SENATE is to liaise with the National Judicial Council (NJC), Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Law Reform Commission so as to constitute a Law Review Committee to withdraw all copies of different versions of the 1999 Constitution from circulation in the country.
The Senate also called for “the printing and distribution of authentic, consolidated constitution of the federation with the different alterations embedded where they belong to make the constitution one whole document to guide the generality of the Nigerian populace and the international community. ”These were sequel to a motion moved by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North) entitled: “Harmonising the different versions and copies of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in circulation into one authentic whole. ”He noted in the motion that since 1999, the constitution had successfully gone through three alterations, in July 2010; November 2010 and March 2011, and in each case, amending various provisions to bring them in conformity with contemporary democratic practice and realities.The lawmaker emphasised that “these alterations are printed as separate provisions and there has not been an attempt to embed and graft them into the constitution as one whole living document.”He added that “there are different versionsof the original 1999 Constitution and of the three alterations, with various copies in circulation, affirming that the constitution is the heartbeat of the nation and its provisions should not be subjectedto the caprices of printers or allowed to have different words and structure.
”Utazi further disclosed that in some versions, Section 84 ends with sub-section (6), while in other versions, the same Section 84 ends with sub-section (7), while the first alteration has provided for sub-section (8) of Section84, adding that this could also be true of Section 66 (1) (h), which was deleted by Section 2 of the First Alteration Act, but which some versions of the constitution still retain.He added that “there are many other mix-ups and this creates confusion for lawyers, judges, Law students, other practitioners, legislators at the various levels, those who consult our constitution to determine the state of the law and the general public.”The senator submitted that “the existence of various versions of the constitution makes it an unreliable source of law, whittles down its forces as the fundamental authority for all laws in Nigeria and does not make for certainty of its provisions, dilutes its potency in the hierarchy of laws and makes it susceptibleto misinterpretation by mischief-makers who may want to take advantage of the situation.”The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, ruling on the motion, mandated the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to urgently liaise with relevant organs of the government in ensuring harmonisation of the different versions and copies of the constitution in circulation into one authentic whole.