Constitution amendment: A’Ibom Assembly votes in support of legislative autonomy

Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has voted in support of the independence of the legislature, independent candidature, the change of name of the Nigeria Police Force to the ” Nigerian Police” to reflect their core mandate of providing civil services, and the strengthening of the judiciary for effective dispensation of justice in the Nigerian constitution.

The exercise which is part of the ongoing constitutional amendment process which seeks to alter some provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, also saw the lawmakers voting for the reduction in age of qualification for the office of the President, and membership of the House of Representatives and state Assemblies, the inclusion of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in the constitution, the provision of sufficient time for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to conduct bye-elections and provide grounds for de-registration of political parties, as well as to make provisions for pre-election matters and disputes.

Lawmakers also voted for the early presentation and passage of Appropriation bills, the disqualification of of a person who was sworn-in as President or Governor to complete the term of the elected President or Governor from being elected to the same office for more than a single term. Fifteen items were considered by the lawmakers in the fourth alteration bills presented to the House on Wednesday at plenary.

The House in a resolution adopted the votes on the alteration of items following a motion moved by the Leader of the House, Sir. Udo Kierian Akpan and seconded by Hon. Otuekong Nse Essien. Chairman of the ad-hoc committee on constitution amendment, Sir. Udo Kierian had while submitting his report, briefed the House on the position of Akwa people on the items listed for alteration, and urged his colleagues to align with their wishes.

In his remarks, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Barr Onofiok Luke described the exercise as being in accordance with the constitutional mandate of the lawmakers.

“Honourable colleagues, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, We have just voted for the amendment of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) to reposition our democracy and chart the way forward for our dear nation. This is in accordance with our constitutional mandate to amend the constitution as clearly provided for in section 9(1),(2) and (3) of the constitution”.

Luke reminded that the exercise was in response to agitations by the people for the enthronement of good governance in the Nation’s polity. “These have driven the 6th Akwa Ibom Assembly to dispassionately review our nation’s constitution and vote on those items in line with what we consider imperative for the good governance”.
The Speaker directed the Clerk of the House to forward the resolutions of the Assembly to National Assembly.

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