Parliamentary Monitoring Organisations score NASS low on citizens’ interest

Oluremi AgbejuleJune 23, 20244 min

Nigeria’s Parliamentary Monitoring Organisations said the National Assembly (NASS) must prioritize the interest of citizens at all times 

NASS probe into $4.4bn NLNG project 

A group of civil society organizations under the aegies of the Nigeria Network of Parliamentary Monitoring Organisations (NNPMO) has called on the National Assembly (NASS) to prioritize the interest of citizens above political and personal pursuits. 

The NNPMOs, which are a cluster of civil society organizations that promote transparency, accountability, and citizen participation in parliamentary processes and outcomes in the country, work collectively towards strengthening democratic institutions, encouraging citizen engagement, and fostering an inclusive and responsive legislative environment.

In the face of insecurity ravaging Nigeria, unstable economy, high inflation rate, high rise in unemployment with many Nigerians living in abject penury. Statistics have shown that  an estimated population of 88.4million  people in Nigeria live in extreme poverty which is a huge call of concern.

In a statement to assess the first year performance of the 10th NASS and released over the weekend, the NNPMO lamented that instead of prioritizing the concerns and interests of citizens, federal lawmakers have been embroiled in cases of corruption allegations, ineffective and ineffectual oversight of the executive arm of government, and attempts to trivialize the mounting sufferings of Nigerians.

Scorecarding  the performance of both legislative chambers of the National Assembly, the Parliamentary Monitoring Organisations (PMOs) stressed how the parliament has been embroiled in so much drama during plenary sessions and at committee levels, “earning them more negative feedback from the public and triggering public outrage” which the lawmakers appear to be impervious to.

The group recalls that in October 2023, the NASS was criticized over its decisions to spend  billions of naira on exotic vehicles for lawmakers. It also recalls how the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, remarked on “prayers to lawmakers mailboxes” during a live plenary proceeding, suggesting that huge sums of money had been sent into the bank accounts of senators to enable them ‘enjoy’ their holidays. 

“The NNPMO decried the decision of the Senate to sweep under the carpet the scandal spurned by Senator Abdul Ningi’ allegations of budget padding in the 2024 budget, noting the suspension and recall of the whistle-blower without getting to the bottom of the issue is a shameful travesty on the part of the senate.” 

While criticising the parliament over the July 2023, N70 billion palliatives for lawmakers which drew a lot of backlash from Nigerians; the PMOs tasked the National Assembly to mindful of the harsh economic conditions in the country in its consideration of plans by the government to acquire new jets for the president and vice president.   

“Drawing on all of these and more, we believe the 10th National Assembly has not done much to demonstrate that the interest of citizens is its utmost priority. We therefore urge the lawmakers to switch gear going forward and change the narrative of service delivery in the next three years as the NNPMOs will be steady and firm in putting the feet of the NASS to fire in the overriding interest of citizens,” the statement said. 

The following are members of the NNPMO who endorsed the statement: 

OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative (OrderPaper Nigeria) – Lead and Secretariat

African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD)

Africa Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)

Accountability Lab Nigeria

Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA)

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)

Dataphyte

FixPolitics Initiative

HallowMace Foundation

HipCity Innovation Centre

Nigeria Caucus of the African Parliamentary Press Network (APPN)

Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI)

Public and Private Development Centre

Social Action

Youth Alive Foundation (YAF)

YIAGA Africa

Oluremi Agbejule

Oluremi is a program assistant at OrderPaper, broadcaster, writer and Alumni of Nigeria media innovation program NAMIP.

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