- The deputy president of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, has said getting a new constitution as many Nigerians are demanding is difficult
- Omo-Agege who is the chairman of the Senate’s committee on constitution review said the National Assembly is only empowered to alter the constitution
- To get a new constitution, the principal lawmaker highlighted some stringent steps Nigerians have to take
FCT, Abuja - The National Assembly has said repealing the 1999 Constitution and enacting a new law for Nigeria will be difficult, noting that there are stringent conditions for achieving it.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the deputy president of the Senate and chairman of the Senate’s committee on constitution review, made this known on Thursday, June 3, while featuring on a Channels TV programme.
Asked about the possibility of having a new constitution instead of the amendment process going on, the principal lawmaker said:
“It is not impossible but it is difficult.”
"The only power we have is to alter the constitution and that is what the extant legal order provides for."
Omo-Agege stressed that the National Assembly does not have the power to alter all parts of the constitution.
Section 9 has to be amended
According to Senator Omo-Agege, Section 9 of the constitution empowers the National Assembly to alter the provisions of the constitution. However, it does not make provision for replacing or re-writing an entirely new constitution.
He, therefore, submitted that to embark on drafting a new constitution without amending Section 9 would amount to a gross violation of the National Assembly's oath of allegiance to the constitution.
The senator noted that though many Nigerians and groups have been clamouring for a new constitution, no one has submitted any memorandum to the National Assembly seeking to amend Section 9 of the constitution, The Punch also reported.
“Specifically, Section 9 of the constitution empowers the National Assembly to alter the provisions of the constitution and prescribes the manner in which it is to be done.
“Unfortunately, it does not make similar provision or provide mechanism for replacing or re-writing an entirely new constitution."
How to amend the Section 9
To amend Section 9 of the constitution, the deputy Senate president said four-fifths of the National Assembly (about 88 senators of the 109; and 288 of the 360 members of the House of Reps) is required.
He added that a bill also has to be sponsored to seek the alteration of the section.
Omo-Agege, therefore, advised those agitating for a new constitution to meet with their lawmakers so that areas they did not like would be amended.
Legit.ng notes that many Nigerians have been criticising the 1999 constitution in operation as a fraud imposed by the military on the country and asked for a new one.
Constitution review: Miyetti Allah demands scholarships for members
The ethnic group traditionally consists mainly of nomads and herders from the northern parts of the country.
The group claimed to be marginalised in terms of education as they are listed amongst Educationally Less Developed States (ELDS).