House: Without Referendum, National Conference Is Waste Of Time


SAN FRANCISCO, March 27, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives Thursday said for the report of the National Conference to be put to use, the 1999 Constitution must be amended to create room for referendum that will ratify the recommendations of the delegates.

The House also expressed its commitment to the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) denying that it has abandoned the proposed oil law.

Deputy chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon.

Victor Ogene (APGA, Anambra), who disclosed this while briefing the media in Abuja also assured that the House would begin debate on 2014 budget next week.

The House spokesman noted that the constitution was the only ground norm known to the legislature, therefore, they will not do anything extra-constitutionally.

He explained that "the only document we swore to uphold is the constitution.

" Speaking on the process of lawmaking and amendment of the constitution, Ogene stated that "For any section to be altered, you need a two-third of both chambers of the National Assembly and two-third of the state assemblies.

" He emphasised that unless this is done, the issue of referendum will not sail through, as there is "nothing on referendum before the House.

' Answering questions on the 2014 budget, Ogene said: "Often times, a minister defending his/her ministry's budget estimates may write to seek re-scheduling of an appearance thereby taking the committees back by days.

" He, however, assured that work is being concluded on the fiscal document and it is going to be concluded by the first week of April.

On insinuations that the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, also uses private jet for his trips and should be probed, Ogene asked: "Is there any allegations that any money is missing in the coffers of the National Assembly? If not, there is no need to worry.

" He also assured that the House will continue to probe allegations of corruption and misconduct by public officials and agencies of government.

On the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the lawmaker said the House was committed to passing the bill but would do a thorough job, saying: "The PIB is an important document.

Once passed, it would go through the process.
Every single law is as important as the other.
That is not to say the PIB is in the cooler.
It is still undergoing the process.