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Nigerian legislators meet over constitution review

THE leadership of the National Assembly and speakers of the 36 state houses of assembly are to hold crucial sessions on the modalities for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution on Friday and Saturday.

The meeting, which will be held in Abuja, will enable the legislature to finetune a common agenda for the constitution amendment project.

Sources in Abuja confirmed that the National Assembly was concerned at the way the amendment process had been going and the need to ensure a successful review of the constitution this time around.

Efforts aimed at amending the constitution started in 2002, while the first National Assembly, under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was unable to go far with the project until the expiration of the tenure in 2003.

The efforts restarted in 2003, with the setting up of a Joint Committee on Constitution Review (JCCR), whose efforts were, however, terminated during the second reading in the Senate.

The 2003 effort actually got to the last stage in the National Assembly but was truncated by the inclusion of the tenure elongation agenda (third term agenda) of President Obasanjo-led administration.

Investigations revealed that speakers of the 36 states were to arrive Abuja, today, while they were to enter into sessions with the presiding officers of the National Assembly on Friday.

It was gathered that the programme was actually being coordinated by the National Secretariat of Nigerian Legislatures (NSNL), which was domiciled in the National Assembly.

But a source said while the formal session would actually be coordinated by NSNL, the presiding officers of the National Assembly, including the Senate President, David Mark; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Dimeji Bankole; the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Bayero Nafada, were to enter into crucial talks with the speakers of the 36 states.

The source said the session would commence today with a meeting of clerks of state assemblies and the National Assembly.

Source: Tribune