The House of Representatives yesterday rejected a move to amend the nation’s constitution to pave the way for a single term of six years for the president and governors and multiple terms of six years for national and state assemblies members.
John Dyegh (APC-Benue) who sponsored the bill had sought the alteration of sections 64 (1), 64 (2), 105 (2), 135 (2), 137 (1), 180 (1) and 180 (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended at the plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase. But the bill was flatly rejected by the lawmakers after deliberation.
Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, Dyegh argued that an elongated tenure offers a promising long-time solution to the avoidable loss of limbs, lives and sources of living attributable to conflicts arising from re-election processes. He further argued that a six-year consecutive tenure for legislators would not only deepen democracy, it would save the country the high turnover of legislators which, according to him, constitutes loss of experience and institutional knowledge.
Also on Tuesday 17th December 2019, the lawmakers took far-reaching decisions on other national issues including directing the committee on labour, employment and productivity to investigate the activities of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, especially in relation to the expenditure of N2.3 billion by the management and report back in four weeks for further legislative action.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion moved by Francis Ejiroghene Waive during the plenary. The lawmaker made reference to a newspaper report alleging a fraud of N2.3 billion allegedly committed by the management of the NSITF through some spending without the authorisation of the board.
Specifically, the report alleged that the management awarded multi-million Naira contracts for the construction of office complexes of the fund in 12 states, in addition to approving millions of Naira as duty tour allowances for trips in contravention of a recent directive from the presidency banning such trips in order to reduce wastage.
The House queried the authorities of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) for allegedly misapplying N1.2 billion. When the issue came before the Wole Oke-led Committee on Public Accounts, officials of the NRC failed to offer convincing explanation on the missing monies.
The committee’s probe was based on an audit query raised by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation between the 2013 and 2014 financial years.