’ttee to conclude constitution amendment in 24 months

The House of Representatives Constitution Review Committee has assured of its commitment to deliver a better and all-inclusive constitution that reflects the yearnings of Nigerians in the next 24 months.

The chairman of the committee, Benjamin Okezie Kalu, who is the deputy speaker of the house, disclosed this yesterday during the inauguration of the committee.

He said among the areas in the forefront for amendment based on the bill proposals received so far included the establishment of state police, state access to mines, increased participation of women in politics, a clear specification of taxes/levies to be collected by each tier of government, and a provision for the office of the Mayor of the FCT.

Okezie said several bill proposals that were passed but did not get the president’s assent during the fifth constitution alteration had been brought back, noting that the committee was “willing to accommodate more proposals to enhance our constitution and strengthen our democracy.”

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The Speaker of the House, Abbas Tajudeen, reiterated that the amendments would be comprehensive, all-inclusive, and transparent to meet the yearnings of Nigerians.

He said, “Equally, the process will involve Houses of Assembly to foster consensus and expedite adoption by states. But more importantly, 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, ethno-religious organisations, the diaspora community, and much more.”

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, who was represented by the Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin, assured that the Senate Committee on Constitution Review would work hand in hand with the house committee to ensure a smooth exercise.

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Richard Montgomery, also assured that the UK government would continue to offer its support to ensure democracy deepened and thrived in Nigeria.

This was even as the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria and Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin, also assured that he would collaborate with the constitution review committees of the National Assembly for the timely delivery of a constitution that met the yearnings of the people.

Speaking at the panel discussion, the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, and the Tor Tiv, Professor James Ayatse, lamented that traditional rulers had been stripped of their roles in the 1999 constitution, which had a negative impact on their societies, adding that this is the time for the correction to be effected.

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