State Speakers to NASS: You can’t blackmail us

The umbrella body of Speakers of Houses of Assembly across the country – Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria – have said they will not allow the National Assembly or anybody else to blackmail them over issues bordering the Constitution Amendment.

Chairman of the speakers’ forum, Abubakar Suleiman, said Tuesday’s comments by Deputy Senate President and Chairman of the Senate Constitution Review Committee, Ovie Omo-Agege, on the ongoing Constitution review were unnecessary.

Suleiman was reacting to a statement credited to Omo-Agege, who reportedly blamed the 36 governors for approving the non-passage of the 44 Constitution Review Bills transmitted to them by the National Assembly.

He noted that as major stakeholders in the Constitution alteration and the representatives of the people at the grassroots, the states’ speakers are in a better position than their National Assembly counterparts to know the basic and pressing needs of the people; hence their appeal for the inclusion of the Bills.

Omo-Agege had, at a media briefing organized by the National Assembly Joint Committee on Constitution Review in Abuja, on Tuesday, lamented that only 11 states had considered and passed amendments to the constitution.

But Suleiman, who is also the Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, said: “That although a rejoinder to the claims made by the Deputy Senate President would have been unnecessary, it, however, became necessary to react to it because it was to blackmail and undermine the State Houses of Assembly and to mislead the public.

“It is very clear that the press conference was designed not only to blackmail the State Houses of Assembly but also to undermine them. And we like to make it clear that we will not give in to blackmail and intimidation by anyone, no matter how highly placed.

“It is, therefore, imperative we make clarifications in the misrepresentations of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria and indeed the State Houses of Assembly in the Press Release.”



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