Constitution Review: House To Set Up Harmonisation Committee


SAN FRANCISCO, February 26, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives Wednesday disclosed that it has concluded work on the review of the constitution and would constitute a conference to meet the Senate and reconcile.

Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon.
Emeka Ihedioha, who disclosed this at a briefing said a harmonisation committee to meet with the Senate would be constituted when the House resumes plenary in the second week of March.

Ihedioha, who is the chairman of the review committee, said 'The House Committee on Constitution Amendment and indeed the entire House of Representatives has carried out its assignment objectively with the interest of the Nigerian people at heart.

The House carried out alterations on 71 Sections of the Constitution.

'It has done its best as Representatives of the people.

Because we operate a bicameral legislature, the House will have to meet with the Senate to harmonise the two versions of the Reports of the two Chambers.

  To this end, the House will name a Harmonisation Committee as soon as we resume plenary.

The harmonised report will be subjected to further legislative action before being forwarded to the 36 States Houses of Assembly for their concurrence,' he disclosed.

Highlights of the report of the voting shows that the House amended Section 315(5) of the Constitution and Section 19 of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Act to insure every corps members.

'The House voted by 300 for, two against and none abstention to mandate the National Youth Service Corps to insure every corps member against loss of life or serious injury incurred or occasioned while performing official duty or while traveling, seven days preceding the date of commencement of the service period or seven days after the end of the service period, from the place of residence or mobilisation to the place of deployment and vice versa.

'It also extended the coverage of the Public Officers Protection Act to every corps member and any other person employed under any undertaking or project for the duration of this service,' he stated.

According to him, 'As soon as we resume plenary, we shall name a harmonisation committee.

The Senate is going to do same and we are assuring Nigerians that we will not disappoint.

' The House had voted 317 for, with two  against and 19 in abstention for an Electoral Offences Commission to carry out sanctions against electoral fraud, a major hindrance to an entrenched democracy in Nigeria.

The overwhelming vote of the House is for an amended section 153 of the constitution.

It awaits harmonisation with the Senate and at least 24 State Houses of Assembly, before it can be amended in the  Constitution.

The deputy speaker noted that the particular section on electoral offences was contentious, but the House summoned courage to amend it for the benefit of future elections.

"The House voted by 317 for, two against and 19 abstentions to establish an Electoral Offences Commission as one of the federal bodies in the Constitution.

'This is a bold attempt by the House to tackle the hydra headed problem of electoral integrity and ensure effective sanctions for electoral malpractices", he said.

On the process, the deputy speaker said "Ours was a transparent process, which involved all segments of the country, including market women.

" He added : "It is well known fact that the process adopted by the House to alter the Constitution, has been very painstaking and methodical.

It is perhaps the most inclusive and consultative process ever undertaken by the House of Representatives.

" The constitution review commenced in earnest when the committee held the Peoples Public Sessions all over the country on November 10, 2012.

On  July 24, 2013, the House voted on the various sections proposed for amendments and taken at the Peoples Public Sessions.

  On Thursday, January 30, 2014, the House also voted to alter more sections.