✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters

Constitution amendment stalled, may not end before June — Gbajabiamila

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday expressed worry over the delay by the Houses of Assembly to act on the constitution…

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday expressed worry over the delay by the Houses of Assembly to act on the constitution amendment the National Assembly transmitted to them for concurrence.

The National Assembly had in March passed 44 bills to amend key provisions of the 1999 constitution and transmitted same to the 36 states for endorsement or otherwise as part of the constitutional amendment process.

The process requires the endorsement of not less than two-third of the 36 Houses of Assembly for any of the bills to sail through.

However, only 21 states acted on the bills as of December 6, according to the Conference of State Assemblies Speakers.

Speaking in Abuja at the “Distinguished Parliamentarians Lecture” organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Gbajabiamila said he was doubtful if the constitution review exercise would be concluded before the 9th National Assembly winded up in June, 2023.

Niger pensioners disrupt swearing-in of LGA chairmen

Senate’s move to decriminalise convicts will oust courts’ jurisdiction — Anana

He said, “The National Assembly passed a raft of amendments to the constitution and advanced them to the states as required. That process now seems to have stalled in the state assemblies. As it is today, it is doubtful that the current constitutional amendment effort will conclude before the expiration of this legislative term.”

Gbajabiamila and the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, therefore, urged the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, who chaired the occasion, to prevail on his governor colleagues to encourage their Houses of Assembly to transmit back to the National Assembly their responses on the bills.

Lawan, while responding to El-Rufai’s request on some of the areas he would like the parliament to legislate on, lamented that many of the state assemblies were yet to conclude work on the constitution review exercise.

 He said, “We have sent the outcome of our constitution review to the states and we are yet to receive all from them. We should be able to wind up this process before the end of this assembly.

“Some of these issues you have raised that require our attention will be given attention. But I think it is important that we deal with what we have already sent out to the Houses of Assembly before we take the next step.

“Please, lobby your governor colleagues for us because I can see that you have the capacity to lobby.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria, Abubakar Y. Sulaiman, said 21 states had so far passed the constitution amendment bills as of December 6.

Sulaiman spoke to Daily Trust through his spokesman, Abdul Ahmed Burra.

He, however, did not mention the names of the states that have passed the amendment bills.

El-Rufa’i urged members of the National Assembly to revisit the issue of state police, Value Added Tax (VAT), decentralisation of the judiciary and 12 years of free education.

He said, “Like Oliver Twist, this assembly in the last six months can do a bit more. I will list a few areas: first is state and community policing. I think we are all clear now that the current policing is not working for Nigeria.

“Secondly, VAT has become a major source of survival of this country, because this year NNPC has not brought a penny to the federal account.

“We have been relying on taxes, particularly VAT, and the fact that VAT is not on the exclusive list is a major source of concern to the fiscal health of the federation. I think it’s something that this National Assembly can do something about in its last six months.

“There are issues about rebalancing of the federation like onshore mining and petroleum assets to be placed on the concurrent list.

“Decentralisation of the judiciary; because Nigeria again is the only federation with a unitary judiciary which doesn’t work for everyone.”

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Director General of NILDS, Prof Abubakar Sulaiman, said the parliamentarian public lecture series were being organised to serve as platforms where members of parliament could tell their stories, programme accomplishments and challenges.

By Abdullateef Salau, Itodo Daniel Sule & Balarabe Alkassim