Our priorities are electoral and judicial reforms- Abass

House of Representatives has listed electoral, local government and judicial reforms as its priorities.

He said the aim is to promote democracy, grassroot development and speedy dispensation of justice in the country.

The reforms are part of the priority areas of interventions contained in the recently unveiled Legislative Agenda of the Speaker, Hon. Abbas Tajudeen.

The agenda acknowledged that the 2023 general elections excited the most interest in recent times, however, it suffered setbacks regarding the implementation of recent constitutional amendments and the new Electoral Act 2022.

Consequently, the House assured Nigerians that it will carefully examine complaints and observations made by stakeholders arising from the conduct of the 2023 general elections and carry out the needed reforms.

The Green Chamber in its agenda is to take specific actions such as amendment of the Electoral Act 2022 to remedy some of the gaps observed, including vague and contradicting provisions, and allow diaspora voting by government officials around the world.

It also indicated passing an independent legislation (the Political Parties Bill) to regulate the registration, financing and functioning of political parties in Nigeria and, by so doing, allow the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to focus on the conduct of elections.

The House further plans to set up a mechanism for periodic reviews of electoral laws to ensure they remain relevant and in tune with global best practices.

It intends to pass the National Electoral Offences Commission Bill to confer powers of the commission to prosecute electoral offences.

According to the legislative agenda, the House is to propose amendments to the constitution on issues related to elections in Nigeria to address some shortcomings.

These include “Appointment of the chairman and national commissioners of the Independent National electoral Commission (INEC); creation of an Electoral Offences Commission as an independent body; and relevance or otherwise of resident electoral commissioners of INEC in the states.

On local government reform, the House pledged to alter the constitution to recognise it as an independent tier with full financial and operational autonomy, and this will be done in consultation with states.

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