The National Institute of Legislative Studies (NILS) in partnership with the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has begun moves to improve the effectiveness of Nigeria’s legislature.
To achieve this, the duo on Monday, commenced a training for Clerks of Committees in the legislature both at the Federal and State levels.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the training on Monday, NILS DG Prof. Ladi Hamalai stressed that committees were the engine room of any parliament.
The training which is a four-day training, is tagged: “Training of Trainers Workshop on Legislative Effectiveness: The Role of the Committee Clerk”
Prof. Hamalai stressed that at the committee level, the role of the Clerk was very important in positioning the committee to function effectively and thereby bettering the legislature.
Hamalai added that it was in recognition of the importance of the Clerks that the National Institute for Legislative Studies chose to partner on the training which is part of a series of other trainings for legislative staff in Nigeria.
“In today’s democracies and globalizing economy, the role of legislative committees in the daily affairs of parliament cannot be overemphasised.
“Over the years, Legislative Committees have emerged as a creative way for parliaments to perform their basic functions.
“To this extent, the Committee system has become the power house of the legislature as most of the work of Legislature are now referred to committees for detailed review to among others, inform debate on the floor of the House.
“However, in carrying out the committee work effectively, the committee clerk or staff is critical as S/he is expected to take charge of the overall organisation of the committee’s operations including the administrative work of the committee, scheduling meetings and taking minutes, organising committee oversight visits and hearings, keeping and archiving committee records including in some instances providing research support and preparing briefs,” she said.
In his remarks, Secretary General of ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Nelson Magbagbeola expressed pleasure that the commission was associated with the training.
He corroborated that most parliamentary operations were on committee systems adding that the effectiveness of the parliament depends on the quality of its committees.
“Central to the work of the committee is the Committee Clerk who organises its activities.
“Given the important role of the committee clerk to the operations of the committees, it is, therefore, important to train and retrain committee clerks on legislative practices and tools needed to enhance their work.
“A good and highly trained committee clerk will make the work of his/her committee easy and enhance the dignity of the parliament.
“With this TOT workshop, participants are expected to transfer the knowledge and skills acquired to their colleagues when they return to their sub-national, national or regional parliaments.
“Thus, a lot depends on the participants who are expected to be trainers to their colleagues,” he said.
He urged the participants to ensure that they learn the much they can so that they would have enough to give back to their colleagues when they return.