Civil Society Situation Room urges Kogi Assembly to make people-oriented, implementable laws

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…harps on Public Hearing before passage of bills

By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja

The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has called on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) operating in Kogi to partner the state House of Assembly to make people-oriented and implementable laws to engender good governance.

Mr Hamza Aliyu Executive Director Initiative for Grassroots Advancement in Nigeria (INGRA) made the call at the Bi-Monthly Meeting of the State-level Advocacy and Legislative Engagement Forum on Saturday in Lokoja.

The meeting was organized the Situation Room in partnership with INGRA with support from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development of the UK International Development.

Aliyu who was represented by Mr Ikechukwu Mpama, the Project Officer, underscored the essence of Public Hearing in the passage of bills to enable them fall in line with the people’s aspirations.

He therefore, called on Kogi State House of Assembly to widen the level of participation of the citizenry, harness their their opinions and inputs through Public Hearings in the legislations.

Presentation, “An Overview of Activities Carried Out So Far and the Achievements Recorded”, Aliyu said that the forum which was inaugurated on November 2, 2024, had achieved more than 90 per cent of its mandate.

Objectives, of the State-level Advocacy and Legislative Engagement Forum, he said, included the need to increase citizens’ participation in the passage of bills to reflect the aspirations of the people.

Others are: enhancing the functionality and increasing the people’s awareness in Legislators’ Constituency Offices and organizing Public Hearings for the people.

Idris Miliki Abdul, Executive Director, Conscience for Human Rights and Conflicts Resolution (CHRCH) and Human Rights activist, in his contribution, charged CSOs in the state to be ready to work hand-in-hand with in the state Assembly in organizing public Hearings.

He decried situations where bills are passed without necessary inputs from the people as not good enough for the State and should be discouraged.

Miliki underscored the essence of Public Hearing in the passage of bills saying, “We should continue to advocate for public hearing no matter the pressure from the Executive Arm.”

On the sustainability of the State-Level Advocacy and Legislative Engagement Forum, the Human Rights activist said “There is need for follow up because without follow up, sustainability will be impossible.”

Speaking in same vein, Mr Idris Ozovehe Muraina, Chairman of Kogi Non-Government Organizations Network (KONGONET) frowned at the unhealthy culture of passing Supplementary Budgets without inputs from the public.

He called for engagement of the Legislative House to ponder the possibility of having public hearing to enable the citizens have a say in the passage of Supplementary Budgets.

Muraina called on the CSOs to avail themselves of any window of opportunity for public engagement in Supplementary Budget.

Aminu Oseni Okutepa, Executive Director, Lugard Youths Development Initiative (LYDEI) said, “We should engage not only the legislators but the Executives to know when they want to present supplement Budgets to the House. This is Democracy and everybody must be engaged.”

In his opening remarks, Mr Ikechukwu Mpama, the Project Officer had said that the main objectives of the meeting was to discuss lessons learnt in the course of the project and as well, proffer key strategies for its sustainability even after the official close out.