NASS urged to strengthen Democratic Institutions with edict

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By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos.
The National Assembly (NASS) has been urged to strengthen national institutions that support democracy by giving them independent status and functions, in accordance with South Africa’s model.
Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, who observed that “Nigeria’s democracy is fragile” made the plea in view of recent happenings in the country.
The institutions he listed that need to be empowered are:  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Police, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the office of th Accountant General. National Judicial Council (NJC), the office of Attorney-General, Central Bank of Nigreria (CBN), National Human Rights Commission, Economic and Financialb Crimes Commission (EFCC), the office of the Public Defender, the Code of Conduct Bureau, among others.
Agbakoba said:  “Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution establishes some of these national institutions but they are only executive agencies.”
He argued that these agencies have no practical constitutional guarantees for independence and effective functioning.
“We should borrow a leaf from chapter 9 of the constitution of South Africa titled “Institutions Consolidating Democracy,” he recommended.
He suggested that chapter 9 of the South Africa’s constitution should replace Section 153 of the 1999 constitution.
The NASS can do this by either introducing a Fifth Alteration Bill entitled “Institutions Consolidating Democracy” or by exercising  its power under Section 4 (1) and 315 (1) by repealing the present constitution and simultaneously replacing it with a new constitution,” the SAN counseled.
“I propose a new constitution for Nigeria,” he asserted.
Agbakoba buttressed his claim by endorsing to Nass, Professor Ben Nwabueze’s suggestion on how a new constitution can be made for Nigeria.
“I believe it is compelling,” he stressed.

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