…Enact Laws To Enable Citizens To Sue Govt For Lack Of Basic Infrastructure
The House of Representatives is on the verge of enacting a law that would make first degrees in the form of Bachelors of Science/Art, B.SC/B.A or Higher National Diploma, HND minimum qualifications for election into the offices of Nigeria’s President and Governors.
The House is also seeking to make a law that would make justiciable lack of social infrastructure such as health facilities, good roads, water, schools among others ad enshrined in Chapter two of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) so that citizens can have the right to take the government to take in breach of the laws.
To this end, two bills are currently before the House waiting for a debate on the issues soon having been respectively read for the first time.
Essentially, the bills are seeking alterations of the 1999 constitution (as amended) to provide for the new laws.
Exclusively obtained by Vanguard, both bills are being sponsored by Hon. Ben Rollands Igbakpa representing Ethiope Federal Constituency of Delta State.
While the first Bill is titled “A Bill for An Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and for Related Matters/Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Fourth Alteration) Bill, 2020 (Increasing the Minimum Educational Qualification for President and Governors)”, the second one is also captioned “A Bill for An Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and for Related Matters/Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Fourth Alteration) Bill, 2020 (to make chapter 11 of the constitution justiciable.”
The first Bill is specifically demanding the alteration of Sections 131 and 177 of the 1999 Constitution.
Also read: Lawyer asks court to compel ex-Service Chiefs to refund ‘illegal’ allowances
“Section 131 of the Principal Act is altered in subsection (1), paragraph (d) by inserting immediately after the word “at least”, the word “the first degree from a University or Polytechnic or it’s equivalent.
READ ALSO: ’15 Soldiers Feared Dead In An Ambush’
“Section 177 of the Principal Act is altered in subsection (1), paragraph (d) by inserting immediately after the word “at least”, the word “the first degree from a University or Polytechnic or it’s equivalent”, the Bill stated.
Contacted to speak on the Bill which was introduced last year to the House, waiting for second reading soon, the sponsor, Igbakpa said that it would help put the seekers and occupants of the higher officers on their toes in that proper discretion acquired through good education would be required to effectively run such offices.
According to him, the era of possessing only a school certificate to run for exalted offices was gone.
He said: “This Bill seeks to alter sections 131 and 177 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to raise the bar on the minimum educational qualification for election as both President and Governor.
“The world is growing. The era of somebody having attempted school certificate, I don’t think, it is still tenable. These days, people in government now do meetings on-line. These days, people have to be spontaneous in speaking.
“It is not always that the government will be working with prepared speeches. So, somebody at the level of governance should be intelligent and vast and the only way to acquire such knowledge is by going to school beyond the school cert so that we can place our leaders at par with leaders all over the world that they can stand at the world stage and discuss issues, policies without putting it on paper, without reading statements.
“That’s the essence of the Bill because if you come with a school cert and a Doctorate degree holder or a professor is speaking somewhere, no matter how smart the person is, you will see the difference in your own. That’s the issue.”
On the second Bill make chapter 11 of the constitution justiciable by ensuring that Section 6 of the Principal Act is altered, in subsection (6), paragraph (c), first-line, by removing the word “not” immediately after “shall”, Igbakpa said that government needed to be held responsible through a court action especially when it reneged on its promises or abdicated on its responsibility.
The bills are expected to be listed for second reading at the House soon.