Intersociety's Submissions On Constitution Review

 [ Masterweb Reports ] - Intersociety's Submissions On Constitution Review: “Based on your Committee’s template for voting on key constitutional issues needing amendment or retention, we, the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law wish to make the following submissions following your Committee’s template items: Yes, Section 8 of the Constitution should be amended to rob it of ambiguities inherent in the creation of more States. The processes should be devoid of parochialism and sectionalism, but predicated on demographical, geographical and geopolitical equity. Section 8(1)(c) that requires all the States in the country to approve the result of the referendum for the creation of new State(s) by simple majority supported by simple majority of their Houses of Assembly should be amended to include…..” [ Full Report Below ]

 

Ref: intersociety/NG/001/012/HOR/NA/ABJ/FRN

 

The Clerk/Secretary
House of Reps Constitution Review Committee
Thro
Honourable Victor Afam Ogene
Ogbaru Federal Constituency
Room 0.28, House of Reps New Building Extension
National Assembly Complex
Three-Arms-Zone
FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

 

Dear Clerk/Secretary,

 

Our Submissions In Respect Of Your Committee’s Template & Related Issues

 

(Onitsha-Nigeria, November 12th 2012)-Based on your Committee’s template for voting on key constitutional issues needing amendment or retention, we, the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law wish to make the following submissions following your Committee’s template items:

 

Yes, Section 8 of the Constitution should be amended to rob it of ambiguities inherent in the creation of more States. The processes should be devoid of parochialism and sectionalism, but predicated on demographical, geographical and geopolitical equity. Section 8(1)(c) that requires all the States in the country to approve the result of the referendum for the creation of new State(s) by simple majority supported by simple majority of their Houses of Assembly should be amended to include simple majority reflecting federal character principle.

 

1. Yes, six new States should be created to bring the total number of States in the country to 42. In creating the six new States, the Southeast geopolitical zone that presently has five States should be given two more States, while others apart from the Northwest zone that already has seven States, should be given one more State each.

 

2. Yes, the six geopolitical zones in the country should be constitutionally recognized for administrative and political purposes.

 

3. No, the six geopolitical zones should not be included in the Constitution as a tier of government because that will be utterly wasteful and expensive, except Nigeria adopts religionalism and abolishes statism.

 

4. Yes, indigene-ship of an area within Nigeria should be defined to include persons who have resided in an area for a continuous long period and should be entitled to accruing rights, duties and privileges.

 

5. Yes, the Chapter Two (Fundamental Objectives & Directive Principles of the State Policy) should be made justiciable akin to Chapter Four of the Constitution (Fundamental Human Rights) by expunging Section 6(6) (c).

 

6. Yes, the laying before the National Assembly of the annual budget estimates should be done at least three months before the end of a fiscal year. To this effect, Section 81 should be amended.

 

7. Yes, Section 121 should be amended in a like manner for a Governor to do same before his or her House of Assembly.

 

8. No, the State House of Assembly does not need any financial autonomy to be independently administered and assertive. That given to itself by the National Assembly was a fatal blunder and a mistake. Financial autonomy in Nigerian context means immunity for fiscal roguery.

 

10. Yes, if the 774 LGAs are to be granted full autonomy as an independent third tier of government in Nigeria, then Section 162(6) should be expunged to eliminate State/LGA Joint Account so as to ensure direct allocations to the LGAs from Federation Account.

 

11. Yes, only on condition that the LGAs’ autonomy is discarded and all the 774 LGAs removed from the Constitution and disqualified from receiving allocations from the Federation Account, then States should be allowed to create LGAs and assume their administrative and financial responsibilities.

 

12. Yes, the LGAs should be accorded the status of a third tier of government with designation of a residual legislative list for their independent legislative jurisdiction. If this is to be the case, then there should be equal number of LGAs for each of the six geopolitical zones. The present case whereby Southeast has 95 LGAs as against Northwest’s 186 is demographically, geographically and geo-politically criminal and grossly lopsided.

 

13. No, because the issue of un-elected LGA officials would be taken care of once the LGAs’ autonomy is ensured and the seizure of LGAs’ revenues will no longer arise.

 

14. Yes, there should be a defined tenure for chairmen/councilors of the LGAs akin to the tenures of presidents and governors.

 

15. Yes, some contents of the Exclusive Legislative List like prisons and railways should be duplicated into concurrent list.

 

16. Yes, let Section 197(1) (b) be amended to expunge the States Independent Electoral Commissions and replaced with Independent National Electoral Commission, which will conduct elections into the country’s approximately 14,483 elective offices at federal, State and LGA levels.

 

17. Yes, Section 315 (5) (a) of the Constitution should be amended to remove, not abolish the National Youth Service Corps Act, the Land Use Act, the Public Complaints Commission Act and the National Security Agencies Act from the Constitution. This will enhance their amendment processes by lowering stringencies inherent in their amendments owing to their direct attachment to the Constitution.

 

18. Yes, Section 308 should be amended to confer civil responsibility on serving presidents, their deputies, governors and their deputies. For criminal aspect, indictment clause following credible and conclusive criminal investigations should be incorporated and entrenched in the Constitution with indictment bodies clearly mentioned. Once such indictment is certified judicially, impeachment follows and arrest and prosecution commence immediately after the impeachment.

 

19. No, instead, Section 215 (4) that requires the Commissioner of Police under a governor’s directive to request or refer such directive to the president or minister for approval, and Section 215(5) which forbids such development from being inquired in a court of law, should be expunged, and replaced with a provision empowering the governor and the House of Assembly to remove any disloyal or incompetent commissioner of police by way of two-thirds votes and executive proclamation. Once such legislative approval is obtained and proclamation made, such CP stands removed and posted out of the State, to be sanctioned further by the PSC.

 

20. No, instead, a provision should be inserted in the Constitution for the rotation of the office of the president among the six geopolitical zones, not between North and South.

 

21. Yes, our position in item 20 has answered this question.

 

22. Yes, it should be filled both on merit and by zoning. Every geopolitical zone has eminently qualified sons and daughters to govern Nigeria and no zone is born to rule.

 

23. Yes, Section 135 should be amended to provide for a single term of six years for the office of the president because it is the most controversial seat in Nigeria and its occupation has been very lopsided over the years.

 
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