Constitution Amendment: Falana Wants Stakeholders Meeting

Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to convene an urgent meeting between him and the leadership of the National Assembly as well as other stakeholders to avert a stalemate in the ongoing constitutional amendment.

Falana’s position is coming on the heels of last week’s face off between the president and the federal lawmakers, following the former’s refusal to assent to the 4th amendment to the 1999 constitution.

In a letter addressed to both chambers of the National Assembly last week, Jonathan had challenged the procedure and the substance of the proposed amendment of the constitution.

But in a statement he issued in this regard yesterday, Falana noted that considering the enormous resources invested in the constitutional review, President Jonathan “ought to have convened a meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly with a view to ironing out the grey areas”.

The constitutional lawyer warned that if care was not taken, “the over 70 proposed amendments proposed by the legislators may suffer the same fate” like the 108 amendments of the constitution that were thrown away with the third term agenda of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006.

He said, “Therefore, President Jonathan should be advised to convene an urgent meeting of all the stakeholders with a view to removing the controversial clauses from the proposed amendment. Once that is done the National Assembly should pass the bill and send it back to the President for his assent.

“Instead of throwing out the baby with the bath- water the provisions of the 4th amendment to the Constitution should be supported to the extent that it has recognized the right of the Nigerian people to enforce their socio-economic rights enshrined in chapter two of the Constitution”.

Falana added that, while it was to the utter embarrassment of the National Assembly that Jonathan decided to withhold his assent to 4th amendment to the constitution, the federal lawmakers also “have themselves to blame for engaging in the instalmental amendments of a Constitution imposed on the Nigerian people by military dictators.

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