Lagos Assembly initiates Bill to improve accountability, transparency

Lagos Assembly suspends three LG chairmen
Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly

The Lagos State House of Assembly says it has initiated a Bill to make public officers earned more public trusts by improving public transparency and accountability in all spheres of governance.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, made this known on Friday at the opening of the one-day public hearing in Lagos.

The Bill was entitled: “The Bill For A Law to Establish Lagos State Public Complaints and Anti Corruption Commission Law And For Connected Purposes.”

Obasa, represented by his Deputy, Wasiu Sanni-Eshinlokun, said that the Bill when passed, would underscore its stature, as not just germane toward ensuring further accountability and trust.

He said: “For clarity purposes, the objective of the commission is elaborately spelt out in Section Eight, while the general functions are itemised in Section 14 of the Bill.

“To ensure diligence, the Bill creates a clear administrative structure; offences under the scope of the commission; the jurisdiction; the commission’s modus operandi; funds management and disciplinary procedures.”

Obasa said the law was a public conscience, hence, regardless of how well-drafted was a Bill, “it remains sacrosanct to hear from and incorporate the conscience and thought of the public to make a good law”.

The speaker said the Bill would further ensure adequate security because there was public trust in the leadership; public satisfaction would increase and conversely decrease crime rate as witnessed in the EndSARS protest.

Obasa said that the public hearing and stakeholders’ consultations were essential features of a good legislative process that endanger progressive governance.

He said: “This is because, it provides a platform to cumulate the agitations, curate the wisdom of relevant stakeholders and reflect various interests in the actual legislation.

“To my mind, this showcases the true definition, as defined by the great Abraham Lincoln as a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

“Therefore, a good legislation must not just be a reflection of the yearnings of the populace, but also the aggregate of the common interests of the majority.”

Obasa said that good legislation must be the sum interest of the people, not as perceived by the lawmakers, but as articulated by representatives of the public through fora like this.

Earlier, Mr Victor Akande, Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Public Petition, Human’s Right and LASIEC, said the essence of the bill was to bring sanity and accountability to governance in the state.

He said: “With this Bill, the administrative bottleneck that people usually encounter while dealing in government office, will put to an end to bribery and corruption in public office.

“The commission is saddled with the responsibility of beaming searchlight into the government’s activities.

“The commission will receive petitions from people, who have any complaint, and will be able to seek redress.”

Akande said that the Bill empowers immunity to commission members from prosecution, as this would give them a level of independence to be able to do their job unhindered.

According to him, if we don’t do it that way, people will just be dragging them up and down, and that will not allow them to concentrate on the job they have been appointed to do.

In her contributions, a stakeholder from the State High Court, Deputy Chief Registrar, Mr Shipe Omolabi, said that a retired judicial officer should be made the Chairman of the commission.

Omolabi pointed out that Section 8(f) of the Bill usurps the power of the NJC, suggesting the review of the section.

Also, Rotimi Odutola, a representative of the Lagos Citizens Mediation Centre (LCMC), observed that Section 14(c) of the Bill overlapped with LCMC.

Odutola said that instead of the commission to mediate in disputes, it should be given the power of referral to the centre.

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