S’SOUTH DELEGATES WANT NEW CONSTITUTION

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Delegates from the South-South geo-political zone attending the National Conference are demanding a brand new constitution for Nigeria.
They said the proposed new constitution must be approved by Nigerians via a referendum.
The delegates said that there “should also be in the new Nigerian constitution a separate State Executive List.”
These are part of their demands tabled before the conference through all its 20 committees.
Besides, they also demanded that Nigeria should comprise a federation where the states would serve as federating units and the constitutionalisation of the geo-political zones with equal number of states per zone.”
Of all the six geo-political zones in the country, only the South-East has five states while North-West has seven states.
The remaining four zones, which are South-West, South-South, North-East and North-Central, have six states each.
The delegates are also demanding the abrogation of Section 44(3) of the Constitution, which states that “notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the entire property in and control of all minerals, mineral oils and natural gas in under or upon any land in Nigeria or in, under or upon the territorial waters and economic zone of Nigeria shall vest in the government of the federation and shall be managed in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.”
They contended that item 39 of the 1999 Constitution viz; “mines and minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas “be transferred to the State Exclusive List.
It was also the contention of the zone that item 36(b) of the Constitution, which “says that shipping and navigation on the River Niger and its affluents and on any such other inland waterways as may be designed by the National Assembly to be an international waterways or to be an inter-state waterway” be transferred to the State Exclusive List.
Some of the items they listed to be transferred to the State Exclusive List are agriculture and industrial development of the states, education at all levels except for national standards and environmental issues.
They also want fishing and fisheries within the territories of states to be manned by the states and mines and minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological and natural gas transferred to the list.
The zone said the position therefore was to canvass for substantive devolution of powers to the states in particular, accompanied by increased revenue transfers that they said would enable the states to meet with the new constitutional responsibilities and responding to the development challenges of their people.
While asking that states should be autonomous and independent, they also asked that they (states) must coordinate in relationship with the Federal Government.
Source: Punch

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