• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Senate to conclude 1999 constitution review in two years— Jibrin

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Barau Jibrin, the deputy president of the Senate and chairman of the 1999 Constitution Review Committee has said that the constitutional review would be concluded within two years.

The chairman stated this on Wednesday at the inaugural meeting of the 45-member committee constituted last week by the Senate.

He informed that the steering committee of the constitutional review committee would submit a work plan and a process map with timelines to be presented for consideration and approval by members in the next meeting.

Jibrin assured that the committee would work to achieve better results than previous constitution review committees by bringing innovation to bear.

“It is important to note that the committee is not constituted to rewrite the 1999 Constitution but to process proposed amendments to it, and we will strive to conclude this assignment within the next 24 months. I enjoin us to be committed to the activities of the committee because the task ahead is huge as some of the issues canvassed by some critical stakeholders are quite delicate”, he said.

“The committee will strongly consult and engage critical stakeholders in a way that will ensure that bills passed by the National Assembly will be approved by the State Houses of Assembly and assented to by Mr President”, he added.

Jibrin also noted that the committee would work in synergy with counterparts in the House of Representatives, and be strategic in the conduct of its affairs. “We will be guided by the laws and rules of legislative business, including precedence where it does not conflict with any known rule, while also being innovative where we can”, he said.

Enyinnaya Abaribe, representing Abia South, highlighted the importance of time management, noting that the previous committee failed in the management of time which made several bills not to be assented to.

“This is my fourth membership on the committee on amendment of the constitution. One critical area I would like this committee to address is time. We always waste so much time. We have over the years developed the habit of developing a calendar that goes for three years or more”, he said.

He also advised the committee not to put all amendments in one bill. “We used to put everything in one bill, and when the president doesn’t assent, it all goes to waste. So, we should always do it in parts.”

Sani Musa, representing Niger East, urged the committee to prioritise bills that were not assented to. He added that issues of state police, and devolution of power, should be prioritised because they will have a direct impact on the constitution, and will translate to something better.

Abdul Ningi, representing Bauchi Central, also urged the committee not to tow the path of previous committees that previous committee that prioritized political, ethnic and religious interests.

“We hardly put the interest of the nation. We should understand those areas that divide us and engage Nigerians”, he urged.

In addition, Adamu Aliero, who represents Kebbi Central, requested the committee members to “avoid going into controversial areas where we can hardly get a consensus; no need wasting time to debate issues we cannot agree on.”

Abba Morro, a senator representing Benue South, speaking on behalf of the minority groups, said the committee must anchor all actions on the principle of equity and fairness and protect the minority groups in the country.

“Create platforms for women to enable them to compete favourably. We should provide for an inclusive society”, Morro noted.

Aminu Tambuwal, representing Sokoto South, highlighted the need to include Nigerians in the diaspora.