Do Not Compromise By Taking Bribes, Dogara Warns Committee Chairmen, Deputies
The speaker of the House of Representatives, ?Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara, has warned lawmakers, especially chairmen and deputy chairmen, to shun acts of corruption in order not to compromise the image and mission of the 8th Assembly.
The speaker, who sounded this warning yesterday at a retreat organised for chairmen and deputies of House committees at the National Assembly, also warned the lawmakers that they cannot come out of such corrupt fraternisation untainted b?ecause they are masters of their game.
Dogara warned, “You must not succumb to persons or institutions that will seek to influence your judgment through corrupt means. If you take bribe from any person, you will impugn and destroy the integrity of the House as an institution. You will also scandalise yourself. You will compromise the image and the mission of the 8th Assembly. I wish to warn that we should avoid being dragged into the murky waters of corruption because we cannot beat the swines that specialise in wrestling there, to their own game. Once you are sucked in there, you are dead in the waters. Corrupt practices is and will never be part of the Legislative Agenda of the 8th Assembly!!.
He also charged them to focus on exposing waste, corruption and inefficiency in the executive by carrying out thorough investigation of their activities.
“For emphasis, our chairmen and their deputies should lead their various committees in the war against corruption and graft. Our investigative activities must be based only on the need to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of Laws within our legislative competence and in the administration of funds appropriated by the National Assembly.”
Going further, he stressed the power of the National Assembly to summon any person to give evidence or as witness during its investigative duties. He stated, “The Constitution in Section 89 further empowers the National Assembly to summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence, procure documents, and issue warrants to compel the attendance of a reluctant witness. The Committee on Rules and Business must ensure that henceforth all Resolutions requiring investigative hearing must have a legislative purpose stated in the Resolution itself, in order to pass judicial scrutiny, where necessary.”
The speaker emphasised that parliaments are indispensable institutions of representative democracy with the sole aim to represent the people and ensure that public policy is informed by citizens’ views and voices and legislation for the common good that responds to the needs of the citizens.
He noted, however, that the committees are not meant to weaken the Executive, but are constitutionally empowered as agents of the House to prevent misuse and abuse of executive power.
“The objective of activities of committees is not to obstruct but to scrutinize and identify gaps and errors and correct same through legislative activities and legislation. Members of the National Assembly are specifically elected and swore to an Oath of office to check and balance improper exercise of executive action on behalf of the Nigerian people”, he stated, adding that change can only be piloted through legislation.
“Change itself must be regulated, so that our people would not face the dangers of unregulated change…In this respect, legislative Committees, as the engine room of our legislative activities, can compliment the Change efforts of the Executive. The Committees of the House, of which you are Chairs and Deputy Chairs, must become drivers of the Change process espoused and expounded by the current administration geared towards providing physical and economic infrastructure as well as social policies that would provide opportunities for all Nigerians, especially the poor and the vulnerable.”