At a retreat for chairmen and deputies of House committees at the National Assembly, speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara has warned lawmakers not to be involved in any acts of corruption.
Dogara tasked the lawmakers to avoid scandalising their persons by collecting bribe, thereby tarnishing the mission and image of the 8th National Assembly.
“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.”
The speaker also enjoined them to focus on exposing corruption, inefficiency and wastage in the executive through thorough and efficient investigation of 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.”
Furthermore, Dogara harped on the power of the Assembly to invite any person to serve as witness or give evidence in the course of its investigative duties.
“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.”
He further educated the lawmakers on the purpose of their election into the 8th Assembly.
“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,”
Dogara added that legislation is the wheel through which change is driven but “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.”