Deputy President of the Nigeria Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege has told South-south representatives who requested the abolishment of the 1999 Constitution to approach the courts.
Some south-south representatives had approached the Constitution Review Committee to demand that a brand new constitution be developed and the old one trashed.
The representatives of five states from the South-South under the auspices of BRADEC United Assembly also asked for a new constitution tailored for the Nigerian people.
But Omo-Agege said only a court of competent jurisdiction has the power to decide on a fresh constitution as the committee lacks powers to do so.
The group’s leader, Barr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN) had earlier in his presentation at a 2-day National Public Hearing on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, strongly advocated for a fresh Constitution.
He said the fresh ‘Constitution position’ was adopted by the South-South people which he said was contained in the various memoranda submitted during the zonal hearings.
The Human Rights Lawyer’s statement comes barely 24 hours after the Deputy President of the Senate said the National Assembly lacks the powers to set the entire 1999 Constitution aside and birth a new document.
But Ozekhome said: “1999 Constitution was hurriedly compiled from the schedules of Decree 4 by the military.
“The constitution is a unitary document which over concentrated powers at the centre in a federation.
Ozekhome, likened the 1999 Constitution to “an illegitimate child”, pointing out that no amount of amendments will give it legitimacy.
“You cannot put something on nothing”, he told the panel.
The 2-day national public hearings which commenced Thursday is expected to end on Friday and was well attended by Civil Society Organisations, Representatives of public and private organisations, opinion moulders and cultural groups.