This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Constitution Review - NLC Demands Release of Report On Public Hearing

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the National Assembly to make public the report of the public hearing held across the country on the review of the 1999 Constitution.

The Congress warned the House of Representatives not to yield to pressure from some quarters, particularly the Governors' Forum whom it alleged is against some popular proposals on critical sections of the constitution most Nigerians advocated should be included in the new constitution.

President of the NLC, Abdulwahed Omar, in a statement said the signals coming from the House on the review of the constitution was disturbing, warning the lawmakers not to truncate the will of the Nigerian people.

Omar specifically warned that the National Assembly should not allow itself to be used to impose tenure elongation for any political office, including the office of the president and governor as Nigerians have consistently opposed it.

"We warn that the National Assembly should not allow itself to be used to impose tenure elongation for any political office, including the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Office of Governor etc, as Nigerians have consistently opposed this since it was fraudulently introduced to public discourse and legislative attention during the Obasanjo administration. We remain opposed to it and will resist any attempt to smuggle it into the report because Nigerians have consistently been opposed to it," Omar said.

He also canvassed that "labour and industrial relations matters must remain in the exclusive list as it is in the 1999 Constitution and must not be tampered with as it is in the interest of industrial peace and the principles of tripartism which promotes transparency, fairness, and result oriented collective bargaining."

The NLC president further reiterated labour's support for local government autonomy in the new constitution, adding this would bring governance closer to the people.

"The local governments are closer to the mass of our people and it is only when they are fully independent that the Nigerian people can enjoy the benefits of democracy.

"Rather than continue to tie the local governments to the whims and caprices of state governments, the constitution should ensure funds meant for local governments go directly to them and all funds and other resources generated by the local governments should be managed by the local governments and not the state governments.

"This is one way we can deepen democracy in Nigeria and ensure a working federal system that will benefit the Nigerian people," he added.

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