By Tognaan Dada Bawa in Jos
Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong has advocated for stiff penalties against anyone who is found guilty of abusing the constitution so as to protect its sanctity as the highest instrumental of power and make it the main driver of Nigeria’s democratic journey.
Governor Lalong spoke while declaring open the Public Hearing organised by the House of Representatives Special Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution for the North Central Zone in Jos on Tuesday.
The Governor said the review of the 1999 constitution is a worthy cause that needs to be supported by all Nigerians as it could impact positively on good governance and service delivery to its citizens.
He however observed that beyond amending the constitution, Nigerians must also take greater interest in how the constitution is implemented to avoid abuses that end up creating distortions and leading to agitations for more amendments.
The Governor said if and when the constitution is reviewed, no one should be allowed to live above it and at the same time, no one should be put beneath it by those in power or anyone saddled with the privilege of implementing any part of it. The rule of law must prevail at all times to guarantee democratic rights, freedoms and responsibilities.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution and Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris Wase said the Committee is conducting the exercise with an open mind and will collate all positions of Nigerians for further consideration by the National Assembly.
Representatives of Governors of Nasarawa and Benue States decribed the Public Hearing as a golden opportunity for all grievances to be ventilated and all thorny national issues thoroughly discussed to arrive at a people’s constitution.
The Governor had earlier received the members of the Committee who paid him a courtesy visit at the New Government House, Little Rayfield Jos.