Use your oversight power if you must expose corruption, NOA, ICPC tells National Assembly

The Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Garba Abari has called on the National Assembly to exercise critical oversight power to check corruption through fact checking, interview and investigation of public officials. The DG said this at the 2020 Legislative Conference organised by HallowMace communications in collaboration with NOA, themed; Legislative Investigative Power: Expectations, Challenges and way forward.”

Abari in his speech said the oversight watchdog role of the Legislature is expected to be exercised in the protection of national resources and democracy itself, which automatically includes the democratic rights of citizens and the constitution. According to Abari, “In the manner of a real life watchdog that barks when an intruder suddenly appears on the scene, this role involves raising an alarm and investigating when an anomaly is detected and this not only on the side of government.” The DG also stated that the Legislature is expected to exercise its critical oversight watch dog role in self-policing its members too.

“We expect that the Legislature will perform its oversight watch dog role through fact-checking, through interviewing public officials and challenging them with problems and concerns, through fact gathering, through observation of the things that are going on in the broader society and through its investigative powers. The investigative responsibility of the Legislature must lead to the prevention of corrupt practices, to avoid all distortions and manipulations of budgets and the budgeting process. This responsibility is critical to providing the necessary conducive atmosphere for the successful delivery of the dividends of democracy to the electorate,” he said.

Similarly, Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owosanoye also charged the 9th National Assembly to use its legislative investigative powers in curbing corruption, inefficiency and waste in the system.

Owosanoye speaking through his Chief of Staff, Esa Onoja, said Sections (88) and (89) of the 1999 Constitution clearly empowers the National Assembly to conduct legislative investigative hearings through resolutions to check virtully anything including abuse of power. According to him, the National Assembly is modelled in the frame of an Anti-Corruption agency; and it should find the strength to exercise this power.

In using the powers; the Anti- graft czar said the National Assembly must be like “Ceasar’s Wife”, rising above every suspicion. Buttressing on the roles of the Legislature, CEO of HallowMace Communications, Anderson Osiebe, accused the National Assembly of not being alive to its constitutional responsibilities. Osiebe said the National Assembly must be proactive to every situation in the country bothering that has to do with Nigeria and Nigerians. According to him, “Until the National Assembly wakes up from its slumber; Nigeria will continue to remain asleep”.

He added that the recent #EndSARS protests was an indictment on the National Assembly and would not have been necessary if the legislature was doing its work. “The recent #EndSARS Protest is an indictment on the National Assembly….If the National Assembly was up to its responsibilities, the people won’t have any business protesting in the streets”,

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