The Federal House of Representatives on Wednesday, October 5th, 2016 rejected a bill seeking to conduct a referendum over the creation of a separate Biafran state from the current geography of Nigeria.
Following the agitation for restructuring of the country and outright secession by Biafra, the House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected a fresh bid for the convocation of a national conference and a referendum where a new constitution for the country would be approved by Nigerians.
The Senate and the House are currently in the process of further amending the 1999 Constitution.
However, a member from Rivers State, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, and another lawmaker from Edo State, Mr. Peter Akpatason, introduced a bill on Wednesday seeking to provide for the convocation of a national conference.
Chinda is a Peoples Democratic Party’s legislator, while Akpatason is a member of the All Progressives Congress.
The long title of the bill read, “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Convocation of National Conference for the People of Nigeria for the Purpose of Discussing and Adopting a New Constitution to be submitted for Consideration and Approval at a Referendum and for other Purposes Connected therewith.”
But, the House, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, did not allow the bill go far before it was rejected.
It said any procedure for amending the constitution that was either in conflict with the constitution or did not comply with the extant provisions for the amendment of the constitution was “illegal.”
The House position was highlighted by the Chairman, Committee on Rules/Business, Mr. Orker Jev. He raised a point of order to oppose the bill.
Jev said Section 1 of the constitution held the constitution to be the “supreme” law of the land, which was also binding on all Nigerians.
“Any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of this constitution automatically becomes null and void,” he stated.
Jev also argued that Section 9 of the constitution made clear provisions on how to amend it.
He added that the constitution did not include a referendum for the purpose of amending it.
“Any other thing other procedure is illegal.
“You cannot bring a bill here to amend the constitution,” Jev told the House.
Dogara quickly concurred with Jev before he rammed his gavel to rule out the bill. Zubbyblog