Reps set December 2025 deadline for new constitution 

Elizabeth AtimeJanuary 31, 20246 min

Reps set December 2025 for a new constitution as the review would be the sixth time that the National Assembly would embark on the amendment of the nation’s constitution.

The House of Representatives Constitution Review Committee has said they will be delivering a new constitution to Nigerians by December 2025.

The Committee chaired by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia) stated this on Wednesday during their pre-inaugural meeting in Abuja saying that the Committee would set up a realistic time, specifically December 2025, to complete its activities.

Kalu also revealed that the review would be the sixth time that the National Assembly would embark on the amendment of the nation’s constitution adding that the committee was aware of the challenges of insecurity and economic difficulties confronting it, adding that since 2010, NASS has made landmark changes to the constitution since the military regime in 1999.

“It is not out of place to guess that there is some level of fatigue in the Amendment process by some vocal sections of the populace. Whatever opinion you hold, it is important to let you know that we presently have 40 bills that are at various stages of consideration that relate to the Alteration of the Constitution.

“Secondly, we are well aware of our present challenging circumstances as a nation. The twin challenges of insecurity and economic difficulties could tamper with the confidence of our citizens. It is therefore our Constitution’s responsibility to respond to the 40 bills so far proposed and also to attend to the duty of the Government to ensure the security and welfare of the citizens as provided by the Constitution.

“Since 2010, the National Assembly has successfully amended and made landmark changes to our Constitution since it was first handed over to Nigeria in 1999 by the military regime of General Abdulsalam Abubakar,” he said.

He listed some of the amendments made to include judicial reform, electoral reforms, and moving certain responsibilities of government from the exclusive to the constituent list.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINER: 8 Steps to Amend the Constitution

The Deputy Speaker added that in the last amendment, some reviews were not passed, such as additional seats for women to be in the national assembly and diaspora voting, among others.

“Since then, some of the significant amendments successfully made by previous efforts include judicial reforms, electoral reforms, age reduction, allowing younger persons to be appointed into the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as Chairman or Resident Electoral Commissioners and also allowing a lower age for contest into certain elective positions, moving certain responsibilities of government from the Exclusive Legislative List into the Concurrent Legislative List to allow for increased federalism among other things,”  he continued.

“The Constitution Review Committee is having its Pre-Inaugural meeting today preparatory to its inauguration which date has been proposed for February 26, 2024. Ahead of the inauguration, actions that need to be undertaken include expediting the commencement of preparations, constituting the secretariat for Constitution Review, appointing Consultants, and drafting a Work Plan for the Committee.

“The Committee is fully aware of the concerns of Nigerians on the need to finalise and conclude discussions around Nigeria’s Constitution. I would like to state however that the nature of Nigeria’s Constitution and the history around how it was made and handed over to a new civilian government in 1999, makes it imperative for us to continually revisit the several provisions of the Constitution and work towards accomplishing consensus on outstanding constitutional debates.

“Let me also remind the Committee that in the last Constitution Review efforts, there were some key Constitution amendment proposals that did not pass either because we did not fully understand their provisions or we did not have enough time to agree on them. An example was the proposal to create additional seats for women in Federal and State Legislative Houses. Let us use this opportunity to understand this proposal, hoping that those who are the promoters of this particular amendment will start their advocacy timely and be more thorough and comprehensive, reaching the stakeholders to control the mindsets of their representatives.

“I would like to urge the Committee to prepare to work very hard and timeously to deliver on citizens’ expectations of concrete amendments in the shortest possible time. The composition of the Committee is representative of the constituent parts of this country and I encourage members to be prepared to bring forth bills that represent the interests and concerns of their Constituencies, as well as national interest.”

Meanwhile, Kalu further stressed their commitment to work with partners and the general public to achieve their goal.

“The secretariat will be very well equipped to function optimally and deliver results. We have created a partnership with the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) which has committed to supporting the work of this Committee as they have done in previous Constitution Review efforts,” he revealed.

“We are open to other support and engagements as well as other quarters who are interested in the development of our Constitutional democracy as a nation.

“In the course of this Constitution Review exercise, we shall be working with several experts across different subject areas. The Consultants that would work with the Committee would be very knowledgeable, experienced, and respected in Constitutional Law and related matters.

“This Committee will be working in close consultation and concert with our counterpart in the Senate Committee on the Review of the Constitution. In this meeting, I would like us to discuss details of our inauguration which, as I have stated, is proposed for February 26, 2024,”, he explained.

STAR Check: Nigerians, particularly, constituents from Abia State, can keep tabs on the legislative performance of Rep Kalu throughout the 10th assembly here.

Elizabeth Atime

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