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Constitution Amendment: Senate writes Jonathan to return original bill to lawmakers

By The Citizen
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The Nigerian Senate on Thursday, drafted a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, asking for an urgent return of the original copy of the 1999 Constitution Amendment Bill.

This came barely a day after the President wrote to the Senate, refusing to give assent to some sections of the Nigerian Constitution amended by the National Assembly.

The Senate President, David Mark, has mandated the Senate Committee on the 1999 Constitution Amendment to draft the letter and forward same to the President so that he could urgently send the document to the National Assembly.

The development followed a motion moved by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, during the day's plenary that President Jonathan failed to accompany his letter vetoing the bill with the original copy of the bill sent to him for assent by the National Assembly.

Senator Ekweremadu, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, informed the Senate that the two-day retreat which the committee had convened to discuss the President's letter could not make much progress due to the absence of the original copy of the bill.

He added that the committee temporarily suspended the retreat until it is in possession of the original copy of the amended bill, and that the work of the committee would be guided by the contents of the bill.

President Jonathan's letter to the National Assembly detailed the sections which he refused to approve.

In the letter read by the Senate President, President Jonathan rejected the alteration of section nine of the constitution which removes the approval of the President in the process of constitution amendment.

President Jonathan also rejected the amendment which separated the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation from the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General from the Commissioner for Justice in the respective states of the Federation.

The members of the National Assembly had not foreseen a situation where President Jonathan would refuse to assent to some sections of the constitution they had amended.