The two-day zonal hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution will begin today across the six geo-political zones, it was learnt yesterday.
The Chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Constitution Amendment, Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, reiterated the commitment of the panel to the exercise.
Noting that the review is in line with the legislative agenda of the 9th National Assembly, he acknowledged that the no other constitution has been criticised as the 1999 Constitution.
To bring the process closer to the people, he said the hearing will take place in teo centers in each of the six geo-politacal zones as follows:
1. North Central: Jos centre is chaired by Senator Abdullahi Adamu and comprised of Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa while, Minna centre is chaired by Senator Abdullahi Sabi Aliyu and comprised of Kogi, Kwara, Niger state and FCT
2. North East: Gombe centre is chaired by Senator Mohammed Danjuma Goje and comprised of Gombe, Taraba and Adamawa, while Bauchi centre is chaired by Senator Abubakar Kyari and comprised of Bauchi, Borno and Yobe state
III. North West: Kaduna Centre is chaired by Senator Kabiru Gaya and comprised of Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and Jigawa state while, Sokoto centre is chaired by Senator Muhammed Aliero and comprised of Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara state
1. South East: Enugu Centre is chaired by Senator Ike Ekweremadu and comprised of Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu state while, Owerri centre is chaired by Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and comprised of Abia and Imo state
2. South South: Asaba centre is chaired by Senator James Manager and comprised of Bayelsa, Delta and Edo state while, Port-Harcourt centre is chaired by Senator Betty Apiafi and comprised of Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers state.
3. South West: Akure centre is chaired by Senator Ajayi Boroffice and comprised of Ekiti, Ondo and Osun state while, Lagos centre is chaired by Senator Oluremi Tinubu and comprised of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo state
The zonal hearings will hold simultaneously in all the centres on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th May 2021. The 2 days is to give Nigerians ample opportunity to make their presentations.
Omo-Agege said:” After the zonal hearings, there will also be a National Public hearing in Abuja on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th of June 2021 to give opportunity to those especially, government agencies and other stakeholders who could not attend the zonal hearings.”
Omo-Agege disclosed that there were about 32-header 1999 Constitutional Alteration Bills, which were streamlined to a 13-point frame of reference.
He said the streamlining was the baseline for the anticipated memoranda from stakeholders.
The deputy Senate President said the committee had received over 250 memoranda, which have been reduced to 26 is issues as follows:
1. Gender Equity/Increased participation of Women and Vulnerable groups in governance
2. The Federal Structure in governance and Power Devolution
3. Local Government Administration/Local Government autonomy
4. Public Revenue, Fiscal Federalism and Revenue Allocation
5. Constitutional Provision for the Establishment of State Police
6. Judicial Reform – Adjudication of election and pre-election matters and other justice delivery concerns.
7. Electoral Reforms that will make INEC deliver transparent, credible, free and fair elections, Political parties, Independent candidature and election management
8. Socio-economic rights as contained in Chapter II of the Constitution.
9. Residency and indigeneship
10. Immunity – Removal of immunity in prima facie criminal cases
11. Time-line for Assent of Bills and Passage of Appropriation Bill
12. States and local government creation
13. 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.
14. F.C.T. Administration
15. The Legislature and Legislative Bureaucracy
16. Constitutional Role for Traditional Rulers