Stakeholders Advise Kogi Assembly on Citizens’ Participation in Bills, Supplementary Budget Passage

Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja

Kogi State House of Assembly has been urged to increase citizens participation in the passage of bills to reflect the aspirations of the people.

Just as they  also emphasised the importance of public hearing in the passage of laws that will better the lives of Kogi state citizens.

The stakeholders made the call in Lokoja yesterday  during the bi-monthly meeting of the state-level advocacy and legislative engagement forum organised by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation in collaboration with Initiative for Grassroots Advancement in Nigeria (INGRA) with support from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development of the UK International Development. 

The Executive Director, INGRA, Hamza Aliyu, said the forum which was inaugurated on November 2, 2023, had achieved more than 80 per cent of its mandate.

Aliyu, who was represented by the Project Officer of INGRA, Ikechukwu Mpama,  said the forum had as one of its objectives to help increase the people’s awareness in constituency offices for legislators with a view to enhancing the functionality of the constituency offices saying that their impacts are yet to be felt.

Aliyu said that the forum had carried out the project of public hearing, organising a constituency town hall meeting in each of the three senatorial districts and a special retreat for the state Assembly legislators.

“So far, we have carried out the three Constituency meetings and recorded 90 per cent success.”

While speaking, the Executive Director, Conscience for Human Rights and Conflicts Resolution (CHRCH) Comrade Idris Miliki Abdul charged CSOs in the state to be ready to work hand-in-hand with the state assembly in organising public hearings.

“A situation where bills are passed within 24 hours was not good for the State. This  totally unacceptable. We must follow the required process in the passage of law in Kogi state.

“We should continue to advocate  public hearing no matter the pressure from the Executive Arm. There is need for follow up because without follow up, sustainability will be impossible” he stated.

Chairman of Kogi Non-Government Organizations Network (KONGONET),

Idris Ozovehe Muraina,  also frowned on passage of supplementary budget without inputs from the public.

He called for engagement of the House to see if it is possible for the public to 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 passage.

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

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