The leadership of the House of Representatives on Tuesday finally resumed its legislative activities with a vow to “disappoint those who call the National Assembly – House of Representatives rubber stamp”, going forward.
Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, who stated this at a press briefing with Parliamentary Correspondents in Abuja, also warned the Executive arm on the need to ensure full implementation of the 2020 Appropriation Act, following the passage of the Finance bill and the return of the nation’s budget cycle to January to December.
“There is a political will to sustain the achievement of the past six months of the Ninth Assembly. I said so because we are now going to wear our cap of doing the watchdog function.
“We are going to disappoint those people who call the National Assembly – the House of Representatives ‘rubber stamp’. This Assembly is wearing a dog watching cap from now on.
“What does that mean, it means that those items we took our time to capture in the budget, they are not just mere letters, they supposed to transform into affecting lives of the common Nigerians.
“So we are going to watch the executive work their talk and if they don’t, we will be on them as allows by Section 88 & 89 of the Constitution which regards to our oversight function.
“This does not in any way mean that the relationship between us and other arms of government are not going to be there, but we must do our job. So the MDAs should sit up and expect the policing of the legislative arm with regards to making sure that all that has been captured are implemented. That is the only way and the major way we will sustain what we are achieved for Nigerians in the last six months.
“Of not so, it will be an exercise in futility, that we are going to give life to those letters making sure that implementation is achieved,” the Media Chairman assured Nigerians.
While speaking on the set agenda for the House after resumption from the Christmas and New Year recess especially on the spate of killings of innocent citizens across the country, Hon. Kalu explained that the House will prioritise issues bothering on timely passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), review of Electoral Act, Constitution review and security.
“Also, there is a great task we have set for ourselves this year, one of them is the famous PIG bill that everybody has been clamouring for. We are very optimistic, we are very committed to ensuring that this year we will give it the final stamp for it to be passed.
“We are also looking at our electoral laws to make sure that we keep fine-tuning them to achieve the desired of the people whom Thai have been made for that the people are satisfied that the Electoral Act is addressing their core needs.
“So, be expectant that the Electoral Act is not going to remain as it is, be expectant that what you yearn as Nigerians and what you expect to be introduced in the Electoral Act through our engagement with you, because if you are going to play your role. We call on Nigerians to make themselves available when we call for a public hearing. Not sit at home and end up blaming the House of Representatives or Senate, the role you need to pay, you have to play it.
“Another thing we are going to look at is the Constitutional review, there is going to be a couple of them this year that will reflect the desire of people of Nigeria.
“We will also look at what pains you and pains us, that is the insecurity that is in the land.
“The insecurity in the land is too much, it is alarming, we can no longer paint it with beautiful colours, we can no longer discuss it in low tunes.
“The cries of the people that have lost their lives, they are giving us sleepless night and something needs to be done about it and this Ninth Assembly is going to look at various legislative interventions with regards to insecurity in the land to ensure that Nigerians are safe better than they have always been because that is the core mandate of every government to protect lives and property.
“What is happening with Boko Haram in the North-east and the introduction of the police to handle the issues and as you are aware it is the responsibility of the Police to take care of the internal security.
“So it is not a wrong decision for them to be called upon to play this role that the constitution has them mandate to play.
“There were aspersions on the Police on whether they can do it or not, the recent report that we are getting shows the Police is capable of handling our internal security.
“There are some success story coming from what they are doing at the moment, we are going to use legislative intervention to support them the more and not only that, for all the other role-players within the Armed Forces to make sure that the people are motivated the more to protect Nigerians,” Hon. Kalu noted.
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