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Northern elders reject Senate’s move to review 1999 Constitution

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The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) on Sunday faulted the Senate’s move to alter some provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

At a press briefing in Abuja, the NEF’s Director of Publicity, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said the parliament had spent several millions of naira since 1999 to fund the constitution review process without any meaningful impact on the lives of Nigerians.

The forum advised the National Assembly to direct its energy and mandate towards convincing President Muhammadu Buhari to effectively tackle the country’s security challenges.

The Senate ad-Hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution had recently invited Nigerians to submit a memorandum to assist the further alteration of some provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

At the briefing, NEF queried the value of such efforts in the past and described the proposed review of the constitution as a predictable waste of time, resources and energy.

Baba-Ahmed said: “Nothing fundamental or of any value has come out of these grand schemes to exploit our collective desire to address our political and economic fundamentals. This National Assembly is also following suit, and it should not be encouraged on this path.

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“Nigeria’s future rests largely on its willingness to address major constraints to equity and justice, a functional structure, consistent good governance, security for all citizens, a credible electoral process, growing understanding between and among all groups and an economy that grows and narrows inequalities between and classes and regions.

“The legislature and executive branches of government have large quantities of reviews, recommendations and reports from past attempts at amending the constitution.

“These represent enough resources for a review if the legislature is serious about this vital national priority.

“Even this is not likely to produce a genuine effort to address the basic requirements of securing a stable, secure and prosperous Nigeria, because both arms of this administration are unlikely to accept to put through wide-ranging reviews of the constitution.

“The Forum specifically reminds legislators and other leaders from the North that security of our communities, reduction of crushing poverty and widening distrust among communities should be their priorities.”

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