TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

Report of the House Ad-Hoc Committee on the Review of the Constitution on Outstanding Bills Referred to the Committee, Laid on Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Source: pointblanknews.com
Listen to article

Introduction:
The House had referred a number of Bills to the Committee for further legislative input. The Committee treated most of them which formed part of the Report submitted to the House in July, based on which the House conducted the votes on amendment of the Constitution.on 25th July, 2013.

A few of the Bills were omitted during that exercise; some were stood down as they did not undergo public hearing while a few others were referred to the Committee after the voting had taken place.

As a result, the leadership of the House and the Committee thought it wise to conclude work on those bills before setting up a Conference Committee to liaise with the Senate for harmonization purposes.

Report on the Bills:
1. Alteration of Section 4 of the Constitution to provide immunity for Members of the Legislature for words spoken or written at the plenary or at Committee proceedings, to guarantee freedom of speech and debate and that proceedings in legislative houses are not impeached or questioned in any court or place outside of Parliament. The Bill was sponsored by Hon. Ali Ahmad

It received endorsement at the Public Hearing and has been incorporated into the Bill to be presented to the House.

2.      Alteration of Section 6(6) of the Constitution to allow for the justiciability of

some parts of Chapter II of the Constitution. The bill was sponsored by Hon.

Emmanuel Jime.
The requirement of this bill was covered in the earlier Report of the Committee upon which voting was made on 25 July, 2013 which moved basic housing, primary healthcare, basic education, et cetera from Chapter II to Chapter IV, thereby making them justiciable,

3.                Alteration of Section 25 of the Constitution on the definition of citizenship to include all persons indigenous to communities now forming part of Nigeria. The bill was sponsored by Hon. Ei-Sudi Ibrahim Tukur. The Committee felt that the bill has been covered by the provisions of Clause 5 of the Bill that was voted on in July which dealt with citizenship/indigenship issue.

4.                A Bill for an Act to provide for National Social Integration of the country sponsored by Hon. Peter Biye Gumtha. The bill seeks to make citizenship and residency the basis for political and electoral consideration in the country. This has been covered by the provision of the earlier Report which conferred citizenship of a State in Nigeria on anybody who has resided in that State for a continuous period of ten years. This was incorporated in the voting to alter Chapter 3 of the Constitution on Citizenship done on July 25, 2013.

5.                                  Alteration of Section 56 of the Constitution to guarantee freedom of speech and legislative actions of Members of the National Assembly. The Bill was sponsored by Hon. Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe.

It received endorsement of the Public Hearing. The Committee felt that the first segment of the bill had been covered by an earlier bill sponsored by Hon. Ali Ahmad which had been incorporated into the Bill to be presented to the House. The Committee reasoned that the second segment seeking to insulate the presiding officers from civil or criminal proceeding for carryingout the resolutions of a House will amount to a derogation of the powers of the Courts to undertake judicial review of legislative action guaranteed by Section 6 of the Constitution.

6.                Alteration of Section 67 to secure compulsory attendance of the President to deliver a State of the Nation Address to a joint sitting of the National Assembly. This will operate under an Act of the National Assembly. It was sponsored by Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and Hon. Christopher S. Eta. It received endorsement at the Public Hearing and has been incorporated into the Bill to be presented to the House.

7.                                  Alteration of Section 81(3) of the Constitution to include the National Security Agencies and the Nigerian Police in the first line charge of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation. It was sponsored by Hon. Samson Osagie and was endorsed at the Public Hearing. It has been incorporated in the Bill to be presented to the House.

8.                Alteration of Section 85 and 125 of the Constitution to ensure accountability and transparency in the management of the finances of all statutory corporations, commissions, authorities, agencies, including all persons and bodies established by Acts of the National Assembly or Laws of a State House of Assembly and to further enhance the efficiency of the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation or of a State.' It requires the Auditor-General to carry out an audit of the bodies and submit Reports to either the National Assembly or a State House of Assembly. It was sponsored by Hon. Ifeoluwa A. Arowosoge. The Committee feit that the main essence of the bill had been covered by the earlier voting which placed the Office of the Auditor-General on the first line charge of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation which will guarantee both financial and administrative autonomy to the Office.

9.                Alteration of Section 89 to include directly in the Constitution the Sergeant-at-Arms of a Legislative House among persons to execute a warrant issued by a Legislative House or Committee thereof. The bill was sponsored byHon. Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe. It received endorsement at the Public Hearing and has been incorporated in the Bill to be presented to the House.

10.     Alteration of Section 143 of the Constitution to remove ambiguities in the

process of impeachment and removal of a President and Vice-President from

Office on allegations of gross misconduct and to provide for a more

transparent and democratic procedure for impeachment and removal of the

holder of the offices.
The bill was sponsored by Hon. Yakubu Dogara and 3 others.

The Bill was taken at the Public Hearing held on Wednesday December 4, 2013 where it received endorsement and has been incorporated into the Bill to be presented to the House.

11.           Alteration of Sections 241 and 242 to provide for a right of appeal from the National Industrial Court to the Court of Appeal. It was sponsored by Hon. Friday Itglah. The bill did not receive endorsement at the Public Hearing as S.242 (3) of the Third Alteration Act of 2010 has taken care of this. The National Assembly can by law make provisions for Appeals as of Right.

12.           Alteration of Sections 277 and 282 to vest original jurisdiction on chieftaincy matters on Sharia Court of Appeal and Customary Court of Appeal of a State. The bill was sponsored by Hon. Leo Ogor. The bill did not receive endorsement at the Public Hearing; as a result of which the Committee advised that the existing provision of the Constitution be maintained.

13.           Alteration of Section 285 of the Constitution to allow that a period of an intervening event (natural or circumstantial) or force majeure shall not be counted in the computation of 180 days or 60 days during which a tribunal or Court of Appeal shall deliver judgment. The bill was endorsed at the Public Hearing and has been incorporated into the Bill to be presented to the House.

14.           Alteration of Section 292 and the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution to clarify the   powers   of  the   National   Judicial   Council   over   the   suspension,punishment, reinstatement and discipline of judicial officers. It was sponsored by Hon. Sunday Karimi Steve.

The Bill received endorsement during the Public Hearing and has been incorporated into the Bill to be presented to the House.

15 Amendment of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Act to provide for financial contribution from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to enable the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps carry out its functions. It was sponsored by Hon. Robinson Uwak.

The Bill was primarily referred to the Committees on Interior and Justice, and also the Constitution Review Committee, in the event that there is any aspect of the matter that requires an amendment of the Constitution. The Committee is of the view that no constitutional alteration question arose.

16.           Amendment of the National Youth Service Corps Act, Cap N84 LFN, 2004 to make it mandatory for the Service Corps to provide life insurance policy for Corp Members. This became a Constitution amendment issue because of the provisions of S. 315(8) of the Constitution that entrenched the NYSC Act as part of the Constitution. It was sponsored by Hon. Faleke James Abiodun. The Bill received endorsement at the PCiblic Hearing and has been incorporated into the Bill to be presented to the House.

17.           Amendment of Sections 68(i)(e) and 109(i)(e) of the Constitution has been proposed to make it possible for legislators to belong to parliamentary or similar bodies without losing their seats.

18.           Honourable Colleagues, this is a synopsis of the proposed amendments which the Ad-Hoc Committee on Constitution Review recommends for your consideration.

Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, CON
Deputy Speaker/Chairman,
Ad-Hoc Committee on the Review of the Constitution