May 23, 2024

Luke urges CSOs to set up agenda for 10th assembly

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Ini Billie, Uyo

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary, Mr Onofiok Luke, on Thursday, asked Civil Service Organisations (CSOs) to set up agenda for the 10th National Assembly.

Speaking during an interactive forum for legislators and Civil Society Organisations within the South-South region, in Uyo, Luke added that effective legislation was dependent on the collaborative efforts of all the members.

Luke, who represents Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium/Etinan Federal Constituency, stated that members of the current 9th Assembly House of Representatives have performed well.

According to him, no private-member Bill can scale through the stages of legislative processes and get accented to eventually, but he (Luke) said he has so far sponsored 29 Bills in the green chamber.

He itemized some of the bills he sponsored to Bill for constitutional alteration, delisting of maritime operations from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List; and Bill for delisting of railway operations from Exclusive to Concurrent list, among others.

He said: “I have been able to have, by the grace of God, 29 Bills. Let me start with the Bill that has to do with constitutional alterations. As part of my engagement with my constituents, we have discovered that the development of maritime is on the Exclusive list.

“So, having realised this and having understood the need for a seaport and the benefits that will accrue to the people of Akwa Ibom State and other states, I sponsored a bill seeking to delist maritime from Exclusive Legislative list to Concurrent list so that a state like Akwa Ibom can have a seaport,” he stated.

Luke added that he consults with his constituents before embarking on any project, and mentioned the standard laboratory that he attracted to the College of Health Technology, Etinan as one of them.

Also speaking, a member representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency, Hon. Aniekan Umana revealed that the current 9th Assembly had passed over 2,000 Bills in the last three years.

Umana who said it was a feat that should be appreciated, disagreed with the notion that the legislators have not provided effective representation to their constituents.

He explained that lawmakers can only appropriate funds to the Executive, and not to themselves.

“The job of the legislator is to appropriate funds to the Executive and having done that in the current Assembly, it is now our duty to oversight. But the issue of release of funds and implementation rests squarely with the Executive. And that is how it works.

“Nigerians must be educated to understand that the lawmaker has no budget to operate. He has no funds to release. His only job is to ensure that the budgetary provisions are made.

“So, people must situate the responsibilities of the lawmakers very clearly and also understand how they operate,” he stated.

Umana debunked allegations that legislators have become a conduit pipe where money passes through into their pockets and described the allegation as unfounded.

He urged the people to be conversant with the responsibilities of lawmakers to avoid misrepresentation.

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