Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives, says it looks as if Nigerians are still having a hangover of military rule.
Speaking on Saturday at a retreat organised for reporters covering the lower legislative chamber, the speaker said some Nigerians have not come to the reality of the legislature’s role in a democracy.
“Almost two decades after Nigeria returned to civil rule, it still appears that we are still having a hangover of military rule as some are yet to come to terms with the reality of the pivotal place and role of the legislature in a democracy,” he said.
“We urge the media to help in sensitising Nigerians on the powers, functions and responsibilities of the legislature in democracy.
“Let me at this point state that, enhancing the capacity and ensuring a conducive environment favourable for effective legislative reportage for members of the house of the representatives press corps is a top priority for the leadership of the house of representatives.
“We are ever committed to providing legislative support and framework that will enhance freedom of speech and expression as provided for in the 1999 constitution. This informed the reason for the passage of the Freedom of Information Act in 2011.”
The speaker also appealed to owners of media organisations to pay the salaries of thier staff.
“May I appeal to the proprietors of media organisations to endeavour to pay salaries and other entitlements of their staff. It is the only ethical and proper thing to do,” Dogara said.
“Yes, you are watchdogs of the society. That also places a huge burden on you to act in an exemplary manner.”