By Onyebuchi Ezigbo inÂ Abuja
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yusuf Lasun has said that work on Bills seeking to amend the 1999 constitution will not be through until February or March next year.
Speaking at the opening of a one-day retreat for members of the House Committee onÂ constitutional amendment organised in collaboration with the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) in Abuja,Â Lasun assured that that they were going to conclude action on the Bill within the third year of this administration because of its political implication.
“Because at that point, the most important thing for the two chambers will be Ad Hoc Committees on Constitutional Review. So if we are able to do that within the two, three months and that will be getting to November; by the time we passed those things to State House of Assemblies and we give them another three months, so it can be earlier than February/March next year,” he said.
The retreat is specifically meant to consider report of the consultants hired by the National Assembly on Bills on constitutional review.
He said that so far the House Committee on Â amendment to the constitution had considered more than 50 bills.
Explaining further, the Deputy Speaker said: “Constitution amendment was quite different from bills formation, adding, â€œLike whatever we do here today, will now finally go to the floor of the House, we send them as bills, then discuss them, vote on them, and those we voted on and passed the two third requirement will now be sent to the State House of Assemblies and the State House of Assemblies will now vote on them.Â
“And at that point, we require at least two third number of the State Assemblies to concur on each particular bill before they can come back and we finally work on it before it becomes an amended part.Â
So it is still a long process and if we follow our programme very diligently, I think it cannot be earlier than February/March next year,” he added.
On Local Government autonomy, Lasun said the committee would push for financial autonomy for the third tier of government.
He however said that the issue was a very dicey one because it would involve amending so many sections of the constitution.