Constitution Review: President, Governors May Go To Jail For Rejecting Legislative Summons

Written by on March 2, 2022

This is because there is a provision in 0ne of the sections of the constitution amendment bill passed by the Senate which empowers the National Assembly and State Assemblies to summon the president and state governors to answer questions bordering on security or other issues on which the national and state houses of assembly have powers to make laws, failing which they can be convicted.

The bill seeks alteration to Section 67 of the Principal Act by inserting after subsection (3) a new subsection (4).

The new subsection (4) provides: “Nothing in this section shall preclude the National Assembly from summoning the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to attend a joint session of the National Assembly to answer questions on national security or any issue whatsoever, over which the National Assembly has powers to make laws”.

The bill further seeks to alter Section 108 of the Principal Act to insert a new subsection (4) to provide: “Nothing in this section shall preclude the House of Assembly of the State from summoning the Governor of the State to attend a sitting of the House of Assembly to answer questions on security or on any issue whatsoever, over which the House of Assembly has powers to make laws.”

It also passed a bill to make it an offence, and to provide for the possible conviction of any person who refuses to honour the summons of the National Assembly or any of its committee.

Out of a total of 93 registered senators, 77 voted in favour of the bill to summon the president and governors, 13 voted against and one lawmaker abstained, bringing total votes to 91.

The chamber, however, turned down a bill to provide for more seats for women in the National and State Houses of Assembly.

Also rejected were bills to alter Part I of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to include Value Added Tax on the Exclusive Legislative List; removal of Transitional Lawmaking Powers of the Executive; to provide for Diaspora voting; to grant mayoralty status for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and appointment of a minister from the FCT.

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