The House of Representatives on Thursday failed to amend Section 143 of the constitution, which provides for the impeachment of the President and his Vice-President.
Some 172 members voted in favour of the clause, 122 voted against it, while three persons abstained meaning that the House could not garner the two-third of the votes of members required to amend the section.
The section provides that the President or the Vice President could be removed from office, “whenever a notice of any allegation in writing, signed by not less than one-third of members of the House of Representatives, is presented to the speaker of the House of Representatives.”
In its proposal, the ad hoc committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution recommended that the provisions of Section 143 should be amended to allow impeachment process against the president or vice-president to proceed once at least one-third of members of the House of Representatives have signed a notice of any allegation written against either the president of his deputy.
This is provided that the offence of the person targeted for impeachment is detailed, specified and a copy presented to him by the Speaker within seven days of the receipt of the notice.
Also, any reply to the allegation(s) against the person about to be impeached should be communicated to the legislators.
Out of the 19 clauses contained in the report of the ad-hoc committee, only the impeachment clause did not scale through.
Highlights of the amendments include immunity for lawmakers for words spoken during parliamentary sittings and the removal of the clause that provides that a lawmaker’s seat be declared vacant if he joins a board or commission of government.
Others are insurance for NYSC members against death and serious injury during official duty and sanction for failure to honour summons by the legislature.
The Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, described the successful voting on outstanding bills on the constitution review as a triumph of democracy.
Ihedioha, who is also the chairman of the House adhoc committee on the review of the Constitution, noted that the feat clearly shows the resolve of the Assembly to always put national interest above all other considerations.
“This 7th House of Representatives has once again shown that it is more concerned about the welfare and wellbeing of Nigerians than any other interest,” he added.
Earlier, Speaker Aminu Tambuwal praised the Deputy Speaker for providing “firm and good leadership” to the adhoc committee on the constitution review.
Tambuwal said that the successful culmination of the review process in the house reflected the spirit of diligence and unity of purpose displayed by Ihedioha in piloting the affairs of the committee.