Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the House of Representatives, says the eight National Assembly is the most persecuted in Nigeria’s history.
Speaking during the valedictory session of the lower legislative chamber in Abuja on Thursday, Dogara said the lawmakers worked in a “toxic” atmosphere”.
He said some of the lawmakers were victims of harassment and incessant arrests over false accusations.
The speaker, however, said the outgoing house is among the best in Nigeria’s history, with a “record-breaking” number of 382 bills passed.
“Ironically, the 8th national assembly also holds the record as the most persecuted and harassed parliament, ever in Nigeria’s history,” he said.
“Some of our members bear the scars of reckless deployment of institutional prerogatives. We witnessed sieges and invasion by state operatives.
“Some members suffered witch-hunts, house arrests and false accusations. We are also witnesses to barrage of uncharitable criticisms and assessments bandied on daily basis in the media by hired mercenaries who masquerade as analysts. Most of these analysts are ignorant of the fact that the parliament was not designed to be an alter of praise for the executive but a co-equal branch to serve as a check on executive power.”
He also commended his colleagues for not allowing partisanship “to erode our system of checks and balances.:
Dogara said though the lawmakers “may not have achieved our legislative agenda hundred percent”, he has no doubt that they did their best “given the circumstances and the very toxic environment under which we operated”.
“My fulfillment as a leader in this assembly stems from the fact that, bolstered by the spirit of patriotism and nationalism, we were able to sustain the legacies of previous parliaments by ensuring that this great institution was not compromised or exploited”.
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