July 11, 2012 by John Alechenu
Senate Committee on the Review of the Constitution is to give serious attention to clauses dealing with indigene-residency, fiscal federalism and local government reforms in its constitution amendment.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, said this while opening a two-day UNDP National Conference on advancing the role of the media in the 1999 Constitution review in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said, “These priority areas were mainly derived from submissions by Nigerians during the sixth National Assembly.
“Because, we see the Constitutional Review project as a continuum, other factors informing these priority areas are the emerging realities in the polity as well as issues set in the front burner by you, the media.
“I’m happy to inform you that the National Assembly is resolved and upbeat about building upon the successes and experience recorded by the sixth Assembly.
“The Senate Committee on Constitution Review has articulated an array of priority areas in the current constitution review project.
“They include: devolution of powers, state creation, giving Constitutional backing to the six geo-political zone arrangements, constitutional role for traditional rulers and local government reforms.
“Other areas are: fiscal federalism, immunity clause, the Nigerian Police Judicial/Executive protection of Executive offices, Gender and Special Groups, Mayoral status for the Federal Capital Territory and Residency and Indigenes provisions.”
Ekweremadu assured Nigerians that the committee would be guided by the force of argument and the strong opinion of a majority of Nigerians and development partners.
According to him, the National Assembly is prepared to give all stakeholders an avenue to actively contribute to the process.
Also, the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, urged the media to discharge their professional duties in line with their ethics.
He said, “What we must discuss today is the need for us as professionals to agree on a template of ethics and regulation that will warrant the continous independence of the media vis-à-vis media owners and politics.”
The pioneer chairman/chief executive of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, Dr. Tom Adaba, decried the growing state of insecurity in the country.
He said, “The nation has, since 1999 been bedeviled with crisis of one dimension or the other in the different federating parts.
“These crises have today, metamorphosed into what is now called as terrorism. Thousands of people have been killed as a result of these senseless crises.
“Probe panels were set up but none of such reports has been publicised and executed for fear of ethnic or religious sentiments.”
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