OrderPaperToday – The Director-General of the Nigeria Institute for Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Mr. Mohammed Ladan, has called on the National Assembly to institute a code of conduct for lawmakers as regards corruption in order to instill integrity in the parliament.
Ladan made the disclosure on Thursday at a one day interactive session organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Coalition (CISLAC) and MacArthur Foundation in conjunction with the House of Representatives committee on ethics and privileges on the code of conduct for legislators.
Speaking on the topic, “Overview of the various legislative code of conduct and the need to harmonize for best practice”, the DG called for the harmonisation of the code of ethics produced by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) and the code of conduct provided by both chambers of National Assembly.
He said lawmakers, as representatives of the people, must exhibit integrity in all their dealings at all times.
“Ethical integrity is doing the right thing at all times. Legislators as representatives of the people, the issue of integrity must start with them. And to instill integrity, you must have a set of guidelines and standards.
“We need code of ethics for behavioural change among lawmakers. A code of conduct will enable members to uphold themselves.”
He lamented that the parliament was being exposed to ridicule by some chief executives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) due to the behaviour of some legislators.
“Of all the three arms of government, the parliament is the most critical arm and people should not be toying wit it. It is therefore appalling when heads of MDAs come to National Assembly and make unfounded allegations against members of the parliament. This is not suppose to be the case”
He noted that the problem of Nigeria, was however not lack of rules or laws but the lack of will to implement them.
In his welcome remarks, the executive director, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, lamented that corruption has spread astronomically into all spheres of life in Nigeria leading to a downturn of the economy.
He said CISLAC, being the national chapter of the Transparency International (TI) was committed to assisting the committees in the National Assembly to fight corruption.
According to him, “it is never enough to have code of ethics on paper, code of ethics must be seen to be effective and practicable through enforcement and compliance. This is the kind of practice that will greatly contribute to reducing corruption in Nigeria and build citizens’ trust in public sector administration.”
He said CISLAC was appreciative of the efforts of the House of Representatives committee on ethics and privileges to conduct a review of existing legislative codes of conduct with a view towards harmonizing the documents to ensure best practice.
“We reserve profound gratitude to the leadership of the committee as well as the MacArthur Foundation under whose support we are able to hold this partnership.”
Also speaking at the interactive session, chairman of the ethics and privileges committee, Mr. Kolawole Lawal (APM, Ogun) thanked CISLAC, MacArthur Foundation and Ladan for being part of the session.
He expressed the desire of the committee to restore law and order among lawmakers and improve the image of the parliament.
Lawal, however said the committee was faced with different challenges in its attempt to implement the code of code.