First draft of constitution amendment ready in August – Kalu

Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, has said that the first draft report of the ongoing review of the 1999 constitution would be ready in August 2024.

This is just as he stated that the final clean copy for presidential assent after voting on areas of concern by the National Assembly would be out in August, 2025.

Kalu stated these at a press conference organised by the House Committee on Constitution Review on Thursday.

The committee at its inauguration on Monday, in Abuja, gave a 24-month timeline for the conclusion of the exercise.

Speaking at the event on Thursday, Kalu who chairs the Committee on Constitution Review said, “We are pushing to ensure that in our activities, the first draft of the work we are trying to do in the constitution will be ready.

“This will be subject to approval of the work done by the sub-committees. Let me mention that our target, the first draft of the constitution will be out in August 2024.

“Second draft will be out in October 2024. We will commence zonal inputs from October 2024 and we’ll keep collecting inputs from citizens from October 14, 2024 as we prepare for the last version or that last draft copy of the constitution.

“We are hoping that there will be a harmonisation of the issues on February 27 and 28, 2025.

“We are hoping that during a technical working retreat that will take place in February 2025, the Senate and the House of Representatives documents will be harmonised.

“It is our desire that on March 17, 2025, we will have harmonised documents considered in the House. It is our belief that by April 2025, we will have the final copies of draft amendments produced.

“We are also optimistic that by May 12, 2025, we’ll have the final clean copy of amendments bills agreed on.

“And we are looking at May 22, 2025, as a time when we will have the final report laid for consideration and voting.”

He further noted that on May 29 or June 13, 2025, the final concurrence of state assemblies would be secured.

“If it delays more than that, it will not go beyond August of 2025 because we believe that by August 2025, the President will receive the bills that will be presented to him for presidential assent. So, our target for transmission of bills to Mr President for assent will take place August 2025.

“And with this, we are sure that our target to get this job done in 24 months will be achieved if we send it to Mr President by August 2025 with the hope that by December, 2025, we will have a constitution that’s fully amended.”

Kalu further called for submission of memoranda from different interest groups, including civil society organizations, labour unions, relevant institutions of government and the members of the public to aid the committee’s work.

He listed areas of the constitutional alteration process to include state police, power devolution, fiscal federation, electoral reforms, judicial reforms, among others.