The senate president asked Nigerians to give the amnesty programme a chance.
The Senate President, David Mark, has said that state police, special status for Lagos, and other issues would be discussed at the ongoing retreat by the Senate Committee on Constitution Review.
Mr. Mark said at the opening of the three-day retreat in Lagos on Friday that the assembly was committed to giving the country a workable constitution. He said the discussions would help to produce a draft bill based on the aggregate of views of Nigerians made at the various public hearings on the amendment of the 1999 constitution.
“The issues raised by the people, including state police, special position for Lagos and continued relevance of the National Youth Service Corps scheme. Others are Land Use Act, indigeneship versus citizenship. The committee will review all these issues here at the retreat,” Mr. Mark promised.
He, however, cautioned lawmakers against pursuing parochial interests to the detriment of national interest.
“No senator should force his position on the rest of the group. If you are very fixed on any position and it is not the view of the majority, you should be able to concede to the majority. Let me also remind members of this committee that whatever you come up with at the end of this retreat, it is still going to be subjected to debate on the floor of the senate,” he said.
The senate president, however, debunked claims in some quarters that the 1999 constitution was a creation of the military. According to him, a constitution drafting committee and a national conference produced the constitution.
Mr. Mark urged support for the Amnesty Committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan, saying, “Nigerians should give it a chance.”
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Committee and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said the committee had worked hard to accommodate the views and input of Nigerians.
“This is to ensure that the end-product is representative of the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians and can also stand the test of time. Our mission at this retreat is essentially to review all the bills referred to the committee on the constitution. We are going to dissect the reports of the various public hearings and input of Nigerians and come up with a bill on that,” Mr. Ekweremadu said.
Senators at the retreat included Victor Ndoma-Egba, Uche Chukwumerije, Sani Ahmed, Oluremi Tinubu, Ganiyu Solomon, George Akume and Chris Ngige.
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