Legislators not above the law- Tambuwal

Members of  Nigerian parliaments are no special breed and must submit themselves to the laws of the land as other Nigerians, Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said yesterday.
The speaker however said while the law protects the lawmakers over comments made on the floor of the House, such immunity did not cover any illegality committed by a legislator elsewhere.
Tambuwal said this while delivering a keynote address at a two-day workshop organized by the Joint Committees of Rules and Business of the Senate and the House of Representatives, in collaboration with the National Institute for Legislative Studies and Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) projects, in Abuja.
“You will find also as you discuss the privileges and immunity of legislators that while the law protects the parliamentarian over comments made on the floor of the house, that privilege does not extend to any illegality perpetrated by a legislator. In other words, being a parliamentarian does not place you above the law. Indeed, it imposes on you a responsibility to abide by the law at all times,” Tambuwal said.
The speaker maintained that it was incumbent on the legislators to enforce accountability on public office holders in the country through effective oversight and investigative hearings to facilitate rapid development of the democracy.
He said “sometimes, especially in political matters, you will find that practice can be so different from theory. This particular workshop seems to cover practically all areas of legislative practice.”
He added: “The discussion on the bill process will throw more light on the complexities involved in passing any law in a bicameral legislature. Most of the work is actually done by committees and we try as much as possible to involve the public in the lawmaking process. We believe fervently that democracy can only grow when people choose to participate and influence the process for the collective good.”
The speaker, who also represented Senate President, David Mark, furthermore cautioned the participants that the lawmakers would be breaking the law if they failed to carry out their statutory functions.



Dailytrust
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