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AMENDED CONSTITUTION CONFLICT: SNG, CLO, OTHERS SEEK URGENT SUPREME COURT'S INTERVENTION

By NBF News

Some political groups and a section of the civil society on Monday in Lagos urged the Supreme Court to urgently resolve the conflict over the legality of the recently amended Nigerian Constitution. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that controversy is surrounding the amended constitution which is yet to be assented to by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The legislative arm of the Federal Government claims the amended constitution has become a law without the assent, but the executive arm says the amendment cannot be recognised without the president's approval.

A former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Olisa Agbakoba, the NBA as a body and some concerned associations are challenging the National Assembly's claim in court.

Pastor Tunde Bakare, the convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), urged the attorney-general of the federation to seek the Supreme Court's interpretation of the situation.

Bakare, also the General Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, told NAN on Monday in Lagos that if left unresolved, the stalemate would affect the 2011 general elections.

He said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had already cited the stalemate as a reason for not releasing the election guidelines.

The National Chairman of Citizens Popular Party (CPP), Chief Maxi Okwu, said: 'Nigeria may face constitutional crisis if nothing urgent is done about the stalemate.

'If the issue is not sorted out, the timeline for the 2011 polls becomes invalid.'

The CPP chairman, however, urged the INEC to continue planning for the general elections while the situation was resolved.

'INEC should go ahead and use the 2006 Electoral Act as the basis for now; the Act has not been repealed; it is still valid pending the settlement of this stalemate,' he said.

In his comments, the Lagos State Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Mr Eneruvie Enakoko, urged the Supreme Court to give priority attention to the resolution of the conflict.

'Whatever the Supreme Court says is what Nigeria will follow,'' he advised.

The South-west Zonal Secretary of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Mr Austin Nnorom said the amended constitution was invalid until signed into law by the president.

'The Constitution of Nigeria remains supreme to any amendment or Act,'' Nnorom said.