Why We Operate Open Parliament in the National Assembly -Deputy Speaker, Kalu

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has underscored the importance of an open legislature, saying it will enable the lawmakers to prioritize legislative actions that will help to meet the needs of Nigerians.


Kalu made the assertion while delivering his welcome remarks at the commencement of the 2024 Open Week of the House of Representatives themed “Improving Inclusion Through Citizens Engagement” holding at the National Assembly complex.


He said that the lawmakers have a responsibility to understand the nation’s urgent needs and address them accordingly.


He said: “On behalf of the House of Representatives, I warmly welcome you all to the Open Week 2024. As the People’s House, we understand the importance of transparency and public engagement. This week is dedicated to engendering a more inclusive and democratic legislative process that truly reflects our constituents’ needs and voices.


“I must highlight that the visionary leadership of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abass PhD, the Iyan Zazzau, deserves immense praise. This inclusive approach, ensuring all voices are heard, is a model for effective governance. The hard work and ingenuity of the entire 10th House leadership is truly commendable. It is a privilege to collaborate with them in delivering the transformative potential of the 8-point legislative agenda.


“This 8-point agenda focuses on strengthening good governance by promoting transparency, accountability, and the rule of law; improving national security to ensure the safety of all Nigerians; modernizing and strengthening our legal framework; stimulating economic growth and job creation; investing in education, healthcare, and other essential services; generations enhancing public participation in the legislative process; promoting Nigeria’s interests on the global stage; and protecting our environment for future generations.


“An open legislature is not just about engagement, it is about data-driven decision-making. We, as your representatives, have a responsibility to

understand the nation’s most immediate needs and address them accordingly. This requires a meticulous approach, utilizing data and prioritizing models that reflect the pulse of our nation.


“Planning without facts has historically led developing nations like ours down a path of retrogression. Openness and data-driven decision-making will ensure our legislative actions are tailored to the evolving needs of the

people we serve.


“This Open Week is a testament to our commitment to transparency and public engagement”.


Kalu also revealed that the House has carried out 107 oversight visits on the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to ensure that the programmes and policies of government are effectively implemented.


“The House also conducted a commendable 107 oversight visits and inspections across Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) nationwide. This commitment to oversight ensures that government programs are implemented effectively, efficiently, and in line with legislative intent. Notably, the House Committee on Health Institutions conducted a significant portion of these visits, focusing on assessing the performance of the 2023 budget implementation and capital project execution”, he said.


The deputy speaker also stated that the 10th in the last one year has introduced over one thousand bills and motions, surpassing the previous assemblies since the return of democracy in 1999.


While some of the bills have since received the presidential assent, others are however on various stages of law enactment procescess.


Some of the key bills included the Electricity Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023; the Federal Audit Service Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023; the Niger Delta Development Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023; the South East Development Commission (Establishment) Bill, 2023; the Nigerian Medical Research Council (Establishment) Bill, 2023 and the Access to Higher Education Act, 2023 (Student Loan Act).


“Let me take a moment to acknowledge the remarkable achievements of the 10th House during its first year. We witnessed the introduction of a record-breaking 1,351 bills, showcasing our commitment to legislative efficiency and effectiveness. This surpasses the number of bills introduced in the first session since 1999. Additionally, the House considered a staggering 679 motions, demonstrating our active engagement on a wide range of issues”, Kalu said

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