Nigeria to deal with diverging versions of the Constitution in circulation and to unify its text
Senate on Tuesday expressed concern over different versions and copies of Nigerian constitution in circulation.
In a sponsored motion by Senator Chukwuka Utazi representing Enugu North Senatorial district, he said the different versions of the 1999 constitution currently in circulation makes it look counterfeit and unreliable as a source of law.
“I am concerned that these alterations are printed as separate provisions and there has not been an attempt to embed and graft them into the constitution as one whole living document,” Utazi submitted.
After contributions from various lawmakers, the Senate mandated its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to liaise with the National Judicial Council and the Attorney-General and other relevant agencies to withdraw the different versions of the constitution in circulation.
The committee together with all the other government agencies is to also authorize the printing and distribution of an authentic and consolidated version which should reflect the different alterations in the constitution since 1999.
“The constitution has gone through three alterations, in July 2010, November 2010 and March 2011 respectively and in each case, amending various provisions to bring them in conformity with contemporary democratic practice and realities”.
Senate is worried that the Constitution as the “grund norm” should not be subjected to the caprices of printers or allowed to have different words and structure.
Part of the errors, Senate said were some versions like, “Sections 84 ends with subsection (6) while in other versions, the same Section 84 ends with subsection 7.”