The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, (CISLAC), has written a list of critical issues that demand the urgent a attention of the National Assembly on both legislation and oversight as the lawmakers resume for the next legislative year.
These include the need for lawmakers to set up committees for constitutional and electoral act review, pass the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, legislate on special courts to expedite corruption cases and create a National Assembly Budget Office.
In a statement signed by Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, the executive director of CISLAC, the advocacy group said, “we would like to draw attention of the legislature to critically issues including the awaiting creation of Constitution Review Committee to address critical and contentious issues in the Constitution; representing reviewed legislative framework for Electoral Reforms Amendment Bill, particularly electronic voting as Section 52(2) of the Bill, to give credibility and transparency to electoral process; verbal approval of the $29.96 billion loan request forwarded to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari in November, without due diligent and thorough scrutiny by the Senate.”
Rafsanjani said, “We are worried by the continued silence of the Assembly on the long-delayed Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB), which seeks to increase government revenue from oil and lay down a strengthened legal and regulatory framework for the Nigerian oil industry.
“We are surprised by the emerging effort by the Assembly to provide a legal backing in shrinking civil space in the country through legislative frameworks in the Senate like Hate Speech and Social Media Bills.”
CUSLAC asked the National Assembly to priotise amendment to Electoral Reforms Act to promote credibility and transparency in the electoral process, expedite urgent action on Constitutional Amendment to resolve certain fundamental issues and ensure prompt reform of the security sector.
Other areas CISLAC asked for intervention are to, “Ensure full domestication of Pending Global and Regional Anti-Corruption Instruments to ensure more coordination and result-oriented approach in anti-corruption fight.
“Revisit Asset Recovery and Proceed on Crime Bills to provide a legal and institution frameworks for confiscation, seizure and recovery and management of assets or proceeds derived from unlawful activities.”
The National Assembly was asked to, “Review and revisit Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB) to promote transparency, accountability and governance, as well as curtail monumental financial losses in our nation’s oil and gas sector.
“Provide a legislative backing to the Beneficial Ownership Register on Petroleum sector recently released by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) with an extension to other sectors of the economy to ensure sustainability and avert policy somersault”.
The lawmakers CISLAC said, should “consider introduction of a legislation to provide a legal backing to the establishment of special courts or strengthen existing courts to expedite justice in corruption through legislative amendments.
“Provide legislative backing to ensure compliance to various legislative frameworks in the country including Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, Public Procurement Act, National Health Act, and NEITI Remediation”
They should “Strengthen the Accountant General Office to ensure to ensure compliance to various recommendation by the Office and promote accountability in the allocation and utilisation of public fund; Create National Assembly Budget Office to engage budget scrutiny with thorough recommendations to the Assembly on Appropriation Bill.”