CDHR Hails Constitution Amendment Proposals


The 29 items adopted by both Chambers of the National Assembly as proposals for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution will enhance democratic rule in Nigeria, a rights group says.
Chairman, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) in Ebonyi State, Mr Emeka Anosike, said this in an interview with newsmen in Abakaliki last Wednesday.
According to him, the proposed amendment, if ratified by the 36 State Houses of Assembly, will not only restructure political and administrative governance but also consolidate democracy, rule of law and separation of powers.
Anosike lauded the efforts and courage of members of the National Assembly for the proposed amendment and urged state assemblies to give concurrence to the proposals transmitted to them by the National Assembly.
“The state Houses of Assembly are to consider the bills already adopted by the Senate and the House of Representatives in respect of the proposed amendment in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
“We in CDHR believe that other well meaning Nigerians are interested in knowing the way the 36 Houses of Assembly are going to handle deliberations in the proposals.
“The items considered and adopted are very critical in our match toward enthroning genuine democracy.
“We also believe that state assemblies will do the needful by ratifying the proposals for presidential assent.
“Under the 1999 Constitution as amended, concurrence of 24 state Houses of Assembly is needed for any proposal to be ratified.
“We are going to mobilise the people to lobby our representatives in these various Houses of Assembly,” Anosike said.
The rights activist described abrogation of state/local government joint account system, abrogation of state independent electoral commissions and granting of financial/political autonomy to local governments as milestone achievements in the proposed constitution amendment.
He also commended the granting security of tenure of chairmen and councillors in the proposals.
According to him, the proposed amendment will guarantee political survival of local government system as a third tier of government, restructure and reform the political as well as administrative structures of the system.
He called on Nigerians from different political, economic, religious and cultural persuasions, other rights groups and Civil Society Organisations to prevail on members of the 36 state assemblies to concur to the proposals.
“The proposed bills for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution, we believe, will significantly address the ongoing clamour for political restructuring and reforms.
“The National Assembly has done some good job and it is the belief of our group that the Houses of Assembly will respect the wishes of Nigerians and adopt the whole 29 proposals.”
The National Assembly Constitution Review Committee, led by Senate Deputy President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu formulated 33 bills for the constitution amendment out of which 29 were adopted while four were rejected.