President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said the National Assembly through its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, will strive to ensure justice for the underprivileged in the society.
Lawan stated this when a delegation of the Continental Executive Committee of the African Ombudsman and Mediator led by Hon. Chile Igbawua, paid a visit to his office in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
According to him, the National Assembly will ensure the protection of Human Rights in the country besides handling petitions from the public.
He noted that the National Assembly’s support for Human Rights in Nigeria will come by way of ensuring the eventual approval of the 2020 budget estimates proposed by the Federal Government for the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Lawan, who also underscored the importance of intervention and mediation by the ombudsman, stressed the need for peaceful coexistence that is hinged on the provision of justice.
He emphasised that the legislature will work to create the needed atmosphere for the NHRC and the Public Complaints Commission to successfully execute their duties to deliver on good governance.
“Here in Nigeria, the Public Complaints Commission is the institution properly recognised by law, but we have other Ombudsman bodies.
“We want a situation where justice creates peaceful coexistence among our diverse people.
“The National Assembly is the home of all ombudsmen because we represent the people in parliament, and in our own little way as an institution, we have a committee on public petition.
“Our committee receives many petitions from the public, especially those who find it easier to come through the National Assembly to make their complaints, probably and mostly because they can’t afford to go to court.
“In fact, our committee on public petitions is arguably the most active. That is because over the years we have been able to provide the kind of solutions that make people feel confident and comfortable to make people come to us with their complains, and we will continue to do that.
“The main function of any ombudsman body such as the Public Complaints Commission in Nigeria is to create that peaceful atmosphere of sorting out problems.
“This is to ensure that we have good governance, which is essential for any country to enjoy stability and development”, Lawan added.
Stressing the roles of Ombudsman in the provision of Justice, he said “what is critical for any country going forward is to have an understanding between the different classes of people, the weak, the disadvantaged and vulnerable having confidence in a system that will give them the opportunity to get fairness and justice.”
Earlier, the Leader of the delegation, Hon. Chile Igbawua, said the body of Ombudsman and Mediators from across countries in Africa were in Nigeria to attend an Expo that will create a platform for interaction with members of the public.
“We decided to move a step further by exhibiting, so that members of the public can interact with them (Ombudsman) as they operate, and ask questions where there is need. Kindly, Nigeria was selected to host this occasion,” he said.
Among Senators present when the delegation visited are: Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Boroffice; Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kali; Deputy Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, and Deputy Minority Leader, Sahabi Y’au.
Others are: Senators Ayo Akinyelure, Chairman, Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition; Olamilekan Solomon Adeola, Chairman, Committee on Finance; James Manager, Chairman, Committee on Gas, and Haliru Jika Dauda.