By Kingsley Okoye/Naomi Sharang
Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria has sought for an amendment to impeachment procedures of Speakers’ of State Houses of Assembly.
Hon. Abdullahi Wuse, the Speaker of Niger State House of Assembly, made the call in Abuja on Thursday at the ongoing National public hearing on review of the 1999 Constitution.
Abdullahi, who spoke on behalf of conference of speakers of state legislatures, said there was the need to strengthen legislative procedures of removing a speaker.
He said the process of removing a speaker of a house of assembly without fair hearing was an embarrassing situation that had always played out in Nigeria.
“The conference is proposing an amendment to section 92(c) of the constitution.
“The speakers deserve fair hearing and not for those members to come up and remove the speaker without hearing from the speaker.
“So, we are calling for the procedure where the speaker should be heard and the allegation properly investigated and, if found indicted, then a speaker can be removed.”
He also said the current standard on issue of financial autonomy had brought untold hardship to people, hence the proposed amendment to section 123(3) to reflect implementation of financial autonomy.
“We have inserted the issue of the allocation committee for each state.
“We also provided how the accounts of the judiciary and state assemblies can be run.
“This essentially is the amendment that is sought for in section 123(4) by the conference of speakers, it is essentially to strengthen that institution.
“In addition to that, we have also called for amendment of part 2 of the third schedule of the constitution where you have state executive bodies.
“Because the state Houses of Assembly Service Commission cannot be included in view of the need to have autonomy in the state assemblies.
“The state houses of assembly service commission need to be included in that schedule where you have state executive bodies.
“We have also proposed an amendment to chapter 1 part 2, section 5 of the Constitution calling for state police.’’
He also said the conference was proposing devolution of power to states and local governments on issues relating to mineral resources, mining, geological survey and aviation among others.
According to him, the conference believes that there is the need to strengthen the local government administration.
This, he said would enhance service delivery at the grassroots.
Dr.Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Education in her presentation called for a single issue amendment to the constitution to allow for a referendum by Nigerians for a deliberation of a new constitution.
“We need to center the citizens in our democracy, we need to call for a deep sense conversation,” Ezekwesili added.