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Coalition Appeals For Special Consideration Of Rejected Bills

The Coalition for Minority Rights (CMR) has appealed to the National Assembly to reconsider some selected constitutional amendment bills at the ongoing process to amend the 1999 constitution.

The coalition made the call through its Chairman, Revd. James Pam, at a news conference in Abuja on Monday.

Pam said that 68 bills were presented before the two chambers of the National Assembly, which were voted for on March 1.

He added that five bills sought to change or correct the names of seven Local Government Areas (LGA), while four bills for six name changes received the favour of almost all the senators.

He said that the change of Barikin Ladi Local Government was rejected by the National Assembly for reasons unknown to anyone.

He, therefore, pleaded that a sympathetic window for the reconsideration of the bill be reopened for the bills to be passed.

“After carefully reviewing various submissions for the senate and house of representative committees charged with that responsibility, 68 bills were presented to the two chambers of national assembly.

“ Of great concern to us are bills that provided for the following issues which were not passed by the NASS.

“ The change of name of Barikin Ladi LGA, the bill that provide for special seat for women in the national assembly and state assembly and the bill that provide affirmative action for women in political party administration.

“ The bill that provide reserved quota for women, the bill for the office of the Mayor for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration and the bill that provide for the appointment of minister of the FCT,’’ he said.

The Chairman added that it was also necessary to reconsider the bill for the affirmative action for women in political party administration and a minister for FCT in which the bill was passed by the house but denied by the senate.

He said that denying them their rights would go against natural law, Nigerian laws and International Conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory.

“The indigenous people of the FCT are pleased with the members of the House of Representatives for passing the bills for a Mayor and a minister for the FCT.

“These people graciously surrendered their ancestral homes so that Nigeria may have a central and befitting federal capital city.

“Yet, their desire was denied by our senators. Note that their traditional rulers have not been accorded the same status by the FCT administration as other states are doing.

“We feel this is very unfair treatment of a minority group”.

“The public should also know that this is not the first time that the people of that local government are requesting for the name change but the third time,’’ he added.

In the same vein, Mr Mark Lipdo, Coordinator of the coalition, pleaded to the Senators to look again and consider the bills for the benefit of minority group in the country.

Lipdo said that the coalition was able to listen to the plights of these minority groups and in a bid to giving them a voice has organised the programme for their issues to be brought forth.

“We want the senators to consider the local government that want a change of name.

“ The plights of women in our society are important, we have come of age and Nigerian women should be given voices.

“ And we are appealing that our senators look again and reconsider these bills,’’ he said. (NAN)

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