By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO, Abuja |
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged anti-graft agencies to embark on capacity-building programmes for legislators for an effective fight against corruption in the country.
Gbajabiamila made the call at a workshop organised for the House Committee on Anti-Corruption by Konrad Adeneur Stiftung (Foundation) on Thursday in Abuja.
The speaker noted that Nigerians are desirous of good governance and as well looking to the legislature to be the agent that will combat security, poverty, corruption and other challenges.
According to him, the Legislative Agenda of the 9th House of Representatives noted four very critical areas to tackle corruption in the country.
He further said that the House was also considering strengthening the fight against corruption through increased funding for anti-graft agencies and separation of powers through constitutional amendment to separate the office of the Minister of Justice from that of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
“To the anti-graft agencies here present, I wish to also encourage you to organise similar capacity-building workshops or to collaborate with the committee on sensitisation programmes to curb or reduce corruption in the country.
“This will surely would surely assist the committee to broaden their know-how on anti-corruption matters,’’ he said.
Gbajabiamila commended Konrad Adeneur Stiftung Foundation for organising the workshop, saying that it was not only supporting the committee but the parliament and the country at large.
He encouraged lawmakers to make maximum use of the opportunity to participate fully and to increase their knowledge base.
Gbajabiamila expressed hope that at the end of the workshop, its aims and objectives would have been realised by helping the legislature to come up with legislations that would stand the test of time.
Earlier, the chairman of the Committee on Anti-corruption, Rep. Shehu Garba, said that the aim of the workshop was to help the committee effectively discharge its duties.
Garba who was represented by the deputy chairman, Rep. Bagos Dachung (PDP, Plateau) said that the importance of capacity building in human life cannot be over emphasised.
He said that it will broadens the knowledge and know-how of the participants and also will help in the institutional growth of the country and the world at large.
“We all know the dynamics of corruption; hence we need to try every available means to tackle it, this capacity building for members on Anti—Corruption is a crucial component of this 9th House of Representatives Legislative Agenda on Anti-Corruption.
“At the inaugural meeting of the Committee, an ad-hoc Committee was set up to design a work plan to assist her in the discharge of her mandate, and one of the proposal from the ad hoc committee was to collaborate and seek support from organisations of like minds in order to tackle the menace anti-corruption.
“We all know the crucial role the parliament has to play in the fight against corruption and to be able to do so, she needs not only to be well informed, but also to be well armed,’’ he said.
Also, Prof. Suleiman Abubakar, the Director-General of National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies, stressed the need for a change of narrative by the legislature.
According to him, there was the need to change the narrative that the parliament aims to undermine the strength of anti-graft agencies.
“The legislature is doing so much to assist the anti-graft agencies in achieving their mandate through oversight activities and other processes of the National Assembly.
“It rests on those agencies to work well with the national Assembly by ensuring that those procedures are carried out appropriately and Legislature performs its role, especially in oversight which is key and cumbersome.
“Not only by cooperating but also canvassing for the National Assembly to get all the support it needs and requires to perform its duties,’’ Suleiman said.