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National Assembly gets confab report

Mohammed said already, every member of the House was issued the “compressed” report to study in preparation for its consideration any time soon.“When we circulate…

Mohammed said already, every member of the House was issued the “compressed” report to study in preparation for its consideration any time soon.
“When we circulate reports, members will study them. We’ll consider the confab report very soon, maybe next week. I’ve not conferred with the rules and business committee, but I do know we’ll look at it very soon. We got a more compact report. What we have is a compressed document that you can easily study,” he said.
President Goodluck Jonathan had promised to send the outcome of the National Conference to the National Assembly shortly after he received the report in August.
The National Conference which commenced on March 17 was to last for a period of four months, but it was extension by two months.
There were allegations of smuggled “new constitution” at the Confab, which was not part of the initial mandate given to the delegates. Some of the recommendations of the confab include the creation of 19 new states, scrapping of local government councils as third tier of government, retention of bi-cameral legislature, rotational presidency, independent candidacy, removal of immunity for president among others.
Mohammed also said that the two chambers would soon send copies of the constitution amendment report to the 36 state houses of assembly soon. He told journalists in Abuja yesterday that with the adoption of the harmonised report, the two chambers were ready to “forward copies of the report to state assemblies soon.”
The House had adopted the report on Wednesday in which the lawmakers approved an insertion of a new clause in Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution which allows for a referendum only for the purpose of state creation. By this, the House fore-close subjecting the outcome of the recently concluded National Conference to a referendum.
The approved version of the House report also removes immunity for the president in Section 308 and compels the president to address a joint session of the National Assembly once a year. An amendment to Section 59 which vetoes the president powers on signing bills after 30 days was also approved.
Also approved in the amendment is the migration of the Nigeria Police, Office of the Auditor-General of Police, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) as well as other national security agencies to be part of first-line charge, which means they are to be funded from Nigeria’s Consolidated Revenue Account.
The House also approved life pension for former presiding officers of the National Assembly who include the senate president, the speaker, deputy senate president and the deputy speaker. The lawmakers also approved independent candidates to stand for an election in the 71 clauses considered.
Another area approved by the House is an amendment to Section 7 restrains federal government allocation to only democratically elected local governments, while also providing a 4-year term for area councils’ chairmen.
Mohammed also said that the lawmakers have since received a “compressed report” of the recently concluded national and would soon being its consideration.
“The major issue is we have at hand is the constitutional review process. We’re done with the report and will soon forward it to state houses of assembly,” he said, adding that the House would also formally notify President Goodluck Jonathan on the development for “his quick assent when the report gets to him.”
Mohammed added that report of the much-anticipated Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is “almost ready to be laid on the floor of the House” adding that the House would expedite action on it as soon as it is presented and pass it before 2015 elections.
On the report of the Rep Farouq Lawan bribery allegations, Mohammed said the House is still expecting it but added that there is a court case on the matter, which may be the reason for delay on the report.
He said however that chairman of the ethics and privileges committee which is handling the case had told him that the report would soon be ready.

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