The Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution headed by Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, has provided the public with an email address through which they can make their inquiries. There’s only one problem, though: the email address is invalid.
The email and one of the phone numbers, which was switched off, was in a circular shared on Tuesday evening that invited the public to a public hearing on “The Proposed Alteration to the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999”, starting on Wednesday, May 26.
Sada Malumfashi, a journalist and digital security expert who discovered this, tweeted: “The email provided in this circular is a non-existent email address for an issue and a document this sensitive. It’s about the review of the Nigerian constitution but the email address provided for inquiry is invalid.”
The GMail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) is not an official Nigerian Senate email and has made Nigerians question the seriousness of the lawmakers. FIJ equally checked the website of the Nigerian Senate but the website could not be found.
The zonal public hearing will be held at two centres across each of the six geo-political zones from 10am to 5pm and will address issues around gender equity and increased participation of women and vulnerable groups in governance, power devolution, local government autonomy, the establishment of state police and electoral reforms amongst others.
Malumfashi further explained the implication of the Nigerian Senate using a Gmail account: “Google is a US-based organization with their cybers situated in the US, which means they are legally bound to provide data to the United States Government when necessary, and basically this means all conversations on the Nigerian constitution via that channel can be monitored or used by Google based on the terms and conditions of opening a Gmail account. Moreover, it’s very unprofessional if you look at it, when the government, especially the Federal Ministry of Communication, is championing a digital revolution of using .gov.ng accounts.”
FIJ reached out to the Clerk to the Committee, Dr Innocent Mebiri for comments, but calls to his phone went unanswered and he did not reply to the message sent to his number on the circular.
The public hearing will hold in Jos, Minna, Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Sokoto, Owerri, Enugu, Asaba, Port Harcourt, Lagos and Akure centres. The hearing will end on Thursday, May 27.