Reps pass bill seeking to make principal officers security council members

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed through the second reading, a bill seeking to make principal officers of the National Assembly members of the National Security Council.

The Bill sponsored by Hon. Odebunmi Olusegun (APC-Oyo) is titled: “A bill for an act to amend the Third Schedule of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 to include presiding officers of the National Assembly in the membership of the National Security Council; and for related matters”.

In his lead debate on the general principles of the bill, at the plenary presided by Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Hon  Odebunmi submitted that since democracy had been firmly entrenched in the country, it was imperative for the legislature to be part of the decision making body on the nation’s security.

According to him: “Securing our country is one of the major responsibilities of any government in Nigeria and any other parts of the world. However, among the functions of the legislature is to make laws for good governance of the country, wherein good governance itself has the security of life and properties as one of its determinants.”

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He maintained that: “Information they say is power, hence the parliament needs to be well informed in the area of security. That is why this bill is seeking to amend the third schedule of the 1999 Constitution if the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to include the presiding officers of the National Assembly, that is the Senate President and the Speaker of House of Representatives in the composition of the National Security Council.”

Hon Odebunmi explained that it was important for the parliament to be represented on Security Council in order to keep it abreast of the latest developments and decisions taking by the Council.

He argued that the bill was not an attempt for the legislature to take over the responsibilities of the executive but it was an avenue for the legislative arm to be well guided on security matters.

It will also encourage executive-legislative collaboration to collectively secure Nigeria and Nigerians as well as preventing the two arms from working at cross purposes.

Supporting the motion, the chief whip, Rep. Tahir Mohammed Monguno (APC-Borno) said the bill was timely and considering the current security challenge facing the nation, the legislature being the closest arm of government to the people need to be involved.

According to him:  “My argument is against the backdrop of the fact that national assembly representatives would be very key to this security meeting because for instance where I come from, my constituents call me and say Boko Haram is matching towards their communities and in any case, I can pass such information to the principal officers who will in turn pass same at such meetings”.

The bill was passed when it was put to vote by the speaker,  Hon Gbajabiamila.

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