The National Assembly is set to pass the 1999 Constitution Amendment Bill and transmit the same to the state Houses of Assembly by February for concurrence.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, made this known on Tuesday in his opening address as lawmakers held the first plenary in the New Year.
Gbajabiamila said the House Committee on Constitution Review, which is chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, planned to have the bills transmitted to the states by next month.
To amend the Constitution, a bill has to get the approval of two-thirds of members of each of the Senate and the House of Representatives as well as the state Houses of Assembly.
The Senate has 109 members and the House 360, while there are 36 states in the federation.
Gbajabiamila said, “Our current constitutional review effort is as crucial as the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill. Amending our nation’s constitution to address long-standing areas of disagreement and remove the vestiges of militarism from our democracy is one of the central commitments we made in the 9th House. It is a commitment we must meet or risk the harsh judgment of history.
“Therefore, we will prioritise action to pass the Constitution Amendment Bill in the House of Representatives. Fortunately, we are in the final stages of that effort and will shortly conclude this all-important work.
“According to the Deputy Speaker, the first set of amendments will be forwarded to the state assemblies for consideration before the end of February.”
Also, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his address, said, “The review of the 1999 Constitution is a major plank of our legislature agenda. Our Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution has done so much work so far. Working with their counterparts in the House of Representatives, the report of the committee will be presented to the Senate for consideration soon.
“The Senate will consider the report and the National Assembly will communicate to the state Houses of Assembly within the first quarter of this year.”