The Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, has said there was urgent need to carry out a holistic review of all extant and archaic laws in the country to promote good governance, institutional integrity, rule of law and efficient public expenditure management that stimulates socio-economic development.
He said the Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, had earlier directed the National Institute of Legislative Studies (NILS) and House Committee on Justice to initiate the process of wholesome review of all archaic laws which the international conference proceedings had assisted in facilitating.
Ihedioha spoke in a keynote address delivered at a roundtable discussion on Law Reform in Nigeria, organised by the NILS, in collaboration with the National Assembly Committees on Judiciary and Justice in Abuja.
The roundtable he said would provide a suitable platform to discuss the dynamics, challenges and benefits of law reform in Nigeria.
He added that there was no better time to organise the roundtable, which is part of the outcomes of the International Conference on Law Reform and Law Making Process organised by NILS in conjunction with the National Judicial Institute, Nigerian Law Reform Commission and International Law Institute, Washington D.C held last year.
He said: “I’m glad to state that the NILS and relevant National Assembly committees have remained faithful in responding to the challenge by ensuring the conduct of this round table, which has brought together the inputs of all stakeholders towards holistic reforms of our laws.”
According to him, it is unfortunate that since the coming into force of the 1999 Constitution, this is the first major effort to review all laws in our statue books.”
He said that there are many laws made by the military that have become obsolete, adding that so many of the laws are inconsistent with one another.
“So many laws cannot pass the test of democracy. Regrettably, a number of them are inconsistent with the Nigerian Constitution,” he said
Ihedioha stated that it was true that Section 315 of the Constitution retained all existing laws that was in force before the constitution came into effect with such modifications as may be necessary to bring it into conformity with the provisions of the constitution.
However, he added that it required the legislature pursuant to its lawmaking powers under Section 4 of the Constitution to make these amendments or modifications, adding that it was this constitutional directives that the National Assembly was fulfilling by the roundtable conference. He admitted: “The Constitution Review Committee of the House has also recommended and the House has passed many amendments to the Constitution that will have far-reaching effect in Nigeria.
“Indeed about 77 sections of the Constitution have been amended by the House.”
According to him, it was in recognition of this reality and consistent with the applied principles of separation of powers, which characterise constitutional democracy that legislators and critical stakeholders in administration of justice and law reform have been chosen as target participants at the conference.