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Why We Want To Open NASS To Public – Senate Leader

Ahmed Lawan

Senate leader, Ahmed Lawan has explained reasons why the National Assembly has initiated the Open Week to open the legislature to the public.

He made the remarks Wednesday during the inauguration of the National Assembly open week steering committee titled advancing inclusive governance through legislative openness.

According to him , governments around the world are promoting initiatives in transparency or ‘open government observing that governments that are open and transparent are more accountable to their citizens and less likely to be corrupt.

What is more, he explained that openness generates trust in government and also paves the way for meaningful participation by citizens and more informed and better policies.

He added that Parliamentary openness signifies increased commitment by national and regional parliaments to citizen engagement in parliamentary work.

He said the benefits of the Open Week initiative are numerous and have direct bearing on democratic governance in Nigeria.

He said “It is against this background that the National Assembly has initiated the Open Week to open NASS to the public. It will broaden public understanding legislative of functions and processes and engender interaction between legislators and key stakeholders.

“The first is that through the Open Week the National Assembly is fostering public participation in the democratic process. Giving the public access to legislative information, activities and policies is a substantial step towards empowering them to take part in political dialogue and decision-making processes.

“Secondly, the Open Week signifies the National Assembly’s commitment to increasing accountability and limiting corruption. Allowing public access to the legislature allows stakeholders to scrutinize our actions as an institution.

“Furthermore, such public engagement can lead to greater trust in government. Opening NASS means we have ‘nothing to hide’. Being able to access this information significantly reduces suspicion and generates trust in government.

“Thus the Open Week will address the perennial negative public perception of legislators and the institution of the legislature by bringing closer the various publics and the legislature. It will thus improve the image of NASS and eliminate some of the myths and misperceptions about the National Assembly,” he stated.

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