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Human Rights Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome has asked the National Assembly to begin the process of delivering a brand new constitution to the Nigerian people.

Ozekhome’s statement comes barely 24 hours after the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, who doubles as the Chairman of the Constitution Review Panel said the National Assembly lacks the powers to set the entire 1999 Constitution aside and give birth to a new document.

Making his presentation, when he appeared at the National Public Hearing on Constitution Review in Abuja on Friday, Ozekhome agrees that while the National Assembly indeed lacks the powers; it can begin the process of bringing about a new constitution for the country.

He said the 1999 Constitution was hurriedly compiled from the schedules of Decree 4 by the military.

Ozekhome said the constitution is a unitary document with too much powers at the centre.

He likened the 1999 Constitution to “an illegitimate child”, pointing out that no amount of amendments will give it legitimacy.

“You cannot put something on nothing,” he told the Panel.

The human rights lawyer advised the National Assembly to aggregate the opinions of the Nigerian people from the conversations extracted from the public hearing and use them as the basis to develop a new constitution the people can truly call their own.

In his response, the Committee Chairman, Omo-Agege who incidentally is also a lawyer asked Ozekhome to put his suggestions in writing and possibly institute a legal action to void the 1999 Constitution and stop the current amendment process.

Ozekhome accepted the challenge even when he made another radical suggestion that the number of lawmakers in the Senate (109 of them) is too much for Nigeria to carry.

He wants the number cut down and their services limited to part-time basis.

But Ozekhome was not alone in the call for a new Constitution.

A member of the Constitution Review Committee, Opeyemi Bamidele, however, noted that setting aside the 1999 Constitution could be an open invitation to anarchy.

According to Bamidele, having a brand new constitution will require the National Assembly to amend Section 9 of the Constitution; a cumbersome process that needs the approval of at least four-fifth about 80 lawmakers in both chambers of the National Assembly and in the States Houses of Assembly.