President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has said the Administration has constituted the Presidential Committee on Outstanding Constitutional Issues, headed by Justice Alfa Belgore to bring up areas of national consensus from the 2006 National Political Reform Conference for National Assembly’s consideration towards effecting constitutional amendments.
President Jonathan was speaking to elders from the South-South and South-West geo-political zones, at State House, Wednesday.
He explained that, “in recognition of the demands by Nigerians for a constitutional amendment, we set up the Justice Belgore Committee to bring up all those issues which have been agreed upon at previous national conferences, for presentation as bills to the National Assembly, and subsequent passage into law, while a larger body will meet on issues that are still controversial for a national consensus”.
President Jonathan told the elders that Government would strengthen the EFCC, ICPC, the Nigeria Police, and ensure that people are not unduly exposed to corruptive influences, as part of efforts to curb corruption, pointing to the decision to sell fertiliser and tractors directly to farmers as one such effort that has removed corruption from the agricultural chain.
The President said the House of Representatives probe into the oil subsidy regime had exposed the fact that continued subsidy in the petroleum sector was a catalyst to corruption.
He also told the delegation that the Administration was going to reduce the number of parastatals, especially those that were performing similar functions, while the staff would be retrained for other duties, adding that the budget submitted to the National Assembly last year had been cut down.
He thanked the elders for the visit and the support given to the Administration and Nigeria.
Earlier, Chief Edwin Clark and Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi, leaders of the delegation of South-South and South-West elders, respectively, had presented a communiqué from a meeting held by the two groups on January 21, 2012, at Ikenne, Ogun State.
The communiqué condemned the activities of Boko Haram, requested for the withdrawal of troops from the streets to reduce tension, urged stronger prosecution of the war against corruption, requested for a reduction of size and cost of governance, and called for a national conference to produce a truly national constitution.
Chief Clark also expressed the South-South’s appreciation to the South-West for supporting President Jonathan’s election in April, 2011.
for: Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity)
February 15, 2012