TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY RIFT DEEPENS OVER CONSTITUTION REVIEW

By JAMES OJO and AARON OSSAI, Abuja

An attempt by the Senate and the House of Representatives to sit jointly with a view to harmonize opinions on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution suffered a setback as members of the House boycotted a technical session slated to hold in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State at the weekend.

Members were said to have insisted that they were not ready to play second fiddle in the ongoing constitution amendment process hence their decision not to cooperate with their Senate counterparts.

It would be recalled that members of the House ad hoc committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution did not give any sign that they were not going to participate in the technical session as they allowed several millions of Naira earmarked for the trip to be expended through the clerk of the committee and the consultant.

As at last Wednesday, monies for the purchase of flight ticket, clothes for ushers, secretariat expenses were received and distributed knowing full well that they were not ready to participate.

It was gathered that the committee spent close to N200 million for the preparations for the technical session which they refused to participate in.

It was also gathered that all the supporting staff were already in Akwa Ibom State waiting for the arrival of the federal lawmakers with rooms fully booked and reserved at the prestigious Le Meridian Resort Hotel in Uyo.

Reasons for their last minute change of mind were not yet known as at press time but it may not be unconnected with supremacy tussle which had brewed among Representatives members and their Senate counterparts since the beginning of the process of the constitution amendment.

Sources close to the committee revealed that members of the House committee on the review of the constitution changed their mind midway, saying that they preferred to hold a separate technical session in Kaduna this week.

The committee headed by the Deputy Speaker, Hon Bayero Nafada, stated that they would come up with better ideas if they hold a separate technical session.

The staff who had been in Akwa Ibom State with the consultant hired by the committee had to come back to Abuja with materials and monies taken to the venue of the session.

However, the Senate continued with the technical session in Uyo.