Confab Suspends Religious, Land Tenure Recommendations

The leadership of the ongoing National Conference has temporarily suspended some “contentious” recommendations contained in the reports of some of its Standing Committees.

James Akpandem, Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications disclosed this in a statement.

According to him, recommendations of the committees on Religion; and Land Tenure and National Boundaries were regarded as contentious and were therefore suspended.

“Slated for resolution on Wednesday were issues arising from previous committee reports that were put in “bracket” by the principal officers of the conference due to objections raised when they came under consideration.

“Such issues include the recommendation by the Committee on Land Tenure and National Boundaries that the Land Use Act be expunged from the constitution for easy amendment of the Act for the benefit of the people.

“Some of the delegates were opposed to the recommendation while others applauded it, a situation that forced the presiding officers of the conference to put the issue in bracket,” he said.

To make headway, the presiding officers of the conference had appointed “some delegates from every section of the country to meet and resolve the impasse”.

Akpandem also said the recommendation to scrap Pilgrims Welfare Boards after the adoption of the recommendation for government to stop further sponsorship of pilgrimage, was also temporarily suspended.

“Also put in abeyance was the recommendation by the Committee on Religion for the scrapping of the Pilgrims Welfare Board or its movement to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

“This follows the adoption of the recommendation for non-sponsorship of pilgrimages by government at any level.

“Some of the delegates were of the view that scrapping the welfare body would hinder preparation for pilgrimages.

“However, others believed retaining the board would be counter-productive since government’s non-involvement in pilgrimages had already been resolved and adopted,” he said.

He said another issue temporarily suspended by the presiding officers was a recommendation in the report of the Committee on Religion for the establishment of Religious Equity Commission (RECOM).

“The committee stated that the commission would have the statutory mandate of advocacy, enforcement of constitutional religious rights such as freedom of religion, freedom to acquire land for religious purposes, among others.

“While some of the delegates said the National Human Rights Commission should be empowered to handle such issues, others believed the new commission would serve useful purposes.

“When arguments for and against could not be resolved before close of session on Tuesday, the presiding officers decided to put it in abeyance till the next sitting,” he said.

Akpandem said that proceedings at the plenary would resume on Monday 2 June with deliberation on more reports of committees and adoption of recommendations contained in the reports.

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