10 November 2012

Nigeria: Constitution Review - CAN, NLC, Others Threaten to Hold Own Session

A coalition of 15 civil society organisations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has threatened to convoke an alternative and "autonomous people's session" for FCT residents if members representing the FCT fail to organise or shabbily conduct the proposed public hearing on constitution review.

The two lawmakers representing federal constituencies in the FCT are Hon. Zephaniah Jisalo (AMAC/Bwari) and Hon. DobiIsah (Abaji/Gwagwalada/Kuje/Kwali).

The coalition, which comprises of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and others, told journalists in Abuja that the reluctance of both lawmakers to carry them along smacked of a hidden agenda.

According to the CAN representative, Barrister Godswill Iloke, who spoke for the coalition, "We fear that the two lawmakers are working at cross purposes with the aspirations of the House leadership to bring the process of constitution amendment closer to Nigerians, especially those at the grassroots.

"This suggests a hidden agenda. It is either the two legislators have no desire whatsoever to hold the Peoples Session on Constitution Review in their constituencies or lack the capacity to organise an inclusive public hearing. Further proof is the secrecy surrounding the constituency offices of the three lawmakers representing the FCT in the Senate and House of Representatives.

Ordinarily, our letters should have been sent to constituency offices but as a result of the paucity of information on this, our letters had to be sent to the National Assembly. Whatever is the case, there cannot be a Peoples Session in the FCT without the people of the FCT."

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