Victor Ogene says “…there is nothing on referendum before the House.”
The outcome of the ongoing national conference may be an exercise in futility unless the 1999 constitution is further amended to make provision for referendum, a lawmaker has said.
Victor Ogene (APGA-Anambra), the Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, made this known at news conference in Abuja on Thursday.
He said there is no provision in the 1999 constitution for referendum. He said that the only document legislators are statutorily bound to invoke and act upon was the constitution.
“The only document we swore to uphold is the constitution. For any section to be altered, you need two third majority of both chambers of the National Assembly and two third of state assemblies.
“Unless this is done, the issue of referendum will not sail through, as there is nothing on referendum before the House,’’ he said.
President Goodluck Jonathan had mentioned, while inaugurating the National Conference, that the National Assembly was considering introducing referendum to the Nigerian constitution.
Mr. Ogene also said that consideration of the 2014 budget proposal would commence in April.
He attributed the delay in the passage of the 2014 budget by the House of Representatives to the request for rescheduling of budget defence by some ministers.
“Often times a minister defending his or her ministry’s budget estimates may write to seek rescheduling of an appearance thereby taking the work of the committees back by days,’’ he said.
He said that work on the budget would be concluded by the first week of April, and allayed fears that the house had jettisoned work on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Mr. Ogene said the PIB was an important document that required thorough scrutiny.
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