The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has said the National Assembly is working on strengthening the country’s anti-graft laws.
Speaking in Abuja while receiving representatives of the Good Leadership Advocacy for Africa (GLAFA) in his office, Senator Omo-Agege said the Ninth Assembly will continue to give President Muhammadu Buhari the necessary support in his fight against corruption.
Omo-Agege who doubles as the Chairman, Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, pointed out that this explains why the National Assembly intervenes whenever some government agencies appear to be veering off the normal course.
He said: “Talking about corruption, there has been an argument that we should make more laws and make punishments more stringent. Of course, there is also a school of thought which argues that we have enough laws but that we need to create incentives for those who are doing the investigations, arrests and prosecution so that they can see this as a really worthwhile effort without any top official hindering their work.
“Reassurances will go a long way to help but indeed there are lacunae that can be addressed with new laws like what we have done with the Sexual Harassment Bill because it was becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to prosecute crimes in that area as it was difficult to have the victim step forward for obvious reasons.
“Our job at the National Assembly is to assist President Buhari in strengthening these institutions, knowing full well that he will not be here forever. The National Assembly is strengthening the anti-corruption laws including the EFCC, ICPC enabling acts among others”.
The federal lawmaker expressed appreciation for the organization’s acknowledgement that the National Assembly leadership has not been involved in the humongous corruption being uncovered at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and other government agencies.
According to Senator Omo-Agege, the National Assembly leadership is determined to ensure the success of the Buhari administration, even as he asked Nigerians to rally round the President.
“As a legislative body we are very conscious of the powers and privileges set aside for us, as embedded in the 1999 Constitution (As Amended). Very often, the legislative arm has been accused of veering off legislative activities and moving into areas that some believe to be set aside for the Executive arm of government.
“Apart from providing enabling environment for the President to succeed, our major interest is to enhance the success of his anti-corruption agenda.
“I agree that corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of governance in this country and some have come to a conclusion that it is a bigger pandemic than the Covid-19. So, that is part of the reasons why we are determined to give Mr. President everything he needs to succeed in this war because, at the end of the day, this is going to be part of the legacies he will leave behind, along with tackling insecurity.
Earlier, leader of the team and President of GLAFA, Dr. O’Diakpo Obire, frowned at the recent financial malfeasance rocking the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
He commended the National Assembly for its probe of the interventionist agency.
He also lauded the Deputy President of the Senate for sponsoring 19 bills within his first year in the Ninth Senate.
Dr. Obire explained that with over 10,000 membership strength across 54 African Nations, at the core of GLAFA’s mandate is the promotion of good governance and quality leadership on the continent.
Other members on the GLAFA delegation include Dr. Prosper Ahworegba, Mrs. Kenny Okorie, Barr. Ezenwa Anumnu, Alhaji Umma Sanda, Mr. Ugwuanyi Onyekachi and Mr. Iroajamma Orji