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Bill To Include National Assembly On Security Council Passes 2nd Reading

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, passed for second reading a bill to make Presiding Officers of the two chambers of the National Assembly members of the National Security Council.

The bill seeks to amend the third schedule of the 1999 constitution to allow for parliament (principal officers) to be part of the national security council.

The House insisted that being members of the security council will enable members to be well informed in the area of security hence they are the closest to the people.

Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, its sponsor, Odebunmi Olusegun (APC, Oyo) explained that democracy has come to stay in Nigeria hence it was important and strategic for the legislative arm of government to be included in the deliberation of the country’s security.

He said “securing our country is one of the major responsibilities of any government in Nigeria and any other parts of the world. However, among the functions of the legislature is to make laws for good governance of the country, wherein good governance itself has security of life and properties as one of its determinants.

“Information they say is power, hence the parliament needs to be well informed in the area of security. That is why this bill is seeking to amend the third schedule of the 1999 Constitution if the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to include the presiding officers of the National Assembly, that is the Senate President and the Speaker of House of Representatives in the composition of the National Security Council”.

The lawmaker maintained that for the parliament to be well informed and for it to be well guided in making laws that affect the area of security in line with what is practically realisable.

He said bill was not an attempt to infuse legislatures into the executive responsibilities in the spirit of the principle of separation of powers. It is rather an attempt to put the legislative arm of government in such position that it will through its leadership be well informed to be able to guide legislative activities in the direction that conforms with what is either happening or been planned for, in the security circle. It will also encourage executive-legislative collaboration to collectively secure Nigeria and Nigerians as well as preventing the two arms from working at cross purposes.

In his contribution, Tahir Mohammed Moguno (APC, Borno) said the bill was apt and important due to the current security situation that the legislature was the closest to the people and could divulge useful information at such council meeting.

“My argument is against the backdrop of the fact that national assembly representatives would be very key to this security meeting because for instance where I come from, my constituents call me and say Boko Haram is matching towards their communities and in any case, I can pass such information to the principal officers who will in turn pass same at such meetings”.

Read more at Daily Trust

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