Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), on Monday, said that post-legislative scrutiny (PLS) was key to consolidating Nigeria’s democracy.
The Foundation’s Country Representative, Nigeria, Mr Adebowale Olorunmola, stated this at a workshop, organised by National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Abuja on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was organised for members of staff of the National Assembly and NILDS.
NAN also reports that PLS is a proactive way of looking at a law already passed for certain purposes and finding out whether it is serving the purpose for which it was passed or there are unintended consequences.
Olorunmola said that the use of PLS was an important measure in developing the country’s democracy.
According to him, PLS is an emerging legislative knowledge and practice which enables the parliament to take a second look at important laws with a view to noticing their impact on the populace.
“It also enables lawmakers to see if there had been unintended consequences in the course of implementing whatever law that might have been passed so that they can take steps to address those consequences.
“It is an emerging body of knowledge that helps the society and the country to get better and be well guided by law.
“For instance, I am aware that Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) is currently being revised. This is what PLS does, to look at what impact the law has made vis-à-vis the objectives,” he said.
On his part, Director, Democracy and Governance, NILDS, Dr Adewale Aderemi, said that the training was aimed at equipping members of staff of the institute on ways to measure the impacts of legislation on the citizenry.
He explained that PLS was important “to know whether a law is actually working that way or not. This is why you know whether a review of the law is due or not.”
Aderemi further said: “The way we evaluate legislation in Nigeria presently is to look at the number of bills passed by a particular legislature.
“This is not sufficient to measure the impacts of the law on the people. And that is why PLS is very important,” Aderemi said.
One of the participants, Mrs Adaobi Ofodeme, said that the training was enlightening.
“I learnt that PLS is a process of deepening democracy and improving the entire legislative process,” she said. (NAN)