Constitutional amendments:Immunity, life pension for Senate president, others’ll be debated

As parliament begins voting on 68 items tomorrow
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Abuja—Some members of the House of Representatives have said the proposed immunity clause for the presiding officers of the National Assembly will be thoroughly debated.
The presiding officers include the Senate President, speaker of the House of Representatives and their deputies.
READ ALSO:CONSTITUTION REVIEW: NASS moves to okay independent candidacy 
It will be recalled that the special joint ad hoc committee of the Senate and the House on the amendments, co-chaired by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege and the House Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, had okayed the two items among several others numbering 68 to be included in the constitution.
The report was laid last week and the House slated Tuesday March 1 and Wednesday, March 2 for voting on the items by the 360 members.
Speaking exclusively to Vanguard yesterday, ahead of the commencement of the voting tomorrow, House spokesman, Benjamin Kalu, said the parliament would only do what the people wanted.
“We will debate it during consideration and what the people want will be considered during the committee of the whole on Tuesday,” he said.
Similarly, the member representing Nnewi/Ekwusigo federal constituency of Anambra State, Chris Azubogu, also told Vanguard that he was for the pension proposal.
According to him, if the members of the executive and judicial arms enjoy pension, it would not be bad for the legislature to enjoy same.
He said it would ultimately help the presiding officers to focus and not compromise on the task given to them.
He, however, said it should be premised on some conditions, so that anyone found wanting would lose the privileges.
“I will tell you the truth. If judges are on pension, if truly people in the executive have pension, why not the presiding officers? But it should be conditional. 
”There are certain things the person should not do for you to deserve it. I believe in it so that the person can do the job with every sacrifice without compromise.
“But if you are found wanting, it makes you to lose all the privileges. Those things are not very expensive. Pensions are not too expensive. It’s just like our salary. Pension is a percentage of your basic salary. 
”I want us to look at it critically. It is because of the institution so that people can make sacrifice. Yes, I am for it on Tuesday but the computation is what matters. It’s very important,” he said.
Meanwhile, among other issues approved by the special ad hoc committee to be voted on include the proposal requiring the president or governors to submit the names of persons nominated as ministers or commissioners within thirty days of taking the Oath of Office for confirmation by the Senate or State House of Assembly; proposal to  establish the Office of the Attorney–General of the Federation and of the State separate from the Office of the Minister of Justice or Commissioners for Justice of the state in order to make the Offices Attorneys–General independent and insulated from partisanship.
Also to be voted on are provision to empower the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly powers to summon the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and governors of states to answer questions on issues on which the National and State Houses of Assembly have the power to make law; and for related matters, and to provide for the financial independence of State Houses of Assembly and State Judiciary; and for Related Matters”.
Others are proposal to compel persons to obey or comply with legislative summons; and for related matters, to specify the period within which the president or governor of state shall present the Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly or House of Assembly; and for Related Matters, among others.



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