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Constitution amendment committee recommends splitting offices of justice minister, AGF

Constitution amendment committee recommends splitting offices of justice minister, AGF

The office of Nigeria’s attorney-general will be separated from that of the minister of justice, the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Constitution Review has recommended.

Reports said the recommendation was considered to avoid the visible politicization of the two critical offices.

The lawmakers envisage that the minister of justice will deal with policy and administrative issues, while the AGF will oversee dispensation of justice without fear or favour.

The matter and about 54 other proposed amendments are expected to be tabled before the legislative arm by the end of this month.

If it is passed by the two chambers and endorsed by at least two-thirds of 36 State Houses of Assembly, Nigeria will join the league of countries with a similar practice.

Another critical proposal was to allow independent candidates to contest elective offices in Nigeria.

Such candidates will not need to go through the rigour of consensus or direct/ indirect primaries.

For more representation in elective offices, special seat concessions were recommended for allocation to women at all levels.

Besides, the lawmakers resolved to effect a change in the constitution to outlaw parading of suspects by the police, Department of State Services (DSS), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other agencies before arraigning them in court.

On independent candidacy, the source said: “This will enable the system to produce leaders on merit. The prevalent direct, indirect and consensus clauses promote mediocrity and imposition of candidates by state governors.

However, the National Assembly is said to be adding a proviso that at least 20 per cent of voters in a constituency or district must endorse the nomination of an independent candidate.”

 

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