By: Wale Ibrahim,Lokoja
A Non -governmental Organisation, the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) has called on members of Kogi State House of Assembly to scale up their oversight responsibilities towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially among communities.
The Executive Secretary, Rev. Fr Evaristus Bassey, Caritas Nigeria made the call at a one-day workshop for members of Kogi House of Assembly on Legislative Oversight organized by the commission in Lokoja.
Bassey, in his paper titled, “Catholic Social Teaching and the SDGs: Theoretical Framework for Legislative Oversight”, said the workshop was to provide link between religious and social dimension of life.
He said there was need for the Assembly through its oversight functions to provide options for the poor and vulnerable especially those in rural communities.
Bassey said that the JDPC recently embarked on research to assess water, sanitation and hygiene challenges assaulting communities with the aim of providing grounds for advocacy, budgetary processes and implementation.
Rev. Fr Leonard Odomeja, JDPC Coordinator, Lokoja Diocese in his welcome address said the commission discovered during the research that 13 selected communities across the three senatorial districts of the state had challenges of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
He said that one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the present administration focused on water in view of the importance of water in ensuring overall well-being of communities.
Alhaji Yakubu Yunusa, former Majority Leader of the state Assembly and one of the resource persons described legislative oversight as a mechanism instituted for the purpose of deepening the concept of Separation of powers as element of constitutional democracy.
In his paper titled, “The Importance of Oversight Functions in Strengthening the Legislature/Executive Relationship for Good Governance”, Yunusa emphasised the need for the Assembly emphasised the need for the Assembly to critically prosecute it’s oversight obligations to entrench good governance.
Haruna Idoko Musa (PDP-Idah) said the prevailing situation of the legislative assemblies in the country did not make oversight activities feasible adding that the members were working towards making necessary changes.
Mr Abdul Miliki, Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR), consultant to JDPC, said there was need for constant capacity building programmes for the members to keep them abreast of modern trends in discharge of oversight responsibilinitiate.
The workshop was attended by members as well as House standing committee secretaries, media practitioners and members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)