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Ikwerre group says NASS lacks powers to make New Constitution, calls for scrap of current one

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As the National Assembly conducts a two-day public hearing on the Constitutional review across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria,
a Niger Delta Socio-cultural group, Ikwerre Peoples Congress has called for a total scrapping of the 1999 Constituion, saying, the document belongs to the past military administration and not consented by the people.

The group is seeking for a fresh Constitution which the people of Nigeria themselves would participate, arguing that the National Assembly which is currently conducting public hearings across the six geopolitical zones of the country, lacked powers to draft a Constitution on behalf of the people.

The position of the group was made known in a memoranda submitted to Constitution Review Committee hearings sitting in Port-Harcourt on Thursday, Southsouth, Nigeria, adding that the Constitution was originally a military decree.

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“Whereas the Ikwerre nation views the 1999 Constitution as not truly representing the stake, interest and consent of the indigenous peoples of Nigeria as represented by the various ethnic groups, it is our call that this Constitution be scrapped knowing that it is a military document known as Decree 24 of 1999.

“We believe that sovereignty belongs to the people and so this sovereign right of the people should be fully exercised as provided for in the disputed 1999 Constitution to enable the indigenous land owning ethnic nationalities to voluntarily agree and come up with a truly peoples Constitution for a new Nigeria.

The group which is an Ikwerre ethnic speaking tribe in the Delta region opined that the review affords government opportunity to do the right things, hence, the present Constitution should be scrapped to give way for a people oriented one.

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“This will help arrest the growing tension and conflict across the various regions which currently threatens the unity of Nigeria.

The IPC was of the view that the National Assembly shouldn’t parade themselves as having power to put Constitution for the people, as their legislative mandate does not extend to making Constitution, but the people themselves should make the Constitution detailing what they want for themselves.

The memoranda which was signed by the Chairman of the group, Mr. Livingstone Wechie further pointed that power to make and amend Constitution exclusively lies with the people.

“Power to make or remake the Constitution is known as constituent powers and vests exclusively in the constituent peoples of Nigeria as an incident of their sovereignty.

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“In fact the authors of the 1999 Constitution acknowledged this universal truism in S.14(2)(a) of the same 1999 Constitution which states that
sovereignty belongs to the people from whom, government, through this Constitution, derives all its powers and authority.

“In doing this, we must renew our consciousness on the fact that every election year renews the lifespan of the Constitution.

“Therefore, it is in the overall best interest of all of us as Nigeria that moving forward, the Constitutional disputations that have continued to stare us in the face should be addressed once and for all. ”

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