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House of reps trains staff on ‘best parliamentary practices’

House of reps trains staff on ‘best parliamentary practices’
August 10
11:11 2022

Yahaya Danzaria, clerk of the house of representatives, says the 1962 Oath of Secrecy Act is still in force to show the premium government places on official documents.

According to Danzaria, an official who divulges official secrets in the civil service is serving the government with a “divided loyalty”.

Danzaria spoke on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of a three-day training workshop organised for staff of the house of representatives. The workshop is titled: ‘Legislative Work Ethics and Behavioural Conduct at Work Place’.

“The civil service considers as very important, the need to maintain secrecy on official government documents,” he said.

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“The Oath of Secrecy of 1962 has remained in force in the civil service to demonstrate the premium government places on official documents. An official who divulges official secret in the civil service is said to have divided loyalty.”

Former President Goodluck Jonathan approved the Freedom of Information Act in 2011 — but despite the law, it has been challenging to obtain information from government organisations.

Danzaria said the workshop is designed to bring the staff of the lower parliament up to speed with global legislative practices.

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“Officers in the service who lack proper education have the tendency to lack the proper attitude, values and skills with which to understand the right attitude to the rules and would easily develop divided loyalty when the obligation to the service challenges their ego and psychological disposition,” he said.

“This three-day workshop is intended to bring staff to speed on their ethical and behavioural responsibilities and guide them to their legislative processes.

“It is a programme designed to provide you with another opportunity to refresh your understanding and knowledge of the legislative practices and procedure, equip you with new skills of bill processing in the era of technology; your role in legislative support service among others.

“The workshop should be interactive to allow for knowledge and experience sharing among you. The ultimate aim is to ensure that the staff of the house of representatives are the best in the national assembly when it comes to working ethics, behavioural conduct and performance of official duties. We must have a house that meets best international parliamentary practices in legislative and administrative issues.”

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Also speaking, Oladele Ojo, clerk to the national assembly, said training and development of staff assist both the organisation and employees in attaining diverse goals.

He said though legislators have the “monopoly” of presenting bills during plenary, staff “play critical supportive roles in ensuring the enactment of quality bills”.

“These could be in the conduct of research, drafting, scrutinising bills, while some of you are responsible for cleaning up the bills and authentication of bills by me before forwarding for presidential assent,” he said.

“Your roles in the law-making process are therefore critical to the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria and well recognised by Management. We must continue to add value to the legislative process and should not underestimate the importance of the services we render to our dear nation as we facilitate quality lawmaking that would promote public order and security.”

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