By Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
As controversy continues to trail the move by the House of Representatives to include Sharia law in the on-going Constitution amendment, Speaker Yakubu Dogara says the bill only seeks to amend the provisions of the Constitution to make some criminal aspects of the law applicable.
The bill came up on the floor of the House on Thursday and was referred to the adhoc committee on Constitution review as there was no debate on it.
This has drawn the ire of some people who alleged that there was a plot to islamise the country.
The criticisms had led the Speaker, who is a Christian from Bauchi State, to respond on his twitter handle on Friday, saying: “Bills are always gazetted before they are scheduled for second reading and gazettes are public documents.”
He described as ‘crass ignorance’ of the legislative process for someone to insinuate that a bill could be sneaked in and passed.
The Speaker explained that, being a constitutional amendment bill, the “bill is not a regular bill that can be said to have passed second reading, passing it only meant it’s in the mill.”
He further stated, “All such bills are read and referred to the House Special Ad-Hoc Committee on Constitution Review for legislative fireworks”, and “only the House Special Ad Hoc Committee on Constitution Review can propose a final bill on review.
“As it is there no proposed bill from the ad hoc committee yet, the bill in question is just a working document. Those talking about sneaking a bill are either ignorant of the process or plainly mischievous”.