Nigeria House Speaker talks tough: When we invite government officials, they must show up

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has said that the 9th House would do everything possible to ensure that government officials respect the invitations of the House. 

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Speaker Gbajabiamila lamented a situation, in the past, where officials from different government agencies flagrantly disrespect the invitations of the committees of the House. Speaking when he received the Director-General of the Bureau for Public Service Reforms, Dasuki Ibrahim Arabi, and his management team, during a courtesy call at the National Assembly on Wednesday, Speaker Gbajabiamila said he would personally meet President Muhammadu Buhari on the matter.

Gbajabiamila who said he was disturbed by the development, noted that: “For me, a situation where the National Assembly summons an institution of government, and they don’t show up doesn’t benefit anybody. This 9th Assembly in its legislative agenda will do everything possible to make those things become a situation of the past.

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“If this Assembly summons whoever, whosoever, I believe they should come. Where do you come in? Since yours is about public service reforms, you should make sure that government agencies respect the invitations of the National Assembly,” the Speaker said. 

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“I intend to meet the president on this matter so that it can be addressed once and for all,” Gbajabiamila added. On the activities of the bureau, the Speaker said he believed it needs the collaboration of the National Assembly to be able to achieve its goals. 

“Having listened to you and with what you’ve done, your agency seems to be an unsung hero. You have done a lot for the country. Your agency is key, but we’re still not there yet. “I believe with the collaboration of the National Assembly, your agency will do a lot better. We have a committee on public service reforms, and I would want you to work closely with them. 

“You touched on several reforms, but it’s one thing to reform, and it’s another thing to give it legal teeth and bite. So, I believe a lot of your reforms will need a legal framework.” The Speaker tasked the bureau to do an in-house reform by ensuring that Nigerians are well educated about its activities through the National Orientation Agency (NOA). ‎

Earlier, the DG Arabi said the visit was to acquaint the Speaker of the activities of the bureau, saying over the years, the agency’s strategies gave birth to initiatives such as IPPIS, TSA, among others. He said the bureau was created in 2004 to serve as the engine room of the reforms for government agencies, adding that they had looked at pension reforms, tax reforms electoral reforms amongst others.

“We hope we will be able to work with the various committees that you constituted towards the upliftment of public service in Nigeria,” he said, and presented some publications of the bureau, including a compendium of public service reforms in Nigeria, to the Speaker. Present at the courtesy call were the Chief Whip Hon.

Mohammed Tahir Monguno; Deputy Minority Whip Hon. Gideon Gwoni; Hon. Garba Datti Muhammad; Hon. ‎Rotimi Agunsoye; Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakubu; Hon. Mohammed Ali Wudil, and Hon. Obinna Kingsley.

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