Constitution amendment: S-Court can’t stop N-Assembly — Senate

The Senate, yesterday, vowed to proceed with the alteration of the Constitution, saying the Supreme Court lacked the powers to stop it from conducting its constitutionally enshrined legislative duties. Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said this while reacting to the ruling of the Supreme Court on the matter brought before it by the Presidency challenging the recent amendments enacted by the National Assembly which the President vetoed.

The Supreme Court had in the ruling last Thursday directed that the National Assembly should maintain the status quo in its bid to amend the Constitution.

The action of the Presidency challenging the constitution amendment in Supreme Court had jolted members of the National Assembly, who had reasoned that the Presidency had enough opportunity to point out areas it was not satisfied with the amendment process during the public hearing.

Even before dragging the National Assembly to the apex court, President Goodluck Jonathan, while withholding his assent, however, failed to return the original bill passed on to him, including the signature page. Some lawmakers have alleged that the president signed the bill but subsequently turned around to veto it.

While returning the constitution, the President had raised a number of issues including the failure of the lawmakers to produce evidence that it secured the mandatory four fifth majority in amending Section 9 of the Constitution. This action infuriated the federal lawmakers who had planned to override the President’s veto after a review by the Constitution Amendment Committees of the two chambers.

In its meeting last Wednesday, a source privy to the meeting by the committee in charge of the amendment had hinted that the National Assembly had planned to override the president. But the Senate spokesman, yesterday said: “The Supreme Court is wrong. The law does not allow one arm of the government to stop another arm of government from performing its duties.

“The Supreme Court cannot stop us from legislating and if they say that the Supreme Court is stopping us from making laws, it is misleading and it amounts to misreading the powers of the Supreme Court.”

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