The House of Representatives Committee on Ethics and Privileges has restated its commitment to ensuring adherence to the Code of Conduct among members of the green chamber.
The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Kolawale Lawal (APC-Ogun) made the pledge at a workshop organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and MacArthur Foundation on Friday in Abuja.
According to him, we the members of this committee are determined to stay and to write our names in gold.
“This training will no doubt enable both the members of the committee and indeed the entire members of the House of Representatives to internalise the global best practices on Code of Ethics in public service.
“It will strengthen the capability of the members of the committee to enforce the committee’s jurisdictional pioneers as stipulated in section-Vlll (a) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives.
“Also, it will reinforce legislative accountability mechanisms; more so, equip us to be advocates and vanguards of the fight against corruption in our legislative functions as well as in the entire public life of the citizens of our country.
“Consequently, erase the negative public image of the legislature and that of our country in the international community as well as accelerate the development of our dear country,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Auwal Musa, the Executive Director CISLAC said that it was the desire of the organisation for all legislators to adhere to the code of conduct.
He said that CISLAC was ready to collaborate with the committee on Ethics and Privileges in the house to close up every gap and ensure strict implementation of the code of conduct.
He said that the work of the ethics and privileges committee was not popular among members of the house describing the committee as “the police of members”.
Musa said the functions of the committee were very important to expelling corruption from the legislature, urging support of stakeholders for the committee.
In his remarks, Mr Oladayo Olaide, the Deputy Director, MacArthur Foundation Nigeria office, identified corruption as the biggest challenge confronting the nation.
Olaide said that until corruption was addressed, the effect of the huge sum money invested in various sectors of the economy would not be felt.
He described corruption as an existential threat, charging the lawmakers to activate Administration of Criminal Justice Act to defeat it.
The deputy director said that the Federal Audit Bill, Whistle Blowers Bill, Electoral Amendment Bill, and Proceed of Crime Bill were aimed at ensuring integrity in governance.
Olaide said that the demands of the Nigerian youth to end police brutality which escalated into demands for good governance was a reflection of the exemplary leadership desires in the nation.
He charged the committee to ensure the implementation of code of conduct which was imbedded in the standing rules of the house.
The Chairman, Code of Conduct Bureau, Prof. Isa Mohammed, said that there was currently a great distrust between the leaders and the led.
He said policies put in place to make life better for the society were faced by the challenges of corruption in spite of the instruments put in place to tackle corruption in the country.
Mohammed said that it was dishonourable for public officers not to perform their duties for the good of all or to expect gifts in return for doing their job.
According to him, the fear of God or the fear of the law is what ensures things are being done rightly but here, we do things with impunity.
Mohammed said that if all Nigerians can just do things right, corruption would be addressed in the country once and for all.
The Director-General, Nigerian Institute for Advance Legal Studies, Prof. Muhammed Ladan, said that the code of conduct was already imbedded in Standing Rules of the house.
He charged the committee on ethics to make principal officers of the house champions of the committee to make them buy into the committee’s agenda.
According to Ladan, once that is done, the leadership will not shield anybody found in breach of the Code of Conduct by the committee.
He said that the duty of the committee was embedded in sections 23 and 15 of the Constitution, urging them to utilise the powers.
Ladan commended the lower chamber for its proactiveness over the years saying that the parliament remained the most important arm of government in a democratic society.
Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Donald Ugwu