By Talatu Bala
The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) Professor Bolaji Owasanoye has accused members of the National Assembly of compromising their major constitutional functions of oversight and investigation most times.
The ICPC chief claims such compromise is done through commercialization of the legislators’ assignments.
“Oversight function has been commercialised, which is why the mechanism hasn’t been effective. Legislature is accused of passing the costs to MDAs and of accepting other forms of gratification, e.g. foreign trips, phoney seminars, to look the other way,” the ICPC chairman said in a paper entitled ‘The Role of the Legislature in the War Against Corruption and Graft’ at the induction course for the second batch of elected members of the coming 9th Assembly.
He added: “the legislature has powers of investigation: this was very well utilised in the past. But many other times, the power is commercialised.
“You find out that the investigators become compromised in the process. There’s lacuna on what the legislature should do with the findings.
“We should avoid a situation where because people are being investigated, they come to say they want to change the laws to forestall that. I want to urge the lawmakers not to support that.
He challenged the lawmakers to make the details of their budget public.
His words:”since 1999, the Nigerian Legislature has never shown any seriousness in scrutinising the reports of the auditor general. NASS Budget rose from N6.9bn in 1999 to N139bn in 2018.
“There’s no country in the world where the legislature budget is up to one percent.
“There’s no breakdown for the amount. It is opaque and disproportionate. If you make the details, it may even lead to the need for more funds. Why would the legislature demand the details of agencies’ budgets without making its own open?”