Reps task FG on public awareness on terrorism, xenophobic attacks, anti-corruption crusade

The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, tasked the management of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) on the urgent need to synergize with the Federal Government on combating social vices such as terrorism, Xenophobic attacks, anti-corruption war and other policies and programmes.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion titled: ‘Call to re-invigorate the National Orientation Agency for the impactful discharge of its mandate’, sponsored by Hon Shina Peller.

In his lead debate, Hon Peller observed that the Agency which was established in 1993 and by virtue of its enabling Act, was established to re-orientate Nigerians and encourage them to take part actively and freely in discussions and decisions affecting their collective welfare.

“The House also notes that the functions of the National Orientation Agency as stipulated in Sections 3 of the NOA Act include enlightening the general public on Federal Government policies and programmes; mobilize favourable opinion of Federal Government policies and programmes; collect and collate feedback to the Public on Federal Government programmes and policies; energize the conscience of all categories of Nigerians on their rights, privileges, responsibilities and obligations as citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; re-orientate Nigerians on their general attitude to waste and affluent lifestyles; propagate on the need to eschew all vices in public life, such as corruption, dishonesty, ethnic, parochial and religious bigotry.

“The House is aware that Section 4 of the NOA Act also stipulates the novel objectives of ‘the Agency as social re-engineering, an organization with an omnibus mandate and its core functions include re-orientate and attitudinal transformation, public enlightenment and mass mobilization etc.

“The House is also aware that since 1999, Nigeria has been bedevilled with several problems, ranging from communal clashes, religious and ethnic bigotry, terrorism, religious extremism, large scale corruption and in recent past became victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

“The House is further aware that these vices have affected Nigeria’s image outside the country, which to a large extent led to ill-treatment of Nigerians abroad and the last Xenophobic attacks in South Africa would have been avoided if the National Orientation Agency had orientated Nigerians.

“The House is concerned that the National Orientation Agency has failed to rise to its Responsibility of disseminating information and re-orienting Nigerians during this COVID–19 pandemic.

The House is cognizant that by virtue of the NOA Act, the Agency is required to have a presence at the Federal, States and Local Government levels for optimal performance and this has a lot of financial implications.

“The House is further aware that the Strategic Plan for the National Orientation Agency 2017–2021 reveals that the Statutory Allocations to the Agency in the past years is inadequate for optimal performance as it is presently bedevilled with poor statutory allocation, poorly motivated staff, inadequate vehicles and other public enlightenment equipment, hence the need to increase the budgetary allocation of the Agency in the 2022 budget estimates in order for the Agency to achieve its Value Orientation; Public Education and Mass Mobilization Programmes; and Political and Civic Education Programmes.”

To this end, the House resolved to invite the Director-General of the National Orientation Agency to appear before the Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Value and table the activities, strengths and weaknesses of the Agency for further legislative intervention.

The House also mandated the Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values to ensure an increase in the budgetary allocation of the National Orientation Agency in the 2022 Appropriation budget estimates for optimal performance.

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