Constitution review: Middle Belt Congress proposes 12 federating units,18 more states

Constitution review: Middle Belt Congress proposes 12 federating units,18 more states

- Major groups and individuals have been submitting their memos to the Senate committee on constitutional review

- Groups that have submitted memos include Afenifere, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and the Middle Belt Congress

- Among others, the Middle Belt Congress is proposing 12 federating units and 18 more states

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Nigeria may be heading for major constitutional changes as the Nigerian Senate committee on constitutional review begins work.

According to a report by ThisDay, the committee headed by the deputy president of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has received at least 50 memoranda submitted by individuals and groups.

Legit.ng gathers that the committee had earlier requested for memoranda from the public to enable it to amend the 1999 Constitution.

Constitution review: Middle Belt Congress proposes 12 federating units,18 more states

Constitution review: Middle Belt Congress proposes 12 federating units,18 more states. Photo Credit: Senator Ovie Omo-Agege
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The groups that submitted their memoranda included the pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere and its Niger Delta counterpart, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and Coalition of Federalists for Good Governance (CFGG).

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Individuals who have also submitted memoranda include former minister of information and culture, Prince Tony Momoh, and presidential candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) in 2019 general election, Tope Fasua.

In its own memorandum, the Middle Belt Congress is reportedly canvassing for the creation of 12 federating units under which the states would operate.

The group also listed some sections of the constitution, which it wants to be amended.

According to the memo, the group is seeking the creation of 12 federating units as well as 18 additional states, devolution of police, change in form of government, federal structure, judicial and electoral reforms, and removal of the immunity clause, among others.

The group also described the presidential system as prone to corruption, while creating huge bureaucracies that slow down work.

It advocated a switch to a parliamentary system, stating the presidential system is expensive due to the huge number of political appointees, votes cast for losing candidates are counted but do not count because they receive no representation.

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Another group, CFGG, canvassed for the transfer of mining and policing from the exclusive list to the concurrent list to pave the way for the creation of state police.

It also advocated a review of the revenue sharing formula from 52.68 per cent being taken by the federal government to 40 per cent, to free funds for the 36 states to carry out the new constitutional responsibilities proposed for them.

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Meanwhile, Afenifere had earlier kicked against the call by the Senate for the constitution review, describing it as a ritual every four years without tangible progress to show for it.

The group disclosed this at a virtual meeting presided over by its leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, insisting that restructuring is the only way forward for the country.

Instead of carrying out another constitution review, Afenifere went on to recommend the adoption of the 2014 national conference reports as a basis of meaningful new constitutional review for Nigeria.

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