Senate: Constitution review, Hate Speech, Social Media Bills top agenda

The Senate will on Tuesday resume plenary session after its Christmas and New Year break.

Top on the agenda of the upper legislative chamber is the review of the Constitution and consideration of the Hate Speech and the Social Media Bills, The Nation learnt on Sunday.

A source told our reporter in Abuja that the Constitution review is top on the agenda due to a number of constitution amendment related bills pending before the Senate.

He noted that the Senate President Ahmad Lawan had already promised to constitute the Constitution Amendment Committee.

According to him, the constitution review committee would go a long way to kickstart the amendment in line with the aspirations of Nigerians.

The Senators, he said, are eagerly looking forward to the composition of the review committee.

Bills on Constitution Review pending before the Senate include:

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (SB. 109), Senator Baba Kaita Ahmad (Katsina North).

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (SB. 75), Senator Istifanus Gyang (Plateau North).

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (SB. 48), Senator Rose Oko (Cross River North)

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (SB. 184), Senator Uche Ekwunife (Anambra Central).

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (SB. 204), Senator Gabriel Suswam (Benue North East)

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (SB. 218), Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (Ekiti North).

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Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (SB. 240), Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West).

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (SB. 247), Senator Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru (Osun Central).

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill 2019 (SB.74) By Sen. Gyang, lstifanus Dun (Plateau North).

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2019 (SB. 259) By Sen. Bamidele, Micheal Opeyemi (Ekiti Central).

On the Hate Speech Bill, he noted that the controversy trailing the Bill was such that no Senate worth its name would not seek to conclude the proposed legislation either way.

He said that the views of Nigerians as articulated during the public hearing on the Bill would determine the fate of the controversial Bill.

He added that Nigerians are no doubt waiting anxiously to see the decision of the Senate on the Bill.

He underscored the fact that some Senators have already taken positions even without the Bill going for public hearing.

He also spoke on the Social Media Bill.

According to the source, the Senate would also want to conclude work on the equally contentious Social Media Bill.

Another issue that is likely to engage the immediate attention of the upper chamber is the amendment of the Electoral Act, our reporter was told.

Lawan had insisted that action should be taken on electoral Act amendment in order for it not to be caught up by the heat of the 2023 elections.

He said: “The Electoral Reforms Amendment Bill is a priority because of the urgent need to improve our electoral processes and secure the democratic gains that we have made in the Fourth Republic.

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“We want to pass the Bill well ahead of the next electoral cycle in 2023 and avoid the political heat and pitfalls that imperiled the efforts of the eight National Assembly which passed the same bill close to the last general elections.

”We are not oblivious of the interest and concerns some of these bills have generated from the public.

“But, we must not forget that lawmaking is a rigorous process that allows for all sides of the argument to be heard and the true will of the people established before a bill becomes law.

”This Senate and indeed the ninth National Assembly will not pass any bill that is not in the national interest. Ours is and will remain a Senate that will always work for Nigerians.”

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