The apex legislative chamber retained the immunity clause for the president and governors.
The approval was in sharp disagreement with the stance of the House of Representatives, which had earlier expunged the immunity clause from the amendment Bill while considering its version of the report last week.
During the harmonisation of the versions of the two chambers, the Senate was said to have rejected the decision of the House at the Conference Committee on the issue.
After much argument, the Senate’s version was adopted, thereby retaining the immunity clause in the Constitution.
The Senate also approved the recommendation of the Committee in Section 9 of the Bill, which removed the power of the president to assent to any bill in respect of Constitution alteration.
The Section 9 of the Bill, as contained in the report, pointed out that the essence of the removal of the power of the president to assent to an alteration bill was to enhance the sovereignty of the citizens through their elected representatives.
The Senate equally approved the provision of the Bill in Section 65, which provides for independent candidacy in elections in the country so that interested politicians could contest elections on zero party basis.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly also adopted the provision of the report in Section 7, which gave autonomy to the local governments in Nigeria by providing for their funding, tenure, elections and to clearly delineate their powers and responsibilities to ensure effective service delivery and insulate them from undue interference from state governments.
The Senate similarly gave its approval to Section 4 of the amendment Bill, which confers immunity on legislators at all levels of governance in respect of words spoken or written in the exercise of their legislative duties in their respective chambers.
Section 45 of the Bill, which enshrines the right to education and the right to health, as fundamental human rights in the Constitution, was also approved by the upper legislative Chamber.
The National Assembly however moved to whittle down the powers of the president through Sections 58 and 100, which lawmakers claimed were designed to resolve the impasse where the president or governor of a state neglects to signify his assent or withholds such assent.
According to the Conference report, removing such power from the president or governor would strengthen legislatures authority and enable timely passage of laws for good governance.
Section 67 of the Bill makes it mandatory for the president to attend a joint meeting of the National Assembly once a year to deliver a state of the nation address.
In the interest of accountability and efficient service delivery, Section 81 provides for the funding of the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, Office of the Attorney-General of the federation, National Security Agencies, the Nigerian Police, the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission are to be directly funded from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.
Sections 82 and 122 reduced the period within which the president or governor of a state might authorise the withdrawal of moneys from the Consolidated Revenue Fund in the absence of an appropriation act from six months to three months.
Section 84(4) (A – F) created Office of the Accountant General for the Federal Government.
However, in an attempt to tackle the recurring incidences of disobedience to parliamentary summons, Sections 89 and 129 of the alteration Bill empowered the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly respectively to prescribe sanctions, civil or criminal or both for failure, refusal or neglect to obey summons issued by a legislative house or a Committee of any of the Houses.
The National Assembly also amended Section 225 to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to de-register political parties for non-fulfilment of certain conditions such as breach of registration .requirements and failure to secure/win either a presidential, governorship, local government chairmanship or a seat in the National or State Assembly.
Section 228 confers powers on the National Assembly to make laws for the procedures, guidelines and qualifications for access to the ballot by political parties and independent candidates, while Section 241 provides that a court or tribunal shall not stay any proceedings on account of any interlocutory appeal.