Deputy President of the Senate and Chairman, Senate Committee on Constitution Review, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has assured of the readiness of the National Assembly to help deepen democracy in Equatorial Guinea as the sister West African country embarks on constitution reforms.
Senator Ekweremadu gave the assurance when he received the First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Hon. Jesusa Obono Engono who was on a working visit to his Office at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
“Nigeria is eager to sustain and deepen democracy in Equatorial Guinea as well as the entire West African sub region and will therefore support all initiatives that will help the growth of democracy in your country.
“We already have the benefit of a successful constitution review exercise and will ensure that Equatorial Guinea draws copiously from the experience of that exercise as she embarks on constitution reforms.”
Senator Ekweremadu further said the proposed bi-cameral legislature in Equatorial Guinea was in the best interest of democracy in the country as it enhances quality of legislations and benefit of crosscheck.
Earlier, Hon. Engono, who was accompanied by the Equatorial Guinea Envoy to Nigeria, His Excellency, Job Obiang Esono Mbengono, said her country was in the process of carrying out constitution reforms to strengthen its democratic institutions and solicited the support of the National Assembly towards achieving this.
She said that apart from the issue of bicameral legislature, Equatorial Guinea was considering the adoption of a two term presidential tenure of seven years and the creation of the Office of The Defender of The People which is the equivalent of the Public Complaints Commission in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Deputy President of Senate has also enjoined Traditional Rulers in Nigeria to stimulate discourse on the current constitution review exercise by mobilizing their subjects to key into the different thematic areas of the exercise.
Senator Ekweremadu who spoke when he had in audience the Governing Council of the National Development Summit of Traditional Rulers, emphasized that Constitution Review Committee would ensure that all shades of opinion were freely expressed through the upcoming national and zonal public hearings on the amendment exercise as well as other forums which will be encouraged to further engender national discourse on various issues for amendment.
He urged the Traditional Rulers whom he described as key stakeholders in the constitution review exercise to use the opportunity of the public hearings to further reinforce their demands which he assured, would be carefully considered with regard to the federal structure of the country.
The Deputy President of the Senate also reiterated that the current efforts at constitution review would be guided by the weight of the voices of the majority of the Nigerian people.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation and the traditional ruler of Oko in Anambra State, HRH Prof. Laz Ekwueme, said the Royal Fathers were at the National Assembly to restate their request for constitutional recognition and role for traditional institutions and rulers across the country.
He also made a case for traditional rulers to take charge of security in their domains and to be granted powers of adjudication over traditional matters.
Prof. Ekwueme further requested for uniform remuneration for Traditional Rulers across the country and demanded a reversal of the trend in which Traditional Rulers from the South-East and Abuja were not accessing the statutory 5% of local government allocation slated for servicing traditional institutions.
Submitted from the office of the Deputy President of Senate.