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CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT SUFFERS SETBACK

By NBF News
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The final stage of amendment the 1999 constitution ran into a hitch yesterday, following a directive to the Acting Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa to withdraw the amended copy sent to the State, Houses of Assembly for adoption.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Dimeji Bankole gave the directive after it was discovered that the certified copy of the amended constitution was not the exact copy sent to the states.

Chairman, House committee on Rules and Business, Mr Solomon Ita Enang informed the House that he had discovered that the copy sent to the States Houses of Assembly was the copy passed by the Senate nor the harmonized copy.

According to him, the publication by the Lagos State House of Assembly in two national dailies, asking for contributions from members of the public showed that it was the version passed by the Senate that was sent out to the States Houses of Assembly but not the harmonized version. Enang said it was a procedural error that must be corrected immediately so that the period set aside for the conclusion of amending the constitution.

Chief Whip, Mr Emeka Ihedioha urged the speaker to authorise an immediate withdrawal of the document already sent to the States Houses of Assembly, adding that the proper copy of the harmonized version should be sent out for adoption. Bankole therefore directed the Acting Clerk of the National Assembly to retrieve the copy earlier sent and replace it with the harmonized copy signed by the Senate President and himself.

The harmonized copy of the bill to alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and for other matters connected thereto was passed by the House on June 3rd 2010, while the Senate passed the same harmonized version on June 2nd.

The clean copy of the amended constitution was presented to the Chairman of Conference of Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly, Mr Sylvanus Gbana of Taraba State by the Senate President, David Mark, for onward transmission to his colleagues, in other states.