Uproar in Senate over review of constitution
There is uncertainty over the constitution amendment by the National Assembly as lawmakers disagreed on key issues in the exercise yesterday. Among them is whether to retain the position of the Land Use Act which vests control in the the Federal Government or reverse it in favour of the states. This became contentious when the Senate opened a debate on the constitution review yesterday.
Also, the issue of granting autonomy to local governments by scrapping the state and local council joint account as well as empowering the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct local government polls generated a heated debate.
Constitution Alteration Bill No. 32, 2017 as proposed by the Senate Committee on Constitution Review recommended the deletion of the Land Use Act.
Specifically, the bill seeks to alter the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to delete the Land Use Act from the constitution so that it can be subject to the regular process of amendment.
But many lawmakers argued against the proposal, insisting that the position of the Land Use Act should be left intact. This, however, met strong opposition from another group of senators who argued that the time had come for real change to be effected on the control and ownership of land.
The issue became so contentious that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, severally intervened to calm frayed nerves as he declared that the leadership of the National Assembly had not taken any position on any proposal.