The Oasis Reporters
June 1, 2021
By Asile Abel, Jos
Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong has advocated for stiff penalties against anyone who is found guilty of abusing the constitution so as to protect its sanctity as the highest instrument of power and make it the main driver of Nigeria’s democratic journey.
Governor Lalong spoke while declaring open the Public Hearing organised by the House of Representatives Special Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution for the North Central Zone in Jos.
The Governor said the review of the 1999 constitution is a worthy cause that needs to be supported by all Nigerians as it could impact positively on good governance and service delivery to its citizens.
He however observed that beyond amending the constitution, Nigerians must also take greater interest in how the constitution is implemented to avoid abuses that end up creating distortions and leading to agitations for more amendments.
Lalong said “My advice to the members of the National Assembly and indeed all Nigerians is to put in place strong safeguards in the new constitution to avoid the abuse of power. The situation where people flagrantly disobey, discard and ignore the provisions of the constitution should no longer be tolerated.
We should ensure that those who temper with the provisions of the constitution are seriously punished. No matter how frequently we amend the constitution, there may not be any difference if we fail to subject ourselves to its provisions.
As citizens, we are the guardians and defenders of the constitution who can either make it work or fail by our actions or inactions. Nigerians should wake up from their slumber and lethargy by ensuring that they employ all legitimate means to protect the constitution. The days of docility are far gone”.
The Governor said if and when the constitution is reviewed, no one should be allowed to live above it and at the same time, no one should be put beneath it by those in power or anyone saddled with the privilege of implementing any part of it. The rule of law must prevail at all times to guarantee democratic rights, freedoms and responsibilities.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution and Deputy Speaker Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase said the Committee is conducting the exercise with an open mind and will collate all positions of Nigerians for further consideration by the National Assembly.
Representatives of Governors of Nasarawa and Benue States described the Public Hearing as a golden opportunity for all grievances to be ventilated and all thorny national issues thoroughly discussed to arrive at a people’s constitution.
The Governor had earlier received the members of the Committee who paid him a courtesy visit at the New Government House, Little Rayfield, Jos.