BY CHARLES KUMOLU
SENATE President, Senator David Mark has called on Nigerians to give the Federal Government Committee on Amnesty for Boko Haram members a chance, saying that the job of the panel is a delicate one that requires patience.
He also noted that the present attempts at amending the 1999 constitution would not be the last, adding that the National Assembly is committed to providing an acceptable constitution.
Mark, who said this yesterday in Lagos at a Working Retreat convened by Senate Committee on Constitution Review, urged Nigerians to refrain from condemning the move to constitute an amnesty committee on Boko Haram.
His words:” Why don’t we give the committee a chance now, because we have got to a situation where people don’t just make comments anyhow. This is a very delicate situation and it’s even better for you the media men not to ask any question on that because the committee is in charge and the issue is delicate.
‘’When the matter on Baga came up, I allowed the Senator who is from Baga to inform us and there was no further comment from anybody because we don’t know the facts and we cannot begin to make comments when we don’t know the facts. All we are saying is that for all those human beings to be killed, something has to be done.”
He further said, ‘’It is not the military that handed over the constitution, there was a constitution drafting committee that prepared the document and the drafters were not military men. There are areas we need to make amendment on and this is not going to be the last constitution amendment because as democracy develops and improves there will be grey areas that people will continue to agitate for amendment. ‘’
Also speaking, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu said the constitution review committee, had not taken any position on any of the issues for amendment.
He said, “I want to restate that the committee has not taken position on any issue. The committee has no such powers. Senate’s position on any matter on proposed amendment can only come by way of voting and resolution in plenary. There will be exhaustive debate to dissect all sides to each proposed amendment.
Senators will continue to be in touch with their constituents to ensure that they continue to resonate their views on every issue. Live broadcast and online streaming will be encouraged as much as possible to enable Nigerians from all parts to follow the development.”
In addition, Ekweremadu said, “In keeping faith with our timelines, our mission at this retreat, therefore, is essentially to review all the bills refer to the Senate Committee on the review of the 1999 constitution by the senate as well as the thematic areas we have been working on in relation to the inputs by Nigerians.
We are working to dissect the reports of various public hearings and other channels of inputs by Nigerians and articulate a bill to cover especially those issues we appear to have achieved public consensus.”
Continuing, he said, “The committee is mindful of the self- sacrifice and support by Nigerians, which have helped nurture the process to this stage.
The people of this nation have demonstrated great enthusiasm and commitment to addressing our perceived constitutional deficits through the instrument of constitution amendment.”
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