Nigeria Senate

•Amendment may affect reelection of serving Govs, senators, others
•Senate to remove immunity from VP, Govs, Dep on criminal matters

By Henry Umoru

ABUJA — MOVES by the Senate to ensure  that election of President, governors, lawmakers and other political office holders, including serving politicians, meet minimum educational qualification, yesterday got a boost as a bill to that effect scaled second reading.

The bill was referred to the Constitution Review Committee, chaired by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.

In the proposal by Senator Isfifanus Gyang, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Plateau North, the bill is seeking the alteration of section 65 (2) (a) of the Constitution which deals with the qualifications for intending members of the National Assembly.

The bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide for the amendment of Sections 65 (2) (a), 131 (d), Section 106 (c) and Section 177 (d) on minimum educational qualification for those seeking election into the State Assembly, Governor, National Assembly and office of The President.

The constitution amendment is seeking new minimum educational qualifications for those seeking to be president, governors, senators, members of the House of Representatives and members of State Houses of Assembly.

The political office seekers have to pass through this new hurdle in order to be eligible to run for any office. If at the end of the day, the amendment is possible, the President, Governors and Lawmakers will have a very major challenge to contest for an office, since the issue of qualification and eligibility would be paramount.

The amendment  seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide for the amendment of Sections 65 (2) (a), 131 (d), Section 106 (c) and Section 177 (d)

The existing law which the Bill seeks to amend reads: “A person shall be qualified for election under subsection (1) of this section if he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent. Section 65 (2) (a) is now rephrased to read, “if he has been educated to at least National Diploma level or its equivalent.”

If amended, the Bill will  alter  Section 131 (d) which deals with minimum requirements for anyone running for the office of the president.

According to the current Section of the Constitution, the person must have “been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent and Section 131 (d) now reads: “He has been educated up to at least HND level or’ its equivalent.”

READ ALSO: Bill to set HND as minimum qualification for President, Governor, scales second reading

For the House of Assembly, the Bill seeks the alteration of section 106 (c) of the Constitution and in the existing law, anyone aspiring to be a member of the House of Assembly must have “been educated up to at least the school certificate level or its equivalent.”

Section 106 (c) is now rephrased to read: “If he has been educated up to National diploma level or its equivalent.”

For governors, the same applies and the bill seeks the alteration of section 177 (d) of the Constitution.

As it is currently, the Section states that the person must be educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent and section 177 (d) now reads: “If he has been educated up to at least Higher National Diploma Level or its equivalent.”

Amendment may affect reelection of serving Govs, senators, others

Also yesterday, a bill to amend the constitution to remove the immunity clause from Vice President, governors and deputies also scaled second reading.

In the amendment, these political officers can now face trial on criminal matters.

According to the amendment of the bill sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, “this Act provides for qualification of the immunity clause to exclude immunity for public officers referred to in section 308 from criminal liability where the offence involves misappropriation of funds belonging to the Federal, State or Local Government and also the use of thugs to foment violence.

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (in this Act referred to as “the Principal Act”) is altered as set out in this Act. “”Alteration of Section 308. Section 308 of the Principal Act is altered by (a) Substituting for subsection (2), a new subsection “(2)” -The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply –  to civil proceedings against a person to whom this section applies in his official capacity or to civil or criminal proceedings in which such a person is only a nominal party.”

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