The Senate, yesterday, initiated moves to amend the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015. The bill, which passed its first reading on the floor of the upper legislative chamber, was sponsored by the Chief Whip, former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu.
In a telephone interview, Emeka Nwala, an aide to Dr. Kalu, said the aim was to strengthen the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).
He said the bill seeks to amend some sections contradicting the principles of fair hearing and court jurisdiction, as provided in the Constitution.
Meanwhile, Senate President Ahmad Lawan has complained that the legislature was the most misunderstood arm of government.
Lawan stated this in his remarks sequel to a motion considered on International Day of Parliamentarians, sponsored by Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah.
According to Lawan, the development posed a serious challenge to lawmakers in Nigeria.
“We have a challenge; we need to continue to educate and enlighten our citizens to know exactly what our functions are. The legislature is, without any argument, the most misunderstood arm of government that people vote for. It is our responsibility as a parliament to continue to enlighten the people that we represent on what is expected of us,” Lawan said.
He said the National Assembly, in its bid to ensure the prudent application of public funds, would continue to carry out oversight on the executive, as well as provide legislative interventions to foster good governance, where necessary.
“Here in Nigeria, like indeed anywhere else, democracy is largely defined by the presence of parliament, and parliamentarians are expected to undertake those three fundamental pillars of their mandate, that is, representation, oversight and ensuring that we always legislate on good governance.
“It is important to mention and emphasise that this National Assembly will continue to undertake its oversight functions on the executive arm of government,” he said.
“Where we have issues, we should advice how those issues will be properly addressed because we want to see optimal performance in our government. Where we have to provide legislative interventions as quickly as possible, we should do so, because the purpose of any legislation is to improve on a situation. We should continue to do that, and in the process of oversight, we must be mindful of the fact that this one fundamental function of the legislature that we cannot afford to take very lightly.”