OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has set afloat a special panel on the country’s responses to the novel coronavirus.
The panel has a responsibility to among others, oversight the activities of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 set up by and functioning under the imprimatur of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The panel on the pandemic was earlier today inaugurated to “engage the executive arm of government in a partnership that would serve the best interests of the Nigerian people.”
The Speaker of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, while inaugurating the 18 members ad-hoc committee said everyone should join hands to confront and conquer the deadly disease.
According to him, “nothing defines a nation more than how its leaders and its people rise to the seismic crises that manifest, often without warning, and must be confronted and overcome one way or the other. We now face such a defining crisis. And we too will face the judgment of history. It is in our hands to determine what that judgment will be.
“The 18 man Committee we have come to inaugurate reflects the intention of the House of Representative to engage the executive arm of government in a partnership that serves the best interests of the Nigerian people as we join hands to confront and conquer the most severe challenge of our lives.”
The speaker said the committee has “a responsibility to ensure the operations of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 are conducted with a view to international best practice. Your role is to add value by serving as a link between the task force and the National Assembly, and with the Nigerian people whose interests we all serve, and to whom we are all answerable.”
The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Haruna Mshelia, said the members would engage all agencies involved in the management of the pandemic with a view to ensuring that gains made so far were not lost.
It is not immediately clear how the committee’s work would be different or add value to the usual duties of standing committees of the House; and how interventions by plenary would play into the mix of legislative responses to the pandemic.
It is worthy of note that the House has no fewer than 109 standing committees and there are several other adhoc panels that have been constituted in the close to last one year of the 9th assembly.
Recall that last week, the House played host to the entire Presidential Task Force (PTF) during which the team from the executive briefed and answered questions from the parliament on various measures being undertaken to contain the outbreak.