From Sanni Onogu, Abuja and Tony Akowe, Abuja
Deputy Senate President and Chairman of the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution, Ovie Omo-Agege, has said the panel will resist pressure from “external forces” while discharging its duties.
Omo-Agege, in a statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yomi Odunuga, spoke at the weekend on The Platform, a current affairs programme on TVC, anchored by Sam Omatseye.
The senator said members of the committee were not under pressure to do their biddings of external forces.
He said: “I can tell you that as of this moment, we have not received any such pressure or influence peddling.
“But let me tell you this: the Nigerian Senate is a chamber comprising statesmen. These are people of accomplishments in their previous endeavours before they came to this place.
“I don’t think these are people who are going to be susceptible to pressures from external forces. These are people who are here to do the right thing.
“And if you must also know, the Steering Committee of this Constitution Review Committee is populated by the entire leadership of the Senate.
“I am just the Chairman, before you talk about the 56 other senators. We have taken an oath to protect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I can assure you that members of this committee and indeed all of the senators of this Ninth Senate will do the right thing. We are not going to succumb to any pressure.”
Also, the House of Representatives has said it had not begun the process of amending the 1999 Constitution, the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and amending the Electoral Act.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila assured the nation that the House would prioritise the passage of the PIB and the amendment of the Electoral Act this year.
Several constitutional amendment Bills, which have scaled through the second reading in the House, have been referred to the House Committee on Constitutional Amendment, headed by Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris Wase.
The Nation learnt that the delay in inaugurating the Constitution Review Committee may have been responsible for the delay in beginning its work, even as the Senate is finalising arrangement to conduct its own review.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Speaker, Umar Mohammed Puma, told our correspondent that once the committee is inaugurated, it will begin constitution review and then call for memoranda from the public.
“The committee has been set up, but it has not been inaugurated. I am sure that once the House resume from its vacation, it will be inaugurated and they will commence their work in earnest,” the statement said.