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A coalition of the civil society organizations (CSOs) across the country, under the auspices of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, on Tuesday, called on the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC) not to interfere in the election of principal officers of the National Assembly.
The Convener of the Society Room, who also doubles as the Executive Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), Mr Clement Nwankwo, spoke at the meeting of the National Assembly Petition Committees in Abuja.
Nwankwo, who commended the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari for his resolve not to interfere in the selection of principal officers of the house, said that Nigerians need leaders with a high level of integrity to represent their interests, calling on the APC to allow members of both chambers to chose their leaders.
He also called on the in-coming members of the National Assembly not to go into an ally with the executive arm, saying they should rather know that they are to protect the interests and rights of citizens who voted them into power.
Highlighting the duties of the Petition Committee, Nwakwo stated that it is the closest to the masses, even more than the courts, as it has the power to expediently hear and determine complaints against individuals or government agencies.
He noted that the present committee received 85 petitions so far, out of which 55 had been dispensed off and 30 are still on the table for the incoming committee to attend to.
“Though some members of this committee are not elected officers, they are staff of the National Assembly. This will enhance continuity in the job of the committee,” he remarked.
He also noted that several Nigerians are suffering injustice, but they are not aware of the functions of the committee which can bring them succour.
“The National Assembly should know that anytime the citizens get redress from the committee, such further strengthens the faith of people in our democracy,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Public Petition, Uzo Azubuike, commended the members of the committee for a good job done during their tenure.
He pointed out that there were so many cases handled by the committee which the courts of law were not able to decide.