House of Reps commences constitution review with inauguration of committee

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, has inaugurated the constitution review committee for the 10th House, with his deputy, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, as chairman.

The speaker also named the House leader, Julius Ihonvbere, as deputy chairman of the committee, while the House zonal caucus leaders are to serve as advisory members to the committee on issues relating to their respective zones.

Mr Abbas announced this during the inauguration of the committee on Monday in Abuja.

He said the review of the constitution was imperative due to the changing nature of the nation’s population.

“Nigeria’s population in 1999 was about 120 million but the figure rose above 220 million in 2023,’’ he said.

Mr Abbas said the committee’s secretariat would include a representative of people living with disabilities to ensure that their concerns are properly accommodated.

According to him, the mandate of the committee is to receive and consider proposals for alteration of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and create a forum for stakeholders and the public.

This, he said, was to make inputs into the review process and collaborate with the Senate and the state assemblies as required by law.

He said since the inception of the Fourth Republic, the constitution had been subjected to five alterations, including landmark changes that had strengthened the country’s democratic institutions, federalism and governance generally.

He said the House had adopted a strategy of timely commencement, adding that the proactive approach was designed to ensure thorough engagement and deliberation.

Mr Abbas explained that the review was aimed at making the constitution a living and transformative document.

The speaker said since the inauguration of the 10th House, the lawmakers have not hidden their commitment to reforming the nation’s laws with a view to facing current realities in our society.

He said the composition of the committee was representative, adding that the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT all had representatives.

According to him, to achieve more inclusiveness, the committee will also have six additional women, one from each of the six geopolitical zones.

Responding on behalf of the committee, Mr Kalu said it was imperative to highlight the areas that would be looked into in the course of the review.

“Some of them include the establishment of state police, state access to mines, and increased participation of women in politics.

“Others are a clear specification of the taxes and levies to be collected by each tier of government and provisions for the office of the Mayor of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”

Mr Kalu added that several bill proposals that were passed but could not get the president’s assent during the Fifth Constitution alterations would be given attention.

“These include powers to the National and State Assemblies to summon the president and state governors and requirements of the government to direct policies towards ensuring the rights to food and food security,’’ he said.

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