As the National Conference deliberation progresses, delegates have decided to amend the 1999 Constitution by overwhelmingly voting for the removal of immunity clause as enshrined in the Constitution.
They observed that the clause, which has attracted unfavourable comments at every National or Constitutional Conferences, currently protects the President, Vice President and State Governors and their Deputies from prosecution as long as they remain in office. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, they said should be made to pay prevalent interest rates on duly delayed remittances to the federation account.
Sources from the Conference Secretariat have indicated that in a bid to attract the patronage of goods produced in Nigeria, the Conference urged the National Assembly to enact a law that would prohibit government officials from going abroad to source for goods that are available in Nigeria. “To prevent excessive personalization of policies and promote policy consistency, it was decided that government should submit a Bill on National Participatory Development Process to the National Assembly for enactment into law.
“As a pro-gender policy, Conference asked the government to provide a special fund for interest-free loans for women farmers, marketers, traders, transporters, owners of rural cooperatives; stating that the Central Bank of Nigeria should establish a special interest regime of a single digit for industries and condemned situations where banks record billions of naira in profit yearly while the manufacturing sector dies. As a move towards preventing monopolies in the private sector of the economy, the Conference asked the Federal Government to send Anti-Trust Bill to the National Assembly for passage into law.
While discussing on the 21st anniversary of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Elections, the National Conference paid tribute to M.K.O Abiola and those killed during the crisis that followed. In a motion moved under Matters of Urgent Public Importance, the South – South Delegate, Orok Otu Duke informed the delegates of the need to honour Abiola and those who died in the struggle.
“Orok Otu Duke in continuing with the Moshood Abiola’s ultimate price noted that some of the delegates would have been victims of June 12; indicating that those who fell for June 12 should be remembered now as the real memory of June 12 is to reaffirm the commitment to free and fair election,” the report explained. Mike Ozekhome added that June 12 has remained critical in Nigeria’s history, saying some people did pay the supreme price to attain the democracy the country has presently. He described June 12 as not just important, but a watershed in Nigeria’s democracy.
Also speaking, Edwin Clark called on delegates to regard June 12 as the authentic democracy day. “I lend my voice to the observations made, but for small mindlessness, June 12 should have been Democracy Day. June 12 is actually democracy day for Nigeria,’ he stated. After a long debate, the Conference Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi called for the observance of a minute silence for those who lost their lives during the June 12 debacle.