Reps Receive 40 Bills for Constitution Amendment, Get Dec 2025 Deadline
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has said that 40 bills have already been received for the commencement of the 1999 constitution review.
Speaking at the pre-inaugural
meeting of the House of Representatives Committee on the Review of
the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Kalu who doubles as the chairman said that the work of the committee will be completed by December, 2025.
The Deputy also said that the constitution review committee will be officially inaugurated on February 26, 2024.
Recall that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas and the House
Leadership recently constituted the committee for the 10th National Assembly, making it the sixth time the parliament will be embarking on amendments of the Nigerian Constitution.
Kalu said: “It is also the view of Mr. Speaker that we set a realistic timeline that does not conflict with electoral activities which would advertently or
inadvertently affect the alteration process, specifically, December,
2025, the time we are looking at to conclude the activities of this committee.
“It is not out of place to guess that there is some level of fatigue in the Amendment process by some vocal sections of the populace. Whatever
opinion you hold, it is important to let you know that we presently have 40 bills that are at various stages of consideration which relate to
the Alteration of the Constitution.”
The Deputy Speaker further said that the committee will take into consideration the concerns of Nigerians and bequeath on the nation a constitution that will reflect the yearning of the people.
He added that the committee will also consider some important bills that failed to receive the needed attention in the last constitution review.
Kalu however called on the sponsors and promoters of the bills to carry early and thorough advocacy on the bills.
“The Committee is fully aware of the concerns of Nigerians on the need to finalise and conclude discussions around Nigeria’s Constitution. I
will like to state however that the nature of Nigeria’s Constitution and the history around how it was made and handed over to a new civilian government in 1999, makes it imperative for us to continually revisit the several provisions of the Constitution and work towards accomplishing consensus on outstanding constitutional debates.
“Let me also remind the Committee that in the last Constitution Review
efforts, there were some key Constitution amendment proposals that
did not pass either because we did not fully understand their provisions or we did not have enough time to agree on them. An example was the
proposal to create additional seats for women in Federal and State Legislative Houses. Let us use this opportunity to understand this proposal, hoping that those who are the promoters of this particular amendment will start their advocacy timely and be more thorough and comprehensive, reaching the stakeholders to control the mindsets of their representatives.
“I will like to urge the Committee to prepare to work very hard and
timeously to deliver on citizens’ expectations of concrete amendments in the shortest possible time”, he said.
Kalu also highlighted the parameters of the jurisdiction of committee to include “the alteration of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) and other Acts that are to be altered, in accordance with section 8 and section 9 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Others, he said, are “Receiving and considering any proposal, Bills for the alteration of the 1999 constitution (as amended), which may be made or referred to by the Acts, ensuring the alterations to the constitution are passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; creating a forum for relevant stakeholders and Members of the Public to make their inputs to the constitution review process, to enact laws to improve the wellbeing and aspirations of the Nigerian people; building a robust and collaborative relationship with the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the 36 States Houses of Assembly, whose resolutions are part of the legislative journey to the Bills; liaise with relevant government agencies, civil society organisations, multilateral and supranational agencies, to achieve a wholesome amendment to the Nigeria’s constitution; and liaising with relevant government agencies, civil society organizations, multilateral and supranational agencies to ensure a wholesome amendment to the Nigeria’s constitution.”