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Published On: Mon, Jun 23rd, 2014

Confab: Delegates want referendum in designing a new constitution

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Some delegates to the National Conference yesterday called for the outcome of the conference to be subjected to a referendum that would lead to a new constitution to replace the 1999 Constitution.

The delegates made the call while proposing amendments to a report of the conference Committee on Law, Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Reforms during a plenary in Abuja.

The committee in its 117 page report, expressed concern about the legal status of the National Conference and its outcome.

It stated that there was a legal vacuum that needed to be filled because Nigerians were not comfortable with the 1999 Constitution, saying it was a creation of the military.

The committee urged the conference to draft a bill for an amendment of the 1999 Constitution or emergence of an entirely new constitution.

The committee’s report also recommended that the president should forward the proposed draft bill to the National Assembly for further actions.

“In this regard, a form of interface with the National Assembly should be initiated by the president.

“Conference recommendations should be taken to the court of public opinion or referendum, if the need arises,’’ the report stated.

One of the delegates, Steve Aluko, representing Civil Society Organisations (CSO) commended the courage of the committee in proposing a referendum if needed.

He said there was no doubt that the present constitution required a replacement, adding that in view of this, there was need to subject conference outcome to a referendum.

“What will come out of this conference should stand the test of the popularity of a referendum,” he said.


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