The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has said that the House would ensure the provision of adequate funding for a befitting legislative library.
The Speaker, who said he was passionate about the legislative library, which will aid research, noted that the House is working to ensure the provision of funds for the library in the 2020 budget.
Gbajabiamila, who spoke when members of the House Committee on Legislative Library, Research and Documentation, led by the chairman, Gaza Jonathan Gbefwi, presented to him a brief about what the Committee intends to achieve, said the leadership of the House would give them the maximum support they need.
“I’m impressed with this visit, especially with the press in full attendance. Your job is to put together a structure that will ensure that the Nigerian parliament is among the best in the world. The only way you can do that is to ensure that the tools of trade for the legislative business are there. One of the tools is books. Research and books are the things we use for our work. I’m very passionate about this committee and I know it has a lot of potentials.
“It’s embarrassing to say that we have the biggest parliament in Africa, yet we don’t have a library. The biggest library in the world belongs to the US Parliament. That’s why you see parliamentarians there do their work well. This is because they get all the things they need for their job at their fingertips.
“So, this committee is very important. I must commend the chairman and members of this committee for the good job you’ve been doing. The chairman was in the US Parliament on this. He has spoken to donor agencies and all that. I commend you for that. It shows that we’ve made the right choice in this committee.
“Of course, the issue of funding is important to ensure that you hit the ground running. We’re doing our best to get funding in the 2020 budget for you to work. We’ll also talk to donor agencies ourselves. So, we’re going to make sure that you get all that you need for your work,” the Speaker said.
Gbajabiamila noted that when fully established, the legislative library will be open to Nigerians to use and conduct research.
Earlier, Gaza, who commended the Speaker for showing a special interest in the Committee, the first of its kind in the history of the House, solicited for the support of the leadership of the House for the panel to realise its mandate.
He said the committee had engagements with a lot of stakeholders with a view to coming up with a roadmap on how to have a well-organised library for the National Assembly.
“We felt we should bring up a brief on where we want to go in the next four years. As a committee, we’ve done preliminary research on archiving. The state of our archiving is nothing to write home about.
“We’ve come to present to you the document containing our brief so that you can understand where we want to be. We’re a new committee, where there’s no precedence. We need to train ourselves and visit other parliaments that already have this kind of committee in place.
“We believe with the kind of interest you have on this committee, you’ll support us. We’ve had a lot of engagements with the relevant people that will help us to get what we want,” he said.