By Christiana Ekpa
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has tasked the management of the National Assembly to ensure that they always produce clean copies of bills to be transmitted to the Executive arm to avoid cases of rejection.
The Speaker said the mistakes of the past where typographical errors and others were allowed in drafted bills that eventually got to the president for assent must be avoided this time around.
Specifically, Gbajabiamila tasked the legal department of the National Assembly to be alert to its responsibilities as the 9th House would be a reformed one where issues of legislation would be given serious importance.
Speaking during a visit by the management staff led by the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Mohammed Sani-Omolori, the Speaker said the leadership of the House was ready to give the management, especially the legal department, the necessary support to succeed.
”This is an arm of government; it’s not a department or unit of government, and we expect it to run professionally and effectively. We expect that we all work to make it function the way it should.
“We should give it a face of legislative arm of government in line with international best practices. I want to commend and thank you (the management) for what you’ve done in the past.
“The legal department is somewhere that needs to be beefed up. I don’t think we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing yet.
“We have errors in bills sent to the president. But with the legal department, we should be able to dot the ‘Is’ and cross the ‘Ts’.
“If you need to employ more hands, tell us. If you need to present a proposal or need consultants, let us know so that we can come in,” the Speaker said.
The Speaker also used the opportunity to inform the management that the current National Assembly leadership attaches high premium on the issue of security of the federal legislature as an arm of government.
Earlier, Sani-Omolori said the management was on the visit to congratulate the leadership of the 9th House on their emergence and to pledge the management’s resolve to work hand-in-hand with them to make them succeed.
”The idea behind this visit is to use the opportunity to congratulate you and introduce ourselves to you, and to stress the fact that we have a full complement of the management team.
“The management team as currently constituted is a collector’s item.
Everybody here must have spent not less than 15 years in service. We are willing and ready to give the required support and cooperation for the House to provide legislation for the good governance of the country,” the CNA said.
In a brief response, the Secretary of the National Assembly Legal Services, Bala Yabani, said since he assumed office last December, the department has been doing its best to bring reforms and ensure that drafted bills were devoid of errors.
He said the Senate had passed a resolution to the effect that before any bill comes to the floor of the Red Chamber, it should be scrutinised by the legal department, calling on the House to do same.
The meeting had in attendance the Deputy Speaker Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, House Leader Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, Chief Whip Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno, Minority Leader Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, and all other principal officers.
On the management side, both the clerks of the Senate and the House, Nelson Ayewoh and Patrick Giwa, the various secretaries and the directors were present at the meeting.