TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND CHAIRMAN, SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE REVIEW OF THE 1999 CONSTITUTION, SENATOR IKE EKWEREMADU, CFR ON THE PROGRESS OF THE EXERCISE HELD ON July 23, 2013.

INTRODUCTION

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, I thank you for joining us at this briefing aimed at summarizing the work of the Committee so far. But more importantly, I want to thank Distinguished Senators, the entire national Assembly, the Nigerian public, members of the media, the Civil Society, and the international community who have vested confidence in us and partnered with us on this project till the passage of the Bill.

WE KEPT TO TIME

As you are aware, the Senate has just passed the Bill for and Act to Further Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and for other Matters Connected Therewith, 2013. This is keeping to our assurances to Nigerians that we would pass the Bill by July 2013.

RECOMMENDED AMENDMENTS THAT PASSED

The Committee proposed a total of 31 clauses affecting 26 Sections and Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution. While some clauses were passed in their entirety, some clauses were passed in part, while distinguished senators, in their wisdom, did not pass some clauses. This is not an exception because each Senator voted accordingly to his/her conscience, and mandate of his or her constituents, and the overall national interest.

Highlights of items successfully passed through the Third Reading:

1.   Alteration of Section 9 to straighten the provisions of Constitution on procedure for constitution amendment by removing presidential assent.

2.   Alteration of Section 9 to provide for procedure for drafting an entirely new constitution. This is indeed one of the major achievements of the current exercise. The Constitution currently provides for its amendment. If this particular amendment passes through the remaining processes, it means that Nigerians can make, enact, and give themselves an entirely new constitution. This amendment also makes provision for a referendum, which addresses the concerns of various groups of giving Nigerians the final say in constitution making processes.

3.   Alteration of Section 26(2)(a) on Citizenship Registration to substitute the word ?woman? with ?person? to carter for gender equity.

4.   Alteration of Section 42(1) dealing with the right to freedom from discrimination by adding the word ?disability?, so that in addition to non discrimination by reason of ethnic group, place of origin, sex, etc, physically challenged members of the society will also be free from discrimination by reason of their disability.

5.   Alteration of Section 58 to strengthen the legislative arm and ensure timely passage of Bills by making it compulsory for the President to signify assent or withholding of assent within 30 days failing which the

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