Senator Ita Enang, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), has called for adherence to due process to expedite passage of bills.
Enang made the call in Abuja while addressing some civil society members who were on advocacy visit to his office for speedy passage of bills.
He said the notion in some Ministries, Departments and Agencies that delay in passage of bills was often caused by legislators was wrong.
According to him, the fact that bills are still pending on the floor of the National Assembly does not mean that the legislators do not want to pass them.
He said: “We have a situation today and in the years past when some ministries, departments and agencies sometimes feel they are powerful and can afford to do anything. This should not be.
“Departments and agencies should subject themselves and what they want done to the ministerial control and supervision of ministers.
“This is why when some bills are passed and forwarded to the President for consideration, it will be discovered that there is a constitutional infraction.
“That is what accounted for some of these bills being delayed or the President withholding accent.”
He said that the President could use “standard operation procedures” to cause agencies or ministries that might not have had the opportunity for public hearings to make comments on the bill.
Enang also decried the practice whereby agencies by-passed the Federal Executive Council and took their bills to the legislature, adding that this also contributed to delay in passage of bills.
Earlier, Uche Arisukwe, the Programme Coordinator in Africa Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, had said the group sought to strengthen the fight against corruption through open government partnership.
He identified bills that had suffered delays in the legislature to include the whistle blowers protection, money laundering protection and prohibition, public interest disclosure and witness protection and companies and allied matters.
Arisukwe said: “Anti-corruption is a policy thrust of the Federal Government. If we do not kill corruption, it will kill us and we do not want that to happen.
“Laws must be strengthened to boost the fight against corruption. If these bills are speedily passed, then the fight will take proper shape.
“There is progress, but we think we can achieve much more. Time is short; by June 2019, this National Assembly will lapse.
“We are thinking of what we can do before then, so that these bills can be passed into laws.”
Suleiman Dawudo, the Secretary of Open Government Partnership, said that while efforts were being made towards passage of such bills, more should be done to achieve targets.
Dawudo said: “As a group, we came up with working advocacy plan to promote expeditious passage of outstanding bills into law.
“Our mission here is to invite you to lead that working group, to ensure we achieve desired goals when legislators resume.
“This is geared toward engaging principal officers and other stakeholders in the National Assembly and to also emphasis the importance of passing outstanding bills into law.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that ‘Open Government Partnership’ is a global multi-stakeholders coalition of government and civil society organisations seeking to promote accountability in government.