Governors, State Assemblies agree to hold public hearing on 1999 constitution

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The Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly have resolved to hold public hearing on ongoing efforts to amend certain sections of the 1999 constitution.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Abdul-Aziz Yari, and the Chairman, Conference of Speakers, Ismaila Kamba, made this known when they addressed newsmen at the end of an emergency meeting between the forum and the Conference of Speakers.

The meeting was held on Tuesday at the old conference hall of the State House, Abuja,

They stated that the meeting had agreed to approach the amendment of the 1999 constitution with maturity and the future of the nation’s democracy at the back of their minds.

The communiqué read: “We, all the governors of the 36 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, under the platform of the Nigeria Governors forum and the Speakers of the states houses of assembly, under the auspices of the Conference of Speakers at the end of a consultative meeting regarding the ongoing efforts to amend certain sections of the 1999 constitution resolved as follows:

“The meeting agreed to approach this amendment with maturity and the future of our democracy at the back of our minds.

“The meeting agreed that the State houses of Assembly should consult all stakeholders and hold public hearing on all the items transmitted to them by the National Assembly in a bid to promote our democracy and strengthen its institutions.’’

They also disclosed that the meeting agreed to constitute a committee to look at all the issues pertaining to the constitutional amendment and revert to members within a reasonable time.

Yari, who fielded questions on the recently approved one billion dollars by the National Economic Council (NEC) to fight insurgency in the country, said the State Houses of Assembly would soon back up the approval through appropriate resolutions.

“We (governors) agreed to forfeit one billion dollars of our own share of excess crude which we are going to back up with state assembly resolution at a later time.

“This is not the first time a decision like this is being taken. It happened during former President Jonathan’s era when they took two billion dollars.

“We all agreed at that time collectively in the same chamber to withdraw the two billion dollars to procure equipment for the military and also for logistics for the military because they were telling us whether it was true or false that our soldiers were being killed.

“Some (of the soldiers) were on the social media saying that they were being killed like rats because they didn’t have the training and the equipment, that was what generated discussions at the same Chamber and there was no controversy, there was no opposition to the decision at that time.’’

Also speaking on the issue, Gov. Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, said he not in support of one billion dollars and will never be in support.

“In my state we have agreed to go to court to contest this. It is our legitimate right, all accruals to the federation must be shared by the three tiers of government and for me to get justice I have to go to court,’’ he added.

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