By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—INDICATION emerged yesterday that the National Assembly had transmitted copies of proposed amendments of the 1999 constitution to state Houses of Assembly, as part of the constitutional amendment process.
A source said that in line with this development, State Assemblies are expected to turn in their resolutions to the National Assembly in the first quarter of 2018 for further legislative work before transmitting same to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
It was also gathered that the transmission of clean copies of the suggested constitution amendments was concluded on Monday, November 20, 2017.
Vanguard gathered from a source close to the Office of the Senate President who disclosed that the copies of the amendment to state Houses of Assembly, took some time because of “cleaning up copies to ensure that what you have in the Senate is also what you have from the House of Representatives.”
The source said, “It is not expected that the State Assemblies will unduly delay the transmitted copies especially when they were carried along at every stage of the constitution amendment process. Talks and comments have comprehensibly centered on such areas as the failure of the National Assembly to approve devolution of powers to states, removal of the Land Use Act from the Constitution, and 35 per cent affirmative action for women.
“The consensus is that the failure of the National Assembly to pass some critical proposals amounted to gross “insensitivity to the aspiration of greater number of Nigerians.”
It will be recalled that in all, the National Assembly constitution review committee formulated 33 bills, 29 passed while four were rejected.
The four rejected critical proposals included devolution of powers to states, deletion of Land Use Act from the constitution, state creation and boundary adjustment and 35 per cent affirmative action for women.
Also rejected was the recommendation to alter Section 25 of the Constitution to guarantee a married woman’s right to choose either her indigeneship by birth or by marriage for the purposes of appointment or election.
Any proposal that meets the approval of at least 24 state houses of assembly will be processed and transmitted to the President for assent, just as the National Assembly will no longer vote on proposals that met the mandatory approval of 24 state houses of assembly.