The Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Olatunde Amos Ojo has called for the protection of the legislature, stressing it was the only symbol of democracy.
Ojo gave the highlights while declaring open a 3-Day Training Workshop with the theme “Legislative work ethics and behavioral conduct at work place” for Staff of the House of Representatives in Abuja.
Ojo said that the National Assembly has the powers of impeachment when commenting on the impeachment threats on President Muhammadu Buhari by the minority caucuses of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
He added that parliament also has investigatory, financial and confirmatory powers invested in it by the country’s constitution.
CNA said: “The Legislature is the first among the three Arms of Government – the Legislature, Executive, and the Judiciary. These Arms are characterised by the principle of separation of power as each is supposed to be independent of the other. The Legislature derives its powers from the 1999 Constitution (as amended) in Sections 4(1) and 4(2). The Legislature is vested with the powers to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the Federation.
“It is also vested with investigatory powers, financial powers, confirmation and impeachment powers. It would not be out of place for me to use this occasion to remind us that the Legislature is the symbol of democracy all over the world. It is therefore pertinent and incumbent on all lovers of democracy to ensure that this Institution is protected. One of the ways of doing this, is adequate training of staff. As I said at one of the training programmes organised for staff, we cannot continue to do things in the
same way and expect to achieve different results. We must continue to add value to the legislative process and should not underestimate the importance of the services we render to our dear nation as we facilitate quality law making that would promote public order and security.”
Also speaking, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Dr. Yahaya Danzaria in his remarks at the workshop harped on need for proper ethical behaviour.
He cautioned the staff against flouting the dictates of the Oath of Secrecy, saying that government documents must be secured.
“Civil service considers as very important, the need to maintain secrecy on official government documents. The Oath of Secrecy of 1962 has remained in force in the civil service to demonstrate the premium government places on official document. An official who divulges official secret in the civil service is said to have divided loyalty. The inability of the civil servants to keep to these rules is ‘serious misconduct’ as in Section 04401 of the civil service rules. Serious misconduct is ‘a specific act of serious wrongdoing and improper behavior which can be investigated and proved.
“It includes absence from duty without leave, disobedience, refusal to accept posting, corruption, dishonesty, drunkenness, insubordination, falsification of records, negligence etc. Ethnicity is the use of ethnic and sectional sentiment to confer unmerited and undue advantage to people of same ethnic origin. This happens in many ways including a situation where a particular part or ethnic group attempts to dominate leadership of some government institutions because of the number of officers from such region. The implication is that if you are a leader and not from that part of the region, you intend to lose the loyalty of the officers from that region”, he said.
The workshop was essentially organized to awaken the consciousness of the participants to the primary responsibilities within the parliamentary system