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Senators, Reps differ on constitution amendments

By Tordue Salem
It may not be eureka yet for the 1999 Constitution, as the House of Representatives and the Senate may yet be on collision course on the procedure to the ‘finishing touches’ to the document.

Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, Rep. CID Maduabum  in a motion on the floor of the Green Chamber yesterday, referred to sections 58 and 318 of the 1999 Constitution, stressing that contrary to others’ opinions, the Constitution would not stand amended without the assent of the President.

The National Assembly had, last Friday, received the resolutions of the state Houses of Assembly on the amended sections of the constitution, where the Deputy Senate President reportedly said the Constitution “stood amended.”

But Maduabum in a part of his argument, maintained that the organic law could only stand amended if both Houses of the National Assembly adopted the resolutions of the state Houses of Assembly.

At the plenary session yesterday, Maduabum recalled statements reportedly made by some principal officers of the National Assembly that with the submission of resolutions of the state Houses of Assembly to the National Assembly, the document was effectively amended.

Maduabum argued that section 9(2) of the 1999 constitution made it mandatory for the two Houses of the National Assembly to meet again on resolutions made on a Constitution.

AC Rep warns

But the Action Congress Leader and Minority Whip of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila disagreed, stressing that the geniune intendment of constitution is that the resolutions of two-thirds of state Houses of Assembly and the adoption of the two chambers of the National Assembly can be taken as an amendment to a Constitution.

He added by warning the House not to start a fresh clause by clause consideration of the Bill.

Former Speaker of the House, Mrs. Patricia Etteh added that the report as presented by states, be simply adopted.

Briefing journalists in his office some weeks ago, in  Abuja . the Deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Nafada, had disclosed that there divisions among members of the constitution review committee over whether or not the altered version would be transmitted to Mr. President for his assent after endorsement by State Houses of Assembly.

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