The current economic recession and delay in the release of funds, may have stalled the constitution review exercise in the Senate, checks by Ripples Nigeria have revealed.
Apart from the unavailability of funds, the recent drama which surrounded the trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu by the Federal Government over alleged forgery of Senate Standing Rules in 2015, is partly responsible too for the stalemate.
The December 2016 deadline which was initially agreed on that the exercise will be concluded, may not be feasible, following the stalemate of the constitution review exercise.
Saraki, had in June this year, revealed that the Upper Legislative Chamber will come up with a new and more comprehensive electoral amendment law before end of the year. “I hope that before the end of 2016, a new electoral law shall be in place,” he had said.
A member of the constitution review committee who spoke with our correspondent yesterday in Abuja, but pleaded not to be named, said, though staff of the secretariat have been working, Senators have not been able to swing into action because of unavailability of funds.
He said the exercise may be dumped if the Senate leadership does not step in to ensure that the budgeted funds are released. He added that the committee struggled to raise funds used in organizing the last and only retreat which was held in Lagos in June this year.
When contacted to speak on the issue Mr. Uche Anichukwu, media aide to Ekweremadu who is the chairman of the committee, said he was not at liberty to speak on the issue.
“I only speak for Ekweremadu as Deputy President of the Senate. I am not a member of the committee and therefore cannot speak for them,” Mr. Anichukwu told our correspondent.
Spokesman of the Senate, Senator Abdullahi Sabi, said members of the committee were working behind closed doors. He maintained that everything was on track to meet the deadline.
Recall that the House of Representatives had earlier in the year said it would adopted a new method of sending the amended versions of the 1999 Constitution in piece meal through different related bills to President Muhammadu Buhari, for assent.
This, according to Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lasun Yusuf, who chairs the Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of 1999 Constitution, is to find a way around the protracted constitution review exercise being carried out by the National Assembly.
According to the House, this new approach is meant to avoid the mistakes made by the 7th Assembly, in which the then President Goodluck Jonathan withheld his assent based on the alleged error on a particular section.
By Ehisuan Odia, Abuja….
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