Nigerians did not consent to 1999 Constitution, it was imposed – Southsouth group
A Socio-cultural group in the Southsouth, Ikwerre Peoples Congress has called for a total scrap of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, saying, the document does not have the peoples consent.
The group also argued that the National Assembly which is currently conducting public hearings across the six geopolitical zones of the country lacked powers to draft a Constitution on behalf of the people.
The position of the group was made known in a memorandum submitted to the Constitution Review Committee, sitting in Port-Harcourt on Thursday and obtained by yans.ng.
The group claimed the 1999 Constitution was originally a military decree.
“Whereas the Ikwerre nation views the 1999 Constitution as not truly representing the stake, interest and consent of the indigenous peoples of Nigeria as represented by the various ethnic groups, it is our call that this Constitution is scrapped knowing that it is a military document known as Decree 24 of 1999.
“We believe that sovereignty belongs to the people and so this sovereign right of the people should be fully exercised as provided for in the disputed 1999 Constitution to enable the indigenous landowning ethnic nationalities to voluntarily agree and come up with a truly peoples Constitution for a new Nigeria.
The group which is an Ikwerre ethnic speaking tribe in the Southsouth region opined that the review will allow the government to do the right things, hence, the present Constitution should be scrapped to give way for a people-oriented one.
“This will help arrest the growing tension and conflict across the various regions which currently threatens the unity of Nigeria.
The IPC was of the view that the National Assembly shouldn’t parade themselves as having the power to put together a Constitution for the people, as their legislative mandate does not extend to making a Constitution, stressing that the people themselves should make the laws detailing what they want for themselves.
The document which was signed by the Chairman of the group, Mr. Livingstone Wechie further pointed that the power to make and amend the Constitution exclusively lies with the people.
“Power to make or remake the Constitution is known as constituent powers and vests exclusively in the constituent peoples of Nigeria as an incident of their sovereignty.
“In fact the authors of the 1999 Constitution acknowledged this universal truism in S.14(2)(a) of the same 1999 Constitution which states that sovereignty belongs to the people from whom, government, through this Constitution, derives all its powers and authority”.