The House of Representatives Committee on Special Duties carried out an unprecedented oversight functions at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The committee, led by its Chairman, Rep. Nadu Karibo, arrived at the Villa in two Toyota Coaster buses and took a tour of some ongoing projects in the State House before meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan.
The president assured them that his administration placed emphasis on oversight, check and balances as well as monitoring and evaluation.
He told the lawmakers that their presence in the Villa for oversight functions should help to bridge communication gap between the legislature and the executive.
The president stressed that the visit was significant as it was the first time such a thing had taken place.
He said the executive arm of government, under his leadership, had the well being of the people as its focus.
“This is the first time this kind of visit will happen and it is something to be encouraged.
“If a section of the legislature is responsible for oversight even at the State House, it is very good that they visit and see what is going on here.
“The executive arm of government places a lot of emphasis on oversight and check and balances on monitoring and evaluation,” he said.
In an interview with State House correspondents after the inspection, Karibo said the committee was impressed by the development going on in State House.
He specifically commended the extension works going on at the clinic and the services rendered to non-staff of the Villa.
“What really impressed me was the extension work going on at the State House Medical Centre and I was surprised.
“My initial impression was that state house medical centre was only for the president and the state house staff but I observed that those who are not even staff have access to the medical facilities.
“It is really impressive and we also observed that there is extension work going on there.
“A new site is being developed, probably to cater for the upsurge of the people going there for treatment.
“We also saw other aspects of the state house,’’ he said.
On reports of face-off between the legislative and the executive arms of government, Karibo said they were often exaggerated.
He said that contrary to the belief of many, such misunderstandings were usual in politics.
“The little misunderstanding between both arms is very usual in politics but often overblown.
“It is not out of place for the House of Representatives to do investigations, to ask questions when necessary; otherwise the relationship between the executive and the legislature is very cordial.
“You can see us here; we are over-sighting the state house; that should be the parameter to see that the relationship is not as bad as people think.
“We are very happy that the president will open his doors and enable members to come freely and do oversight.
“I think this is unprecedented. It is not a usual everyday thing. So I am really impressed that the president opened his doors for us to see what we wanted to see,’’ he said.
The lawmaker said the house would do all things within its power to improve on the budgetary allocation to the state house. (NAN)