The Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution will present its report at the end of first quarter of 2021.
Deputy Senate President and chairman of the 58-member committee, Senator Omo Agege gave the pledge on Thursday at the inaugural meeting of the Committee held at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
Senator Omo Agege revealed that the Committee would give priority to the recommendation of the True Federalism Committee put in place by the former chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Odigie Oyegun.
Tribune Online checks revealed that the Chairman of the Committee was the Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir ElRufai while Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi served as secretary.
Another document to be given consideration is the report of the 2014 Constitutional Conference initiated by former President, Dr Good luck Jonathan. Chairman of the Conference was late Justice Idris Kutigi while Professor Bolaji Akinyemi served as Secretary.
Senator Omo Agege further revealed that Constitution Alteration Bills before both chambers of the National Assembly were equally being collated for consideration.
The Deputy Senate President further listed areas that needed to be amended in the 1999 Constitution to include, federal structure of the country, fiscal federalism, need to strengthen the Independent National Electoral Commission, amongst others.
He said:” Among the major fallout or outcome of the meetings were that the El-Rufai report on restructuring and the 2014 Constitutional Conference report were recommended to be part of the Committee’s working documents which has been obtained by the secretariat of the Committee for duplication and circulation to members. As we await the full resumption of our activities at the Committee level, compilation of all the Constitution alteration Bills referred to the Committee and gazetted are being collated for the process of the Committee in due course.
“This assignment is one that must be carried out jointly with the House of Representatives, apart from other stakeholders in the various Houses of Assembly and members of the public. Hence, I am in touch with my counterpart in the House to work out the modalities for a harmonious working relationship. In pursuant of this, our secretariat has obtained all the Bills for the alteration of the Constitution referred so far to our counterparts in the House of Representatives and we have transmitted ours to them for further legislative activities.
“The secretariat has been working and has identified many areas that need review in the 1999 Constitution from the engagements in the past and this includes: The need to make the Constitution more gender-friendly and affirm equal rights to women and girls. 2. The need to strengthen the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Federal Character Commission and other oversight agencies. 3. The need to address the challenges of residency and indigeneship. 5. The need to address the federal structure of the country to be in tandem with our history and modern realities. 5. The need to revisit socio-economic and cultural rights as entrenched in Chapter 2 of the Constitution as fundamental principles of state policy. 6. Electoral reforms veto make our electoral system credible, free and fair. 7. Fiscal federalism and revenue allocation. 8. Comprehensive Judicial reforms.”
The Deputy Senate President assured Nigerians that his team would do a thorough job while all stakeholders would be integrated.
“Over the years the National Assembly had identified a piecemeal approach to the alteration of the 1999 Constitution. This Constitution review process presents another opportunity for Nigerians to look at these issues again. We are aware that the process of making or altering the Constitution is as important as the content. This review process will, therefore, be guided by the principle of inclusivity and participation.”
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