Wednesday 22 October 2014

Constitution Review: Lawmakers approve separation of Office of Attorney General and Justice Ministry

The Senate on Tuesday approved the Conference Committee report of the National Assembly on the review of the 1999 Constitution by adopting 23 out of the 71 amendment proposals recommended by both chambers of the National Assembly.

Chief of the proposed amendments by the National Assembly adopted by the Senate was that of Sections 174 and 211, which separates the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation or Attorney General of the State from the Office of the Minister of Justice or Commissioner for Justice.

Similarly, Section 84(40)(a-f) creates the Office of the Accountant General for the Federal Government.

Sections 82 and 122 also reduced the period within which the president or a governor can authorise the withdrawal of money from the Consolidated Revenue Fund in the absence of an Appropriation Act from six to three months.

The Senate, in addition, retained Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, which confers immunity on the president, vice-president, governors and deputy governors in contrast with the House of Representatives’ decision which removed it last week.

The lower chamber, while voting on the report of the conference committee of both houses of the National Assembly last week, had rejected the retention of immunity in the constitution but the Senate retained it.

During the voting, the House jettisoned the conference committee report and insisted on its earlier recommendation, which removed immunity for heads of the executive arm of government.

The Senate did not adopt the report last week because it could not secure the required two-thirds majority to do so.

Credit: Omololu Ogunmade/ThisDay

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