Lawyers back S’Court order on constitution amendment | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Lawyers back S’Court order on constitution amendment

Posted: May 9, 2015 at 4:23 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Apata Oyeniran- with Agency Report


The order on Thursday by the Supreme Court forbidding the National Assembly from carrying out further actions on the fourth alteration s to the 1999 constitution has received the blessing of some lawyers.

It will be recalled that a seven-man panel of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has directed that the status quo be maintained with regard to the amendments.

The order followed the suit filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), challenging the passage of the 4th Alteration Bill by the 7th National Assembly.

Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, Mr. Yinka Farombi, described the eagerness of the legislators to pass the amendment almost at the end of their tenure as “questionable”.

Farombi in his own words said, “This amendment has been done several months ago and what were they waiting for? It is because there are other things hidden in the amendment like monetary benefits to them after they leave office.’

In the same vein, Executive Director, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), Mr. Chino Obiagwu, applauded the Supreme Court order, contending that it was good the executive took the matter to the Supreme Court for interpretation.

According to Obiagwu said, “It is not an excuse for the National Assembly to say that they must pass the amendment now. Amendment of the constitution is a serious business and I think it is right that the Supreme Court is looking into it.”

He stated that LEDAP as an organisation is not convinced that the NASS has followed all the laid down procedures for constitutional amendment as laid spelt out clearly in Sections 8 and 9 of the constitution.

“We welcome the development because those procedures have to be scrutinized. It is not just two-third majority of the National Assembly but there should also be a resolution of two-third of state Houses of Assembly.

In his contribution, a law teacher in the Faculty of Law, Lagos State University (LASU , Mr. Gbenga Ojo, said the only court that had jurisdiction to adjudicate on the dispute between the executive and the legislature was the Supreme Court, saying that the court’s decision for parties to maintain the status quo was the proper thing to do.

But a question remain to be answered in all of this; by the time the case comes up On June 18, the 7th National Assembly would have been dissolved, will that signify the end of the 4th Amendment Bill?