9 November 2012

Nigeria: Constitution Review - NLC, Others Hail House

Photo: Vanguard
House of Representatives

The people's public sessions on the constitution review by the House of Representatives billed for tomorrow across the 360 federal constituencies of the country have continued to receive support and commendation from stakeholders.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), international development partners like the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, women and youth groups as well as representatives of political parties praised the participatory and grassroots-oriented approach of the House of Representatives in amending the 1999 Constitution.

Speaking at the official commencement of the People's Public Sessions which was held at the National Assembly in Abuja yesterday, President of the NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, commended the initiative on behalf of the entire Nigerian workers, describing it as a right step towards achieving a truly people's constitution.

"The people's public sessions initiative is an idea that debunks the calls for Sovereign National Conference (SNC)," he said.

The NLC President, who led a team of affiliate council workers unions from 27 different countries to the event, also endorsed the guidelines set out for the programme, saying they would ensure transparency.

He, however, called for attention to be paid to the issue of a national minimum wage for workers in the country while pledging the full support of the NLC for the exercise.

Speaking at the occasion, Head of DFID in Nigeria, Richard Montgomery, described the public sessions as "incredibly commendable initiative," and pledged the continued support of his organisation for the constitutional amendment process of the House of Representatives.

Also speaking at the occasion, leader of Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE) who represented civil society organisations, praised the efforts of the House of Representatives.

According to him, "the peoples' public session is giving democracy a rejuvenating slogan that CSOs will continue to harp upon even after the programme."

National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh who represented the PDP said the party is fully in support of the peoples' public hearings at the constituencies. "There is no body that is better qualified than the House of Representatives to embark on this exercise. It will help in deepening our democracy," he said.

Also speaking in support of the public hearing sessions were president of the National Council for Women Societies (NCWS), Mrs. Nkechi Mba, President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Alhaji Garba Mohammed, and president of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), among others.

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