The Nigerian Senate has announced plans to launch an independent “Transparency and Delivery Commission” to enhance its legislative oversight capacity and support the country’s anti-graft drive.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, disclosed this on Thursday through a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu.
The proposed commission will have a mix of international and local individuals and organisations with anti-corruption expertise credentials, and work closely with the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption to deliver its objective, the statement said.
“The Commission will be led by a working group consisting of a world leading research institution and a partner institute in Nigeria and will be advised by an internationally acclaimed anti-corruption expert.
“The independent Commission will work closely with the Senate and the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption & Financial Crimes to draw up a robust oversight scheme and strengthen the internal structuring and capacity of the National Assembly to fulfil its role as an anti-corruption institution,” the statement explained.
“The Commission’s work will be two-fold. Initially it will concentrate on analysing the processes and tools by which the Senate and the National Assembly in general can, using its legislative remit, assist the anti-corruption agenda of President Buhari and more specifically strengthen the institutions through legislative reforms.
“The following medium-term goal is to then deliver recommendations for better ways of working within the Senate and to ensure that it meets the highest global standards includingthe newly announced Commonwealth Secretariat anti-corruption ‘kitemark’ system.”
The statement added that the commission would “specifcally” map out how the Senate could use its oversight tools to act as a catalyst for greater transparency and anti-corruption in other parts of the Nigerian state both at the Federal and State levels.
According to the statement, further specific roles of the commission are to “Assess how the Nigerian Senate functions as a scrutiny and policy making body and how it can improve in this role.
“Undertake a review of the mechanisms of the Nigerian senate and identify areas for improvement in senate efficiency in implementing its legislative agenda and itsanti-corruption capacity
“Look at international and regional examples of best practice – such as the Commonwealth Secretariat ‘kitemark’ – and suggest tangible reforms the Nigeria Senate could implement to improve transparency and the policy delivery process internally and across government.”
Although Mr. Saraki is being tried on charges of false assets declaration and corruption, which he has denied, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, he has repeatedly expressed the Senate’s readiness to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign and promised to publicise details of National Assembly budget.
But he has yet to fulfil the promise, many months after he first made the pledge in June 2015. He only released snippets of the budget.