By EricJames Ochigbo
Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabimila has pledged commitment to make sound legislation to cushion the effects of COVID-19 on Nigerians.
Gbajabimila made the pledge on Saturday in Abuja at a retreat on the Revised Legislative Agenda of the 9th House of Representatives organised by the house.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the revised Legislative Agenda of the House is entitled “Our Contract With Nigerians.”
The agenda narrows down legislative actions to focus on health, education security and agriculture, among other critical sectors of the economy.
Gbajabimi said that year ago, when the house set out to develop the Legislative Agenda of the 9th House of Representatives, it was with the knowledge that Nigeria was faced with profound challenges and the need to find solutions.
He said that the house produced and adopted a Legislative Agenda that was ambitious in its scope and innovative in its purpose.
“We took a critical look at our present circumstances and proposed solutions that sought to go beyond surface fixes.
“It was intended to address the core of our most pressing national problems and provide the right answers to the unresolved questions of our nationhood.
“However, in all our planning and imagining, we did not know that the world will soon change drastically, in ways that we could not then conceive and with consequences beyond our wildest imagination.
“As a consequence of the new realities imposed on us by the COVID–19 pandemic, the question then is, how do you achieve your ambitions in a world where the signposts of certainty have moved so far that we can barely even see them, or recognise where they used to be?
“This is the reality from which the Nigerian people are looking to us for lasting solutions. Are we able to rise to the challenges of our times? I believe that we are.
“This updated Legislative Agenda, and the implementation plan which we have tagged “Our Contract with Nigerians” sets out the new priorities of this 9th House of Representatives and commit us to a plan of action over the next year, and for the rest of our tenure.
“We have called this document a contract because that is what it is; a written account of what we owe the people and how we intend to meet our obligations within the shortest possible time.
“These documents represent our intention to be held accountable based on what we have freely committed to achieving, which i am confident that we will realise to the glory of God and the edification of our people,” he said.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha commended the house for organising the retreat.
He said it had come at a time when the world is facing a life threatening emergency in form of COVID-19.
Mustapha who is also the Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, reeled out updates global and local figures of infections and casualties of the virus.
According to him, 16 million persons have so far been infected by the virus worldwide and there is a total of 650,000 deaths.
Mustapha said that in Africa, there was a total of 814,000 infections and 17,000 casualties while Nigeria had recorded N40,000 and a total of N845 deaths.
He said that trillions of dollars had been invested to combat the virus worldwide, yet, the world recorded the highest number of infractions a day onJ July 25.
He explained that it had affected world economy, transportation, education, politics, lawmaking process and beyond.
According to him, the advance economies have been tested to their limits and it is important that the house is now thinking of life after COVID-19.
Mustapha said that a lot needed to be done to reposition the health sector saying that ”it all depends on the legislation from the National Assembly.”
Mustapha commended the good relationship between the parliament and the executive, saying that it had made good governance possible.
He said that Nigerians were looking up to the lawmakers, assuring them of the cooperation of the executive to meet the aspirations of all Nigerians.
NAN reports that the high point of the retreat was the presentation of the revised Legislative Agenda to the SGF and the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.