The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, has said that the increase in the standing committees of the House from 109 to over 134 was to allow for better legislative oversight of the ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government by the legislature.
Abbas, while faulting the claims that the increase in the number of committees was to create more chairmanship and deputy chairmanship slots for members of the House, stated that the new committees were broken out of the existing ones to ease the heavy burden on some of the old ones.
The Speaker disclosed this during an interactive session with members of the House of Representatives Press Corps in Abuja on Tuesday, according to a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Musa Krishi.
Tajudeen noted that the media is a critical part of democratic governance. He sought the support of the fourth estate of the realm in deepening Nigeria’s democracy.
He said, “For example, the Committee on Tertiary Education had over 300 institutions to supervise and at the end of every year, they would end up not being able to oversee some of them. So, we had to break it down to allow for efficiency and to put eyes on what the executive is doing.”
Remarking further, the Speaker also disclosed that all standing committees had been given marching orders on performance and efficiency, saying that this inspired the creation of a Committee on Monitoring and Evaluation of Standing and Ad Hoc Committees.
“In the past, not all committees were active. Now, we want to ensure that all standing committees are active, working for the betterment of the Nigerian people. We want to ensure transparency and we want results. That is why we set up a monitoring committee to monitor their activities.
“We have also set up a standing committee to monitor the implementation of our Legislative Agenda. I want to assure the people that we will work for the betterment of the country,” he said.
Tajudeen also stated that the existing relationship between his office and the media would be strengthened, adding that the House would be holding a quarterly media briefing to enlighten Nigerians on its activities.
On the role the media plays in democracy, he said that for any democratic system to grow, the media must be objective and balanced in its reportage of activities concerning institutions like the legislature.
Earlier, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Press Corps, Ms Grace Ike, noted that the corps was pro-democracy and was committed to promoting good governance through objective and balanced reportage.
Ike said, “As journalists, we are also conscious of national interest and have been doing our job with utmost patriotism. We are not oblivious to the fact that the parliament is the bastion of democracy and, hence, the reports coming out of it must reflect the reality on the ground and meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.”