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National Assembly adopts confab report for constitution review

By Alifa Daniel and Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja
01 July 2016   |   3:40 am
The House of Representatives has given a tacit endorsement to the 2014 National Conference Report as it adopts the document for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution.


•Gives insight into constituency projects
•Senate threatens AGF with arrest
•Presidential aide faults summons

The House of Representatives has given a tacit endorsement to the 2014 National Conference Report as it adopts the document for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution.

But yesterday, the Senate was silent on its own plans, though it emerged that the upper chamber had adopted the report of the fourth alteration on the Constitution which former President Goodluck Jonathan did not sign into law before leaving office.

Efforts to reach the Chairman of the Adhoc Committee on review of the Constitution and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu yesterday, were futile as he did not pick calls placed to his two lines.

Meanwhile, the face-off between the Presidency and the Senate over the trial of Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu for alleged forgery of Senate Rules has deteriorated.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) David Babachir Lawal, had described the last confab as a “job for the boys, a remark which the Deputy Chairman of the Conference, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, took a serious exception to.

Several sources noted yesterday that the federal lawmakers made the adoption following their conviction that the document contained useful suggestions that could move the country forward on the path of greatness.

“It therefore means that the proponents and opponents of the report can now come to the National Assembly and do business with lawmakers who are true representatives of the people. It is an endorsement of the work of the elders and patriots who were paid from the national coffers to sit and discuss our common project,” a source said yesterday.

Another statement from the Office of the Deputy Speaker, Sulaimon Lasun Yusuf, confirmed the development yesterday.

According to the statement by his spokesman, Mr. Wole Oladimeji, the ‎decision to adopt the confab report was taken at a working session/retreat of the committee recently in Abuja
“The meeting was presided over by the chairman of the committee who doubles as the Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Sulaimon Lasun Yussuff,” he added.

Also, yesterday, the chamber insisted that constituency projects were for the benefit of constituents, saying they are not personal projects of members.

In a statement, the House’s spokesman, Abdulrazak Namdas, remarked that the idea was mooted in a bid to ensure equitable development in the polity.

“All monies budgeted for constituency projects are domiciled in respective ministries, departments and agencies. It is the executive that awards the contracts and executes them in the same manner as all other projects,” he clarified.

Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, who was invited to appear before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters yesterday to answer questions on the prosecution of the two presiding officers, did not honour the invitation.

Consequently, the upper chamber is threatening to issue a warrant of arrest to compel him to appear.

But the Presidency was quick to declare that the Senate had no right to invite the AGF to answer questions on a matter in which it is an interested party.

The Special Assistant on Public Prosecution to the President, Okoi Obono-Obla, who stood in for the AGF but was walked out by committee, however noted that it was wrong for the Senate to have invited the AGF on a matter pending in court.

Justifying the action of the committee in refusing to listen to the presidential aide, chairman of the committee, David Umar, said: “It is the AGF‎ the committee invited. We did not invite the President and since he is not here, it means he did not respond to our invitation. The AGF was only invited to provide explanation on the issue. The best we will do now is to report to plenary and Senate at plenary will take the last decision.”