Agbakoba writes Deputy Senate President over constitutional amendment …Proposes new sub-section on Supremacy Clause
Former president of the Nigerian Bar Association NBA, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN has written the Deputy Senate President, Senate Ovie Omo-Agege over the ongoing amendment of the 1999 Constitution, proposing the creation of a new sub-section under the Supremacy Clause.
Recall that the Senate, Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber had recently commenced an amendment of some sections of the 1999 constitution, the country’s supreme body of laws with the committee headed by the Deputy Senate President, Omo-Agege
In a letter dated November 25, 2020 and addressed to the Deputy Senate President and chairman of the Constitution Amendment Committee and a copy made available to our Correspondent, the Senior Advocate, who hinted that the letter was sequel to an earlier zoom meeting, drew the attention of the committee to certain anomalies on what he described as so-called Supremacy Clause in the constitution.
According to him, since the Supremacy Clause renders inconsistent and void, any law that is contrary to the Constitution, there should be a new sub-section (4) that should be added, that provides a consequence by incorporating a declaration of invalidity Clause.
He argued that a declaration of invalidity would enable a court of competent jurisdiction, upon proof of the inconsistent law to immediately declare it invalid without the rigors of a trial.
This, he insists will strengthen the sanctity of the Constitution.
For instance, he citedsub-section one of the Supremacy Clause, which provides that this Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Part two of that sub-section also provides that the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any person or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
While also citing part three of the sub-section of the Supremacy Clause, which provides that if any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
In view of the Supremacy Clause, it is believed that a declaration of an invalid Clause would save the time of the court, as the judge would just invoke such declaration instead of going into trial.
It would be recalled that many political analysts have called for the enactment of a fresh constitution instead of piecemeal amendment of the 1999 constitution, which many have severally described as a military constitution.
Some political observers have also questioned the suitability of Senator Omo-Agege to chair the constitution amendment committee given his alleged roles in the invasion of the upper chamber something in 2014 or thereabout by thugs suspected to have been hired by him, who also made away with the Mace, the symbol of authority of the Senate, thus desecrating the hallowed chamber.