Senate rules out new Constitution

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The yesterday ruled out the possibility of the producing a brand Constitution for Nigeria.

gave reasons.

of the Committee on the of the 1999 Constitution, Ovie Omo-Agege, gave the hint in his welcome address at the Public Hearing on the of the Constitution in Abuja.

Many eminent Nigerians and groups, including Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afe Babalola (SAN) and former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, have, at various times, advised the to establish a process that would lead to the making of a Constitution for the country.

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) had also called for a constitution for the country.

But Omo-Agege said while the agitations were germane, the 1999 Constitution (as amended) does not include a clause on how to a fresh document.

He said: “As we work towards an inclusive amendment process underpinned by the public good, free from manipulations by self-interested or partisan actors and not dominated by destructive or short-term motives, encourage you all to your inputs with candour and be guided, very importantly, by national interest.

“We are to listen closely to every view and reflect on every proposal and give due consideration to every contribution.

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“Now, some of our compatriots have urged that rather than amend the Constitution, we should a new one altogether.

“We respect this opinion, and we believe is a most desirable proposition. However, we are conducting this exercise in accordance with the extant legal order, which is the 1999 Constitution.

“Specifically, Section 9 of the Constitution empowers the National to alter the provisions of the Constitution and prescribes the manner in which is to be done.

“Unfortunately, it does not similar provision or provide mechanism for replacing or re-writing an entirely new Constitution.

“To embark on any process without prior alteration of Section 9 of the Constitution to provide the mode which an entirely new Constitution could be made would amount to gross violation of our oath of allegiance to the Constitution.

“In other words, it take a new constitutional amendment to be able to give Nigerians a most desired new constitution. It would be unconstitutional to do otherwise.”