Some politicians in Lagos yesterday criticised the plan by the House of Representatives to amend “all extant and archaic laws’’ in the Constitution.
The politicians told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the lawmakers had every opportunity to have done so before now.
Their reaction came on the heels of a statement credited to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Emeka Ihedioha.
Ihedioha had said the Speaker, Malam Aminu Tambuwal, had directed the National Institute of Legislative Studies (NILS) and House Committee on Justice to initiate a wholesome review of archaic laws.
The Deputy Speaker spoke at a roundtable discussion on Law Reform in Nigeria, organised by NILS, in collaboration with the National Assembly’s Committees on Judiciary and Justice in Abuja.
He said there were many laws made by the military which have become obsolete and were inconsistent with one another.
In reaction, the founder of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Dr Frederick Fasheun, said the House of Representatives’ members wanted to make the National Confab less powerful.
“Those who are making such a suggestion want to undermine the integrity of the confab.
“They have been in the House for many years and nothing stopped them from going for a total review of the Constitution if they found it unacceptable.
“Nothing stopped them from calling a meeting of members to say `look, all these laws are not good for the country’,” he said.
Fasheun advised the lawmakers to allow the confab delegates to concentrate and deliver on their mandate.
Also speaking, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Mr Denis Aghanya, also aligned himself with Fasheun’s position that the lawmakers’ action would undermine the confab’s outcome.
“To the lawmakers, the confab is trying to take away their activity and make less powerful their integrity,” he said.
Alhaji Yahaya Ndu of the Peoples Movement for a New Nigeria (PMNN), a political group, however advised the lawmakers to avoid creating a scene which would cause confusion in the country.
He said even before President Goodluck Jonathan’s approval of a National Conference, it was the place of the National Assembly to convene a National Conference.
“This is something which they failed to do,’’ Ndu said.
He said the lawmakers should have made a law empowering a National Conference and stating the exact modalities and how the proceedings could be turned into law.(NAN)