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Constitution Review: N’Assembly holds no predetermined position on any issue – Lawan

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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the National Assembly holds no predetermined position on any issue of interest to Nigerians ahead of moves to amend the 1999 Constitution.

Lawan made this known during plenary on Tuesday, in his remarks after reading a letter signed by the Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, to announce the chairmanship composition to oversee a two-day public hearing across the six geo-political zones on proposals to alter the provisions of the 1999 constitution.

According to Lawan, the exercise would avail Nigerians the opportunity to make submissions on any issue of interest, adding that the National Assembly on its part, would prioritize such issues to enhance the welfare and security of citizens.

He said: “Distinguished colleagues, this is a very important exercise for our country, and I’ll take this opportunity to appeal to all Nigerians who have one issue or the other  that they think the Constitution review of the senate should know and take note and address.

“It’s an opportunity to go to the Centre nearest to you. We are open, we are plain, we don’t have any preconceived or predetermined position on anything.

“The numerous issues that Nigerians feel should to be addressed to make Nigeria better, to make citizens secured, and enhance the welfare of our people are topmost in our consideration.

“Because of this so important assignment, by this very important Committee of the Senate, the Senate will suspend plenary throughout next week.

“This is to enable not only the committee members, but the rest of us who are not even members of the Constitution Review Committee to participate in the exercise.

“Once again, we wish our committee on the review of the constitution the best of outing, and Nigerians should take every possible opportunity to be there to present whatever they feel strongly about on how this country could be better. [And] we are welcoming every suggestion and issue.”

The zonal public hearing on proposals to alter the provisions of the 1999 constitution, according to the Senate President, would commence next week and is scheduled to hold in two Centres in each of the six Geo-political zones in the country, from Wednesday 26th to Thursday 27th of May, 2021.

In North Central, the Jos Centres consisting of Plateau, Nasarawa and Benue States would be chaired by Senator Abdullahi Adamu; while the Minna Centre consisting of Niger, Kwara, Kogi and FCT is to be chaired Senator Abdullahi Sabi Aliyu.

The North-East Centre, which is split into the Bauchi Centre (Bauchi, Yobe and Borno); and Gombe Centre (Gombe, Taraba and Adamawa) are to be chaired by Senators Abubakar Kyari and Mohammed Danjuma Goje.

In the North-West, the Kaduna Centre which covers Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa and Katsina States, has as its Chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya; and the Sokoto Centre covering Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States, to be chaired by Senator Muhammed Aliero.

Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, is expected to chair the Owerri Centre which covers Imo and Abia States, while the second centre in Enugu to cover Enugu, Ebonyi and Anambra states under the South-East Geo-political zone would be chaired by Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

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Defence and Security

Army Has No Desire To Truncate Nigeria’s Democracy — COAS

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Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja
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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, on Tuesday, restated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to defend the nation’s choice of government, democracy.

Addressing participants at a seminar on career planning and management organised by the Army headquarters, the COAS said the Army has no plans to truncate democracy in the country.

He charged officers of the Nigerian Army to remain above board in the discharge of their professional duties.

“Permit me to seize this opportunity to reiterate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria, particularly the Nigerian Army has come to terms with the country’s choice of democracy as the preferred system of governance,” he said during his address to officers.

“We are therefore agents of democracy and have no desire to truncate it. The Nigerian Army will continue to defend our constitution and not suspend it for whatever reason.

“It is the duty of our elected leaders to lead while the military does its job as enshrined in our constitution. Nigerian Army personnel must therefore remain professional and be above board as they discharge their constitutional duties.”

The commitment by the COAS followed the series of putsches in West and Central Africa which have experienced at least seven military takeovers in the last four years.

Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and most recently, Niger Republic — all members of the Economic Community of Western African States ( ECOWAS) — have pulled out from the regional bloc in last four years. Outside of West Africa, Chad and Sudan also experienced military coups in 2021.

 

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Economic: Defence Chief Warns Coup Advocates

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The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, has warned against advocating for a coup due to economic hardship, emphasizing patience and the superiority of democracy.

He made this known on Thursday while speaking with journalists at the Nigerian Army 6 Division Headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, after commissioning some building projects.

General Musa urged individuals promoting military takeover to cease such statements.

The Chief of Defence Staff had earlier commissioned the newly constructed Entrance Gate and Officers Transit Accommodation at the 6 Division Headquarters.

Protests have occurred in Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Niger and some parts of the country in the last few weeks over the hardship experienced in the country as Nigerians lament food inflation, high cost of living, amongst other harsh living conditions occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy, forex crisis, amongst others.

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Defence and Security

Security: Bill To Introduce State Police Scales Second Reading

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Federal House of Representatives
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A Constitution Amendment Bill to introduce state police has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which was sponsored by 13 members of the House, enjoyed support from majority of the lawmakers in the green chamber who believed that concerns of political victimisation by state governors, should take the backseat to the current state of insecurity across the country.

Last week, President Bola Tinubu and 36 state governors considered the creation of state police as solution to the menacing security challenges like kidnapping and banditry ubiquitous in the country.

State police has been a subject of controversy since the Seventh National Assembly and has failed to make it through the amendment phase.

Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had recently restated their position on state policing, as the solution to the country’s worsening security situation, lamenting that Nigeria is “almost on the road to Venezuela”.

Also, regional socio-political groups such as Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum, and the Northern Elders’ Forum, have repeatedly called for state police as solution the myriad of increasing security challenges confronting the nation.

Already, states in the South-West geopolitical zone have formed the Amotekun while their counterparts in the South-East also created state-owned security outfit Ebube Agu. The Benue Guards has also been operational in Benue State in the North Central while states like Katsina, Zamfara and other bandit-prone sub-nationals have also come up with similar state-established outfits.

However, these outfits have not been effective as anticipated as they don’t have the backing of the Federal Government or the Presidency while states continue to demand that Amotekun, Ebube Agu and others are granted license to bear assault rifles like AK-47 to confront lethal gun-toting marauders.

 

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