From Fred Itua and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Senate and the House of Representatives Special Ad-hoc Committee on Constitution Review, yesterday, laid their reports on the alteration of the 1999 Constitution.
The lawmakers are proposing 68 alteration to the 1999 Constitution.
Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who doubles as chairman of the Senate Committee on the Alteration to the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, laid the report of the senate at 12:06pm.
The event was witnessed in both chambers by the First Lady, Aisha Buhari; Ministers of Women Affairs, Paulen Tallen and Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, in a short remark after the report was laid, said the visit by Mrs. Buhari was to show support for a bill to have more female parliamentarians at the federal and state legislatures.
Lawan assured the Mrs Buhari that the 9th Assembly, while voting on the amendments to the constitution as contained in the ad-hoc committee’s report would ensure that women’s participation in governance is commensurate with their population.
“At the moment, you’ll all agree with me that our women have not been able to get that level of participation commensurate with their population as reflected in our demography.Therefore, what we are trying to do (amendment of the Constitution) will go through voting later to complete the process in the National Assembly,” Lawan said.
In the House, the report was laid by the chairman of the committee and Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, told Mrs. Buhari that the report contained three provisions that would affect women in the country, positively.
He enjoined all members of the House to ensure they attend plenary on Wednesday and Thursday next week so that the House could muster the required two/third majority to vote on the alteration bills.
The proposed amendments include the abrogation of the states/local governments joint account, establishment of local government as a tier of government and guarantee of their democratic existence, tenure; financial autonomy for state houses of assembly and state judiciary.
Also, the parliament is proposing an extension of immunity to the judiciary and legislative arms of government and the inclusion of presiding officers of the National Assembly in the membership of the National Security Council.
National Assembly is also proposing the alteration of the constitution to provide for Diaspora voting, independent candidacy in presidential, governorship, National Assembly, state Houses of Assembly and local government councils elections as well as special seats for women in the National and state Houses of Assembly.
Other proposals are for the president or governors to submit names of persons nominated as ministers or commissioners within 30 days of taking their oath of offices for confirmation by the senate or state House of Assembly.
The parliament is also proposing the establishment of “the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federal Government separate from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation” and the establishment of “the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and of the state separate from the Office of the Minister of Justice or Commissioners for Justice of the state in order to make them independent and insulated from partisanship.
The National Assembly is equally proposing the alteration of the constitution to provide “for a state of the nation and state of the state address by the president and governor; and “the termination of tenure of certain elected officials on account of a change of political party as well as the removal of railways, prisons, airports and power from the Exclusive to Concurrent Lists.
Likewise, the proposed amendment includes creation of the Office of the Mayor for the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Abuja and to “provide for appointment of a minister from the FCT. The parliament is equally proposing the establishment of “National and State Councils of Traditional Rulers to advise the President and Governors on Matters Related to Customs, Security and Public Order” amongst others.