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JUST IN: New constitution will be ready in 24 months, says Kalu

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Honourable Benjamin Kalu, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and chairman of the House Committee on Constitution Review, announced on Monday, February 26, that the Nigeria’s new constitution will be ready for presidential assent in the next 24 months.

He said this while speaking at the official inauguration of the House Committee on the review of the 1999 constitution.

The Deputy Speaker said the plan to get a new Constitution available is to give the President time to study the alterations before signing them into law away from the busy schedule of election year.

He said, “Our constitution, the foundation of our democracy, stands as a testament to our collective aspirations for a just, equitable, and prosperous society. Yet, as we confront the realities of the 21st century, it is incumbent upon us to recognize the imperative for constitutional reform, to ensure that our laws reflect our people’s evolving needs and aspirations.”

Speaking further, Kalu said the House currently has received bill proposals for the establishment of state police; state access to mines; increased participation of women in politics; clear specification of the taxes/levies to be collected by each tier of government and the provision for the office of the Mayor of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.

Also, he said several bill proposals that were passed, but did not make the president’s assent during the fifth constitution alterations have been brought back to the current amendment, including powers of the National Assembly and State Assemblies to summon the President and State governors, and requirements of the government to direct policies towards ensuring the rights to food and food security.

Kalu acknowledged amendments to the constitution carried out by previous assemblies, which include financial independence of State Houses of Assembly and State Judiciary; redesignating “Prisons” as “Correctional Services” and then transferring them from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list to enable the state’s participation; transferring “railways” from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list; enabling states to generate, transmit, and distribute electricity in areas covered by the national grid; and requiring the President and Governors to submit the names of persons nominated as Ministers or Commissioners within sixty days of taking the oath of office for confirmation by the Senate or State House of Assembly.

He said the committee is ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, leveraging the power of technology, social media, and inclusive engagement, we will ensure that every voice is heard, every perspective is considered, and every citizen is empowered to participate in the shaping of our nation’s future.

“As we embark on this journey, let us draw inspiration from the words of great leaders who have come before us. Let us remember the wisdom of Tafawa Balewa, who spoke of the necessity of unity and collaboration in our efforts to build a brighter future.

“Together, let us reaffirm our commitment to democracy, justice, and progress. Together, let us rise to the challenge and build a brighter future for Nigeria, a future that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

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