Why we increased standing committees of the House — Speaker Abbas

… says 10th House will ensure transparency

By Gift Chapiodekina

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas on Tuesday explained that the House increased the number of its standing Committee from 109 to about 137 not aimed at giving leadership positions to members of the House, but to increase the level of efficiency of the oversight functions of the House.

The Speaker who spoke at an interactive session with members of the of House of Representatives Press Corps said some committees of the House were too large for effective oversight.

Citing examples, he said that the committee on tertiary education had over 300 agencies to supervise and at the end of every year, they will end up not being able to oversight some of them. So we have to break it down to allow for efficiency and to put eyes on what the Executive is doing”.

The Committee has been broken into University Education, Federal Polytechnic, Federal Colleges of Education and TETFund.

The decision of the House to increase the number of standing committees has come under criticism.

The Speaker said all standing committees have been given marching orders to ensure efficiency in their work.

He explained that in order to press home. With the need for efficiency in the work of the standing committees, the House decided to set up a monitoring committee that would monitor the works of the various committees and put them on their toes.

He said “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”.

The Speaker also assured that under his leadership, the existing relationship with the media will be strengthened, adding that the House will carry out a quarterly media briefing on its activities to enlighten Nigerians on the steps taken by the parliament.

He disclosed that the House was planning a quarterly training for members of the Press Corps as part of efforts to ensure professionalism in reporting the activities of the parliament.

Chairman of the House of Press Corps, Grace Ike said the Press Corps was a democracy-friendly corps that is committed to promoting good governance through objective and balanced reportage.

According to her, any leader that wants to succeed must court the media and enjoy their confidence, while ensuring mutual understanding.

She said further that “as professional 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 Nigeria.

“However, we also need the cooperation and support of your leadership to continue offering undiluted service to the nation. We need the understanding of committee chairmen and their members to reciprocate our friendly gesture and carry us along in their activities.

“The parliament is a specialized area so there should be training and retraining of journalists should be given utmost priority and we look forward to seeing this materialize”.

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