The National Assembly has again allocated N850m for the Constitution Amendment in the 2023 Budget.
The National Assembly had recently increased the 2023 budget by N1.3 trillion from the N20.5 trillion proposed by the president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.), in October 2022.
The constitution amendment process has faced several delays in parliament and House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila recently confirmed that the passage of the amendment bill in the 9th Assembly had stalled.
He said: “The National Assembly approved a series of amendments to the constitution and advanced them to the states as required. That process now appears to have stalled in the state caucuses. As it stands today, it is doubtful that the current constitutional reform effort will be concluded before the expiration of this legislative term.”
Over the years, the government has allocated around N1 billion annually for constitutional amendment, which has continued to face challenges since 2011.
The Ninth Assembly recently lamented that the constitution revision process was being frustrated by some state governors.
However, the National Assembly has continued to make funds available for the project.
The Chairman of the Constitution Revision Committee, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, recently lamented that only 11 states have passed bills.
The 11 states that have passed their bills include; Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Lagos, Ogun and Osun.
Speaking about the annual allocation of funds to the National Assembly, the Executive Director of the Center for Civil Society Legislative Advocacy, Auwal Rafsanjani, believes that the project has failed, saying that the 10th Assembly, which begins in June 2023, will will have to start over. .
He said: “The Constitutional Amendment has deliberately become a ritual that legislators are using to embezzle funds to no avail.
“It is unfair and a total waste of public funds that all the key issues affecting Nigerians such as indigenization, discrimination, land ownership and some other laws are not included in the Amendment.”
The activist added that “It is sad that both executive and legislative leaders do not have the interest of the people in mind, if they do, we will not be spending money every year in the same repeated cycle of a failed constitutional amendment project. who has never succeeded for once.
“The process of the Reforms to the Constitution must begin with the collection of information from citizens to know exactly what issues are going to be reformed.”
Rafsanjani added that people need to start demanding responsibility for the money they spend, especially when it comes to the constitutional amendment.
Efforts to get comment from the Senate were unsuccessful, as Senate Speaker Ajibola Basiru.
He has also not responded to the text message that was sent to him.