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Reps raise alarm over Nigerian constitution

The House of Representatives on Wednesday raised the alarm over existence of pirated copies of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), saying such pirated copies “are now in circulation in the country.”

Consequently, the House has mandated its Committee on Legislative Compliance to interface with relevant authorities to ensure that pirated copies were phased out from circulation and report back to the House within two weeks.

The House resolution followed a motion of urgent public importance, moved by Honourable Edward Pwajok who raised the alarm on the need to withdraw pirated copies of the constitution.

While moving the motion, the lawmaker said that, “Upon inauguration, members of the Eighth Assembly were given copies of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (with alteration), printed by the National Assembly printing press.”

Honourable Pwajok expressed worry that the National Assembly printing press version of the constitution contained some clerical mistakes which had distorted the intents of the law and was therefore capable of misleading the public, the National Assembly and even the courts.

Citing example of such clerical mistakes, he said that in Section 88 (1) of the National Assembly printed version, the word “and” is used instead of “or”, saying, “this has given the provision of conjunctive rather than the disjunctive meaning it is meant to have.”

He further stated that, in Section 89 (1), “Section 65” is published in the National Assembly version instead of “Section 62”.

These copies of the constitution with many grave distortions, he noted could be in circulation in the public and used by even lawyers and judges in courts with far-reaching implications.

When the motion was put to vote by the Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, it was unanimously supported by members.