Oct 5, 2015

HOW TO AMEND THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION



Credits - Naij.com


Usman could not believe his ears as he listened to the morning news update in his Toyota Camry while driving to drop the kids off in school. According to the reporter, the Senate would begin the process of amending the Constitution to include a clause granting immunity from prosecution to the Senate President, the Speaker of the House and the Chief Justice. Usman immediately felt bitter, he and his friends had always concluded that the Senate only thought about themselves and never about the common man. They had always argued that there were a number of provisions in the Constitution which needed to be reformed to make the law more agreeable with the changing society but granting immunity to more public officials was not in their books, they were rather of the opinion that the immunity clause should be totally removed from the Constitution. 


On arriving, at the office, Usman decided to place a call to his lawyer Felix to inquire what the procedure for amending the constitution was. Felix informed Usman that the procedure for amending the Nigerian Constitution could be found in Section 9 of the Constitution itself. It states that;

9. (1) The National Assembly may, subject to the provision of this section, alter any of the provisions of this Constitution. 

(2) An Act of the National Assembly for the alteration of this Constitution, not being an Act to which section 8(State creation & boundaries) of this Constitution applies, shall not be passed in either House of the National Assembly unless the proposal is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of that House and approved by resolution of the Houses of Assembly of not less than two-thirds of all the States. 

(3) An Act of the National Assembly for the purpose of altering the provisions of this section, section 8 or Chapter IV(Fundamental Human Rights) of this Constitution shall not be passed by either House of the National Assembly unless the proposal is approved by the votes of not less than four-fifths majority of all the members of each House, and also approved by resolution of the House of Assembly of not less than two-third of all States. 

(4) For the purposes of section 8 of this Constitution and of subsections (2) and (3) of this section, the number of members of each House of the National Assembly shall, notwithstanding any vacancy, be deemed to be the number of members specified in sections 48 and 49 of this Constitution.

The above serves as the provision of the Constitution regarding its alteration. It specifically states the number of members of the Senate and the State House of  Assembly need to support a proposal to amend the Constitution before it could be rightfully altered. 

Usman was quite surprised to find out that altering the Constitution was quite a cumbersome process and was secretly hoping that the Senate was not successful in its new bid to include an immunity clause for any more public officials and if the Senate insisted on the proposal, he will be the first to start a petition asking that the representatives of his constituencies be recalled.

Adedunmade Onibokun Esq
@adedunmade


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