President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio on August 7, announced the leadership of 74 Standing Committees for the 10th Senate. The 10th Senate has 5 Committees more than the 9th Senate which had 69 Committees. Some of the new Committees introduced in the 10th Senate include the Committee on Agriculture Colleges and Institutions, Committee on National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Committee on Oil and Gas Host Communities, Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), while retaining the Committee on Niger Delta Affairs.
The leadership of other Committees announced include Committee on Appropriations chaired by Senator Olamilekan Solomon Adeola, Committee on Diaspora and NGOs chaired by Senator Victor Umeh, Committee on Defence headed by former President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, Committee on Interior chaired by Senator Adams Oshiomhole, Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal matters chaired by Senator Mohammed Tahir Monguno.
In the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas had earlier constituted the leadership of 131 Standing Committees for the 10th House. This is an additional 22 Committees from the 109 Committees of the 9th House of Representatives. According to the Speaker, more Committees may be announced in due course.
Some new Committees constituted in the 10th House include the Committee on Alternative Education, Committee on Christian Pilgrims Affairs, Committee on Islamic Pilgrim Affairs, Committee on Renewable Energy, Committee on Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), Committee on University Education, Committee on Youth in Parliament, etc. Notably, the Committee on Monitoring and Evaluation of Standing and Ad-hoc Committees and the Committee on Monitoring and Evaluation of Implementation of Legislative Agenda are among the new Committees constituted by the Speaker. These two Committees will be instrumental in driving the implementation of the House’s Legislative Agenda. It will be recalled that the House Ad-hoc Committee on Legislative Agenda hosted a Stakeholders’ meeting on July 24, to receive input from the public as part of processes in developing the Legislative Agenda of the 10th House of Representatives.
The Speaker charged the Committee Chairmen to ensure that there are functional secretariats for their Committees. He added that Committees are required to submit reports of their activities to the leadership of the House on a quarterly basis, while reports of investigative hearings, public hearings and oversight functions are to be submitted to the House during plenary, for further legislative action.
The Senate proceeded on recess adjourned plenary to September 26, while the House of Representatives adjourned for a 6-week recess on July 27.
The increase in the number of Committees in the Senate and House of Representatives in the 10th National Assembly raises concern about rising cost of governance, as more Committees may mean increased budgetary allocations to carry out their responsibilities. Also, to constitute the membership of these Committees, legislators will have to be function in multiple capacities as Chairmen, deputies or members of several Committees and this raises the question of efficiency and dedication to in the discharge of Committee duties.