CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT PROCESS ALMOST CONCLUDED — MARK

By NBF NEWS
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President of the Senate, Senator David Mark.
The President of the Senate, David Mark, on Wednesday said the process of reviewing the 1999 Constitution was almost completed.

Mark said the National Assembly had concluded amendments to relevant sections of the document, adding, 'We are only awaiting the endorsement of the 36 state House of Assembly for the final passage.'

The Senate president spoke at two separate events held in his office in Abuja. He said these while receiving in audience the Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and his kinsmen from the Benue South senatorial zone.

While officials of NIALS in the Senate on a courtesy visit, Mark's constituents came to rest at their demand for the creation of Apa State.

Mark explained that amendments made by the National Assembly were meant to address loopholes, which were responsible for various agitations by Nigerians.

He said, 'For the simple reason that many people are agitating for state creation gives credence to the need for such an exercise.'

Mark expressed optimism that the National Assembly would do all that was right, just and needful for the benefit of all Nigerians.

According to him, 'This Senate in particular will stand solidly for the unity, peace and progress of our nation. We shall be guided by national interest, the constitution and the standing rules of the Senate in all our actions.'

While declaring support for the creation of additional states, Mark said state creation was needed to bring development nearer to the people.

He, however, warned, 'It must not in any way create disharmony or rancour between and among people.'

Earlier, the Secretary of the Movement for the Creation of Apa State, Chief Benson Abuonu, said that besides the need to actualise self-determination, the proposed state would be economically and politically viable, if created.

He listed the mineral resources that abound in the area to include limestone, salt, petroleum and gas deposits, among others, which he said could sustain the state economically.

Constitutionally, the National Assembly requires the endorsement of two-thirds of its members and two-thirds of the houses of assembly of the 36 states - about 24 states — to give a final seal to the constitution.

The NIALS DG, Prof. Epiphany Azinge, expressed support for the on-going constitution amendment and canvassed the review of Chapter Two of the constitution, in order to legally strengthen it.

He was accompanied by his colleagues as well as the former Chief Judge of the Republic of India, Justice P. N. Bhagwati, who delivered a lecture on 'Public Interest Litigation,' which emphasised the sanctity and observance of human rights.