SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara over the weekend said no bill seeking to introduce Sharia legal system in Nigeria was before the National Assembly. Dogara disclosed this at a reception organised to honour him and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal by the Northern Nigerian Christian Politicians in Abuja. In a press statement, the Speaker refuted reports that the House was secretly considering the Sharia bill. He maintained that by the provisions of the standing rules of the House, bills on constitution amendment were referred to the special ad hoc committee on the Review of the Constitution, adding that the sole prerogative of the committee was to introduce constitutional amendment bills in the House. Dogara hinted that a member introduced clauses which sought to include criminal aspects of Sharia in the constitution, but said it was referred to the ad hoc committee on the Review of the Constitution. The Speaker explained that before such bill could be passed into law, at least two-third of members of the National Assembly would have to vote yes to it before it is transmitted to the 36 states Houses of Assembly for endorsement by two-third of them. He further pointed out that voting on such clauses were done with
individual members voting for or against each clause before being passed, stressing that if any clause fails in either of the two chambers, such amendment would be considered dead. According to him, “The proposal came in a way that a member wants some criminal aspect of Sharia to be enshrined in the constitution. Now as a House, if even there is a proposal from this floor that we should embrace ecclesiastical law, we are bound to consider it and by the virtue of our rules, once there is that kind of proposal we send it to the committee. “No individual member has the right to craft a bill that will lead to amendment of the constitution. Only the committee has the sole prerogative of drafting bill that will lead to constitutional amendment. In the Senate, I am not aware that such a bill has been presented by the committee. In the House that committee has not submitted any bill. That is where we are. It is not only totally misleading by false to say that National Assembly is seeking to introduce Sharia in the constitution. There is no such bill. “As far I am concerned, no such bill has emanated from the committee. “I want us to get this thing clear because it is a point of contention in the Christian community not only in the North, but even in the South; I feel I have the duty as the Speaker to explain this even though I had explained it on the floor of the House before.”

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