By Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Spokesman of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, has said that due to paucity of funds stalling the activities of the National Assembly Joint Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, certain adjustments will be made to the expenses of the National Assembly to make sure that the objective is met.
This is as he revealed that a new police reform bill will be presented to the floor of the House in two weeks.
Speaking to THISDAY over the weekend, Kalu said constitution review is one of the 9th Assembly’s top legislative agenda, which Nigerians are looking forward to adding that the lawmakers will ensure it comes to pass.
He said: ”Like you know, paucity of funds has always been the problem of National Assembly. Expectation is high, but I’m sure that because of its political will, the 9th Assembly is placing the constitution review on the front burner. Certain adjustments will be made to prioritize this particular objective and adjustment will be made to the expenses of the National Assembly to make sure that the objective is met. Because It’s one of the top in our legislative agenda, Nigerians are looking forward to that and we will put our money where our mouth is in funding this.”
Speaking on whether the committee is likely to be in tandem with the Senate and complete everything by June 2021, the House spokesman said it’s possible as the committee met last week, and they are working on the programme of action.
Kalu however said the review is not going to be compromised by speed, as the members of the committee will ensure a thorough job to harness the ambitions and desires of Nigerians.
According to him, ”The committee is under a serious minded, well experienced chairman, that’s the deputy speaker, Hon. Idris Wase. If you know him very well, you know that he operates with the speed of light when he’s handling responsibilities. So I can assure you that he’s the right person for this all important committee. He has the leadership skills to be able to advance the constitution review expectations of Nigerians. So June or July, whatever it is, it’s going to be fast, as fast as possible.”
On what the House is doing regarding the demands for police reform, he disclosed that the House in two weeks, will be presenting a Bill on Police Reform and other related matters.
”This is in line with the resolution we raised in October, we also hope to use the budget to support Mr President in actualizing some of these five-point demands of EndSARS protesters. We’re using this budget to make sure that the youth element is captured in it. It may not have been so rosy for the youths in the country, but let us also give credit that not too young to run Bill was passed by this administration in his first time in office.
“What we’re trying to do now is to see how we can energize and enable these youths to be positioned to even enjoy the benefits of this not too young to run Bill. Because most of them know that the Bill is there but they don’t have the will to push in and enjoy, by incorporating and positioning them, creating economic opportunities for them, integrating them into governance, they will become active participants on how things are done in this country,” Kalu added.