Senate jump-starts constitution amendment with 13 bills
Members differ on location on North East devt agency
The Senate yesterday began moves to amend the 1999 Constitution with 13 bills seeking to review various sections of the document.They were referred to the Constitution Review Committee chaired by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu for further legislative action.
Eleven of them have scaled first reading with the rest two about to be read.Senator Babajide Omoworare (APC, Osun East) sponsored three of the bills, while the duo of Rose Oko (PDP, Cross River North) and Philip Aduda (PDP, FCT) sponsored two each.
On their parts, Theodore Orji (PDP, Abia Central), Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa West), Stella Oduah (PDP, Anambra North), Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC, Kebbi South), Olusola Adeyeye (APC, Osun Central) and Gbolahan Dada (APC, Ogun West) mulled a bill each towards rejigging the 1999 Constitution.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, thereafter gave the review committee four weeks to report back to the chamber.Also yesterday, members of the northern extraction disagreed on the location of the proposed North East Development Commission (NEDC).
When the bill seeking its establishment was read after conclusion on work on it by the Senator Abdul- Aziz Murtala Nyako (APC, Adamawa Central)-led committee, the lawmakers though agreed on the propriety of the commission, they, however, differed on where the agency is to be sited.
To set the scene aflame, Aliyu Wakili, suggested Bauchi or Gombe State but was countered by Abubakar Garbai (APC, Borno Central) who stressed that since Borno State was the epicentre of the Boko Haram crisis, it was only appropriate that the headquarters of the proposed commission be located in Maiduguri.
Earlier, Senator James Manager had observed that there was no clear-cut mode of funding for the would-be full-fledged administrative structure.
In his contribution, Senate Leader, Ali Ndume described as unnecessary the fuss about the commission’s headquarters, noting that the Forum of Senators from North East ought to have agreed at their level before bringing the issue to the floor so as to forestall the controversy.
After applauding members for their commitment to rebuilding the crisis-ridden region, he maintained that each Senator be appointed from the six geopolitical zones to determine the location and re-examine the mode of financing the commission.
To that end, Sam Egwu was picked as the committee chairman while Abdulaziz Murtala Nyako, Dino Melaye, Aliyu Magatakada Wamakko and Tayo Alasoadura were chosen as members.
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