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Brief us regularly on your activities, constituents tell South South lawmakers

By Ayoyinka Jegede, Uyo
27 June 2022   |   1:01 am
Lawmakers, especially those from the South-South region, have been called upon to do more in the areas of constituency briefing and oversight functions.

[FILE PHOTO] Onofiok Luke

Lawmakers, especially those from the South-South region, have been called upon to do more in the areas of constituency briefing and oversight functions.

The charge was given on live television programme aired by Channels Television and monitored in Uyo, A’Ibom State. It was an interactive forum for South-South legislators and Civil Society Organisation, (CSOs), organised by Daria Media, in partnership with MacArthur Foundation.

The forum was organised to provide a platform for legislators in the House of Representatives from the region to interface with CSOs on their roles and contributions to the constituencies that they represent.

Speaking on functions of legislators, Onofiok Luke, member representing Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium/Etinan Federal Constituency, explained that legislators had three functions to carry out, namely: lawmaking, oversight functions and representation in terms of attracting projects. According to him, members of the current National Assembly had performed well in the three areas.

The former Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, said that in the last three years as a member of the House of Representatives, he had sponsored 29 Bills, some of which included Bill for Constitutional Alteration, Delisting of Maritime Operations from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List; Bill for Delisting of Railway Operations from Exclusive to Concurrent List, among others.

Luke, responding to a question from James Akpan Moses, a contributor from Cross River State on why lawmakers do not consult their constituents before carrying out projects, said the standard laboratory that he attracted to College of Health Technology, Etinan was a project he had consulted with his people, urging the CSOs to begin to set agenda for the 10th Assembly.

Contributing via zoom, member representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency, Aniekan Umana, said the 9th Assembly passed over 2,000 Bills in the last three years, a feat he said should be appreciated.

“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 fund to release. His only job is to ensure that the budgetary provisions are made.

“So, people must situate the responsibilities of the law makers very clearly and also understand how they operate.”

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