The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, on Wednesday, inaugurated the House Ad Hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, for the purpose of improving the corporate image of the Assembly.
The nine-man committee has Sani Zorro, a former Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, as Chairman.
The other committee members are: Namdas Sa’ad, Gbillah Terseer, Kwewum Shawulu, Jarigbe Jarigbe, Akinade-Fijabi Saheed, Obinna Chidoka, Ahmed Yerima and Sodaguno Omoni.
The Speaker urged the Committee members to always ensure that legislative activities, whether in plenary or in committee, were accessible to the general public.
He explained that in a constitutional democracy, parliamentary activities were subject to citizens’ scrutiny and assessment; hence the need to adequately inform the public about legislative activities.
Dogara, represented by the Deputy Speaker, noted that the activities and the work of the National Assembly in Nigeria were often unclear to citizens and sometimes completely misunderstood.
He said: “When there is inadequate knowledge of parliamentary work, it often leads to cynicism, doubt, mistrust and general apathy, which is not healthy in a democracy.
“It leads to grave distortion of facts and sometimes outright falsehoods.’’
The Speaker, therefore, urged the committee to improve the corporate image of the institution of the House and position it as a transparent and accountable institution worthy of its representative character.
He advised members to enhance public awareness and understanding of the parliament, disseminate accurate information and educate the public on the operations and functions of the House.
Zorro, in his remark, gave assurance of the committee’s readiness to aid the leadership of the 8th Assembly in carrying out its duties.
He appealed to Nigerians to key into the Yakubu Dogara-led House legislative agenda to enable the parliament to actualise the sundry programmes already outlined by the House.
Zorro said the Committee’s jurisdiction would not only encompass management of the internal and external publicity of the House, but would also be speaking for the House on all official matters.