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Constitution Review: Reps Will Accommodate Every Interest -Spokesperson, Agbese

Deputy Spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Hon. Philip Agbese, has assured Nigerians of inclusive engagement and free participation in the ongoing constitution review process.…

Deputy Spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Hon. Philip Agbese, has assured Nigerians of inclusive engagement and free participation in the ongoing constitution review process.

The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, had on Monday, 26th February, 2024, inaugurated the Constitution Review Committee made up of eminently qualified Members of the lower chamber, drawn from the 36 States of the Federation, with special consideration for female parliamentarians.

The Committee, according to the Chairman who is also the Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, would round up its activities in target time of December, 2025.

Hon. Agbese, while responding to questions from Journalists in his office on Friday, said the Kalu-led Committee was determined to accommodate all interests, in making sure the exercise is wholistic and meets the test of time.

Agbese who was recently named the Spokesperson of the House Committee on Constitution Review, said the nation would be grateful to the 10th House, by the end of the Committee’s assignment, saying, the amended version would address many agitations, yearnings and aspirations of the generality of the people of Nigeria.

“We are going to carry everyone along. Aside receiving memoranda from organizations, agencies of government, individuals and various interest groups, another jurisdiction of this Committee would be to create a forum for relevant stakeholders and members of the public to make their inputs to the constitution review process, this we shall be doing through public hearing and continuous citizens engagements across the board.

“We shall also build a robust and collaborative relationship with the Nigerian Senate and the 36 States Houses of Assembly, whose resolutions are part of the legislative journey to the reviewed document. This is to reduce or totally eradicate the usual bottleneck or noncompliance that characterised other constitution review exercises in the past.

“Also, in this course, we shall be laising with relevant government agencies, both the executive and judicial bodies, state governments, women groups, academics, civil society organizations, labour unions, professional bodies, ethnic nationalities, Nigerians in the Diaspora, Diplomats and the general public, in receiving memoranda and getting them involved in making necessary inputs, while the process lasts.

“With the arrays of stakeholders we have enumerated and how the Chairman is coordinating the process, I’m sure there won’t be any section or interest that would be left out, at the end of the day”, Agbese said.

The Lawmaker said the thematic areas which the Committee intends to cover include, Federal Structure and Power Devolution; Local Government/Local Government Autonomy; Public Revenue, Fiscal Federation, and Revenue Allocation; Nigerian Police and Nigerian Security Architecture, with special attention to State Police; Comprehensive Judicial Reforms; Electoral Reforms to strengthen INEC to deliver transparent, credible, free and fair elections; Socio-economic and cultural role for the Traditional Institutions.

Other areas include, Issues of Gender; Strengthening the Independence of institutions and agencies created by the constitution or pursuant to an Act of the National Assembly; Residency and Indigene Provisions; Immunity; The National Assembly; Process of state creation and State access to mining, amongst others.

Agbese also assured that the Committee would be working assiduously to ensure the target of delivery within 24 months is achieved, saying, the Chairman is an experienced Lawmaker and a pan Nigerian who is poised to deliver a durable, workable and all-inclusive document to Nigerians as constitution.

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