By Audrey Lotechukwu
WED 12 MAY, 2021-theGBJournal- The Nigerian Senate Tuesday triggered the process to review the controversial 1999 Constitution that will eventually see alterations made to the provisions of the Constitution.
The process will kick-off on Wednesday 26 May 2021 and run through Thursday 27 May, 2021, involving the civil society, the general public, government functionaries, interest groups, professional bodies and other interested persons meeting at two centres in each of the six geo-political zones of the country. The Public Hearing will hold simultaneously across 12 state capitals in Nigeria
17 issues for the Public Hearing are also outlined including;
-gender equity/increased participation of women and vulnerable groups in governance
-The federal structure in governance and power devolution
-Local government autonomy/Local Government Administration.
-Public revenue, fiscal federalism and revenue allocation
-Constitutional provision for the establishment of state police
-Judicial reform-adjudication of election and pre-election matters and other justice delivery concerns.
-Electoral reforms that will make INEC deliver transparent, credible, free and fair elections, political parties, independent candidature and election management
-Socio-economic rights as contained in Chapter 11 of the Constitution
-Residency and Indigeneship
-Immunity-removal of immunity in prima-facie criminal cases
-Timeline for assent of Bills and passage of Appropriation Bill
-States and Local Government creation
-Strengthening the independence of Institutions like the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Auditor General of the Federation and Office of the Attorney General of the Federation
-Legislature and Legislative Bureaucracy
-Constitutional roles for traditional rulers and,
-Any other issues that promote the unity and good governance of the nation.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Constitution Review and Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, while hosting members of the Legal Defence and Assistant Project (LEPAD), led by its National Coordinator, Chino Obiagwu (SAN) Tuesday in his office, called on Nigerians who have already submitted memoranda to speak to the documents at the events.
Senator Omo-Agege noted that while Jos and Minna would host the public hearings in the North Central Geo-political Zone, that of North East and North West would hold in Bauchi and Gombe as well as Kaduna and Sokoto respectively.
Similarly, that of the South East would hold in Owerri and Enugu. The public hearing in South-South and South West would be hosted in Port Harcourt and Asaba, the Delta State capital as well as Akure and Lagos respectively.
Some Nigerians reacting to the development said they ‘’hope for a new constitution and not amendment,’’ urging that that the outcome of the exercise be made public and implemented.
The Senate Adhoc Committee earlier on March 18, 2021 disclosed that it will release the schedule of the events for the public hearings while urging Nigerians at home and the Diaspora who have already submitted their memoranda to the panel set up by the Senate to be prepared to speak to such documents at the forthcoming hearings.