In keeping with one of its cardinal legislative mandates, the Senate on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 set the stage rolling to by resolving to harmonize the different versions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. The move came via a Motion titled “Harmonizing the different versions and copies of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in circulation into one authentic whole”, sponsored by Sen. Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North).
Accordingly, the Chamber recognized that the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria came into force on May, 29, 1999 with eight chapters, seven schedules and three hundred and twenty sections. The Senate is also aware that the Constitution is the grand norm from which all other laws, instruments and institutions derive their authority, legitimacy and powers; knowing that the 1999 Constitution has gone through three successful alterations in July, November 2010 and March 2011. The Motion scaled through with a single resolution below:
i) Mandate the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to liaise with the National Judicial Council, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and the Law Reform Commission to constitute a Law Review Committee to withdraw the copies of the different versions of the Constitution in circulation and authorize the printing and distribution of the authentic, consolidated Constitution of the Federation with the different alterations embedded where they belong to make the Constitution one whole document to guide the generality of the Nigerian populace and the International Community. The Motion has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal matters to report back to the Senate.
Similarly, the Red Chamber has equally deliberated upon and passed a second Motion titled “Urgent need for the Nigeria Police and other security Agencies to intervene in the increased rate of kidnapping in the Lagos East Senatorial District and secure the waterways, sponsored by Sen. Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos East).
Sen. Ashafa noted with urgent and grave concern the recent increase in the activities of criminal syndicates who specialize in kidnapping and militant activities in and around the communities in Lagos East Senatorial District, particularly Epe, Ikorodu, Ibeju Lekki Local Government Areas. He added that the activities of the criminals have forced law abiding residents of the coastal /riverine communities to flee the areas and their livelihood out of fear.
The law-maker further expressed concern that on Friday, April 7, 2017, one Mr. Ademola Salami, aged 42 and a plank dealer was kidnapped in Ise Community in Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area by seven dare devil abductors and escaped in a gun-boat via the river. The situation deteriorated that prominent citizens of the community including His Royal Highness, Kabiyesi Orise of Ise, Oba Ganiyu Adegbesan had to vacate the community due to high insecurity.
The Upper Legislative Chamber is further alarmed that the recent kidnap incidents have assumed a totally new and disturbing dimension because on the 9th April, 2017, an Army Captain, identified as Muhammed, four Policemen and a civilian lost their lives after suspected militants attacked Ishawo, in Ikorodu area of Lagos State. The late security operatives were responding to a distress call after the militants raided and kidnapped some residents on the Woodland Estate, close to Ishawo creeks in about ten speedboats. Consequently, the Motion sailed through with four prayers below:
i) Advise the Federal Government to direct the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to immediately instruct the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State to immediately beef up the strength of the Task Force already on ground in order to effectively secure all the affected creeks and communities.
ii) Advise the Federal Government to direct the IGP to immediately make available sufficient helicopters for aerial surveillance and gunboats to the Marine Police Department of the Lagos State Police Command to enable it effectively tackle the activities of militants.
iii) Urge the Army, Navy and other security Agencies to assist the Nigeria Police Force in its quest to rid Lagos State, particularly the creeks in Lagos East Senatorial District of criminals’ syndicates making use of its waterways to perpetrate crimes.
iv) Urge the Federal Government to extend such security surveillance to other parts of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Senate has debated and passed for second reading three Bills. The legislation that scaled through to the next legislative stage include:
1) A Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of the Federal University of Education, Zaria and for other matters connected therewith, 2017 (S.B. 400), sponsored by Sen. Barau Jibrin (Kano North). The Bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND to report in four weeks.
2) A Bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria Arabic Language Village, Ngala and for other related matter, 2017 (S.B. 386), sponsored by Sen. Baba Kaka Garbai (Borno Central). The legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND to report back in four weeks.
3) A Bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria French Language Village, Badagry and other related matters therewith, 2017 (S.B. 387), sponsored by Sen. Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos East). The Bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND to report back in four weeks.
Nevertheless, the Upper Legislative Chamber has adjourned sitting for this year’s Easter break to on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.