Constitutional Review: CSOs holds Townhall Meeting in Kogi, drums support for LG Autonomy, State Police, others

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Obansa Ibrahim, Lokoja

Coalition of civil society organizations, Kogi NGOs Network (KONGONET), on Tuesday threw their wight behind calls for creation of state police and working with other stakeholders to ensure local government autonomy in the country.

The group noted that it’s actively committed to participating in the ongoing constitutional review process which it believes will guarantee a working document that will serve the interest of all.

This position was taken during a one-day stakeholders townhall meeting held in Lokoja, on the call for memoranda by the constitutional review committee of the National Assembly.

Civil society organizations in the state expressed passionate optimism about the alteration on the Federal structure and power devolution, especially section 2(2), Local Government autonomy, Nigerian Police and security architecture, electoral reforms for a stronger Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), gender issues, review of immunity clause, state access to mining and the alteration of section 9 to insert referendum to bring constitutional alteration into effect without presidential assent.

Chairperson of KONGONET, Amb. Muraina Idris Ozovehe, in his welcome address, said the coalition is convinced that a stronger, more inclusive constitution is essential for Nigeria’s progress and development.

He urged all Nigerians to join the conversation and contribute to shaping a better future for the nation.

Leading the plenary session, the Executive Director, Initiative for Grassroot Advancement in Nigeria (INGRA), Hamza Aliyu, explained that Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution empowers the National Assembly to amend the constitution through a rigorous process requiring a two-thirds majority vote in both houses and subsequent approval by two-thirds of state houses of assembly.

Aliyu explained further that based on the principles of democracy and social justice, the Nigerian Constitution emphasizes popular sovereignty, guaranteeing the participation of its citizens in governance as enshrined in Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The townhall meeting which attracted civil society organizations and media practitioners unanimously agreed that this constitutional review process presents a crucial opportunity for KONGONET to advocate for positive change that reflects the needs and aspirations of Kogites.

Stakeholders at the meeting called on organizations to adopt related thematic areas from the call for memoranda and collaborate to develop a memorandum or memoranda for onward submission as the deadline for submissions is April 10, 2024.

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