The House of Representatives has resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to request the Federal Character Commission, FCC, to forward the returns on appointments undertaken by Ministries, Departments and Agencies under its jurisdiction between 2015 and 2023.
This followed a motion, titled “Need to Compel the Federal Character Commission to Diligently Discharge its Constitutional and Statutory Mandate and Responsibility” moved by Paul Nnamchi at plenary yesterday.
Moving the motion, Nnamchi explained that the Federal Character Commission Act was enacted in 1995 and enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended),with the primary responsibility to promote, monitor and enforce compliance with the principles of the proportional sharing of all bureaucratic, economic, media and political posts at all levels of government.
He recalled that no other constitution in Nigeria history had entrenched such regulatory body and vested same with powers to facilitate national integration through equitable, transparent and unbiased sharing of national wealth and public official positions.
Nnamchi lamented that twenty-eight years after this purposeful enactment was aimed at national cohesion and equal opportunities, and twenty-four years after its constitutional entrenchment, the perception is that there exists brazen domination of the bureaucratic, economic, media and political posts at all levels by a section of the country at the expense of the others.
“The Federal Character Commission has virtually abdicated its constitutional and statutory responsibilities and degenerated into personality clash of interest amongst its commissioners as was the case about a year ago.
“The constitutional injunction is that the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a state based on the principles of democracy and social justice, which also propagates national integration and abjure discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties,”he added.
The lawmaker further observed that the Constitution of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) empowered the National Assembly with the categorical powers under section 88(2) (6) to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it as our core oversight and supervisory duty.
He also noted that by Order Seventeen, Rule 1 (a) b)of the Standing Orders of the House, all ministries, statutory agencies, bodies or corporations shall forward to the speaker all reports required by statute within three months of the close of the reporting period, and that any violation of the same attracts sanctions, as provided in the legislative houses (Power and Privileges) Act, 2017
He said it was within the legislative competence of the National Assembly, especially its relevant committee when constituted, to compel the Federal Character Commission, FCC, to discharge its constitutional and statutory responsibilities.
The House, after adopting the motion, mandated its committee to report back within four weeks for further legislative action.