The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, on Friday said effective running of the legislature was predicated on availability of actual needs of that arm of government.
Dogara stated this when he inaugurated a committee to conduct needs assessment for running the House of Representatives and the National Assembly.
He said that there was currently no study or assessment of what the legislature in the country needed to perform optimally.
“We have all been making, at best, educated guesswork on whether the legislature is adequately funded or not.
“An appropriate needs assessment may well find out that the legislature in Nigeria is overfunded or that it is underfunded.
“There should be an empirical and objective study to determine this,’’ Dogara said.
He urged the committee to make comparative study of the cost of running legislatures in other parts of the world.
“You should in the course of your work also make a comparative study of the cost of running legislatures in other relevant jurisdictions.
“These are only suggestions and you should feel free to adopt any methodology you deem fit in carrying out this assignment,’’ he said.
He stated that the legislature was at the vanguard of the country’s democracy and a critical watchdog of the interests and aspirations of the people.
“If the legislature is undermined to the point that it becomes ineffective, our entire democratic experiment will face imminent danger of failure and destruction,’’ the speaker said.
The committee, which has Mr Clement Nwankwo of Policy and Legal Advocacy Center (PLAC), as Chairman, is expected to determine the cost of conducting public hearings on bills.
It would also ascertain the cost of communicating all proceedings and activities of the legislature to its constituencies and the general public.
It is further charged to examine the cost to build, equip and maintain the entire infrastructure in the National Assembly.
The independent committee comprised Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), independent groups and professional bodies with the support of international development partners.
Members include NBA President, Mr Austin Alegeh, ICAN President, Olufemi Deru and NUJ President, Waheed Odusile, Sen. Ita Enang and Rep. Albert Sam-Tsokwa.
The committee has three months to complete the assignment.

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