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State Assemblies delaying constitution amendment – Omo-Agege

The National Assembly joint committee on constitution review has appealed to relevant stakeholders to prevail on the conference of speakers of State Houses of Assembly not to truncate the constitution amendment process.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-agege, made the appeal during a press briefing on the progress of the 44 constitution amendment bills transmitted to the state houses of Assembly.

Senator Omo-agege, who is the chairman of the committee, said that six months after the transmission of the bills to State Assemblies, only 11 State Houses of Assembly have demonstrated their independence and loyalty to the constitution regarding the bills.

He disclosed that the Conference of Speakers of State Assemblies have sent them a letter, informing the National Assembly that the remaining states would not act on the 44 bills unless the National Assembly pass 4 new bills.

The bills according to Omo-agege includes; establishment of state police, state judicial council, streamlining the procedure for removing presiding officers of state houses of assembly as well as Institutionalizing legislative bureaucracy in the constitution.

It is legally inappropriate for the conference of speakers to use the four bills as a quid pro quo to act on the 44 bills the national assembly transmitted. We are aware of the undue interference with legislative processes and political capture of some state houses of Assembly by some state governors.” Omo-agege noted.

He observed that though each state house of assembly is independent of the other, constitution amendment bills requires the approval of two thirds (24) of the 36 states.

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Waba, said the country should have strong institutions and not persons.

Comerade Waba, explained that the NLC was ready to push for the autonomy of state institutions like the Local Government, State Assemblies and the Judiciary.

The NLC chairman however, did not support the establishment of state police, saying they might be misused by state governors.

Other speakers includes, the President of the National Union of Local Government Employees NULGE, and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria PASAN.

Reporting by Ibrahim Shehu; Editing by Adeniyi Bakare & Julian Osamoto