Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
A bill seeking to amend the third schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended to include presiding officers of the National Assembly in composition of the National Security Council (NSC) has passed the second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives.
The third schedule of the National Security Council stipulates that the Council shall have power to advise the president on matters relating to public security, including matters relating to any organisation or agency established by law to ensure the security of the federation.
It states that the members shall comprise the following: the President who shall be the Chairman; the Vice-President who shall be the Deputy Chairman; the Chief of Defence Staff; the Ministers of Interior, Defence, and Foreign Affairs; the National Security Adviser; the Inspector-General of Police; and such other persons as the president may in his discretion appoint.
However, at the plenary yesterday, the bill sponsored by Hon. Odebunmi Olusegun, appreciated the strategic importance of the legislative arm of government in any democratic society being the only major difference between democracy and any other forms of government.
He noted that among the functions of the legislature is to make laws for good governance of the country, wherein good governance itself has security of life and property as one of its determinants.
Odebunmi said information is power, hence, the need for parliament to be well informed in the area of security.
He stated: “That is why this bill is seeking to amend the third schedule of the 1999 Constitution to include the presiding officers of the National Assembly-the Senate president and the Speaker of the House in the composition of the National Security Council.”
The lawmaker added that the essence was for the parliament to be well informed and for it to be well guided in making laws that affect the area of security in line with what is practically realisable.
Odebunmi pointed out that it was not an attempt to infuse legislatures into the executive responsibilities, in the spirit of the principle of separation of powers.
According to him, “It is rather an attempt to put the legislative arm of government in such position that it will through its leadership be well informed to be able to guide legislative activities in the direction that conforms with what is either happening or being planned for in the security circle. It will also encourage the executive-legislative collaboration to collectively secure Nigeria and Nigerians as well as preventing the two arms from working at cross purposes.”