Senate takes major steps to alter Nigeria's Constitution


"The fact is that as a nation we now have a constitution that makes it paramount for the country to save for the rainy days".

The Senate Constitution Amendment Committee chaired by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu had recommended the deletion of Land Use Act from the Constitution, so that it can be subjected to regular process of amendment.

They also passed an amendment to compel the President to attend a joint session of the National Assembly once a year to deliver a State of the Nation address.

Ohanaeze also said it is disappointed in the position of the Senate on the issue of power devolution to states.

It also rejected 35 percent Affirmative Action for Women for appointive positions at both federal and state levels and devolution of powers to state houses of assemblies.

The Senate also approved a provision for independent candidates at all levels of election, as a way of expanding the political space beyond conventional parties.

Similarly, the office of the Auditor-General for the Federation and state Auditors General are to be on first line charges in the consolidated revenue funds of the federation and the states respectively.

Other areas voted include the separation of the office of the Minister and Commissioner of Justice from the Attorney General of the Federation and of states to create an independent office of the Attorney General of the Federation insulated from partisanship.

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Also, the senators just reviewed and considered other bills ...

The amendment has so far pushed to transfer certain items to the concurrent legislative list to give more powers to the States.

Also passed was the bill on procedure for overriding presidential veto in constitutional adjustment.

Going by the bill, every amendment approved by the National Assembly with corollary support from the state legislators will automatically become law, even without the assent of the President.

In his closing remarks after the senators voted on 33 amendments, Saraki said: "Definitely, we have made history this afternoon with the exercise that we have carried out not only in the timing or the content of the exercise that we have carried out today, what we have done today definitely is to lay the foundation for a far-reaching reform of our political, economic and social development".

Bill 1: Members of the Council of States.

The age limit would be reduced for the president and senators from 40 to 35 years old, for state governors from 35 to 30 and for House of Representatives members from 30 to 25.

"The 1999 constitution can never be beneficially reviewed and the ongoing piecemeal adjustments or amendments can only totally blot the essence of national values and accelerate the de-amalgamation of Nigeria", according to Akande.