An Assessment of Oversight Functions of Senate Committee on Defence, 2015-2019

Juweh, Joy Anwuli (2021-06)


The study examined the extent to which the Senate Committee on Defence carried out its oversight function from 2015 to 2019. It also assessed the performance of the oversight function by the Senate Committee on Defence in the 8th Assembly, identified the challenges that have affected the Committee in the discharge of its functions, and recommended ways that would improve the committee in the performance of its oversight functions. The study adopted the mixed research design thus, relying on quantitative and qualitative data. Data was, therefore, taken from primary (administration of questionnaires) and secondary (official publications of the National Assembly, journal articles, magazines, internet, the sessional reports of the Senate Committee on Defence, etc.) source. The prose and descriptive methods that emphasize the textual presentation of data were employed for the analysis of qualitative data, while the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS 16.0) was used to analyze quantitative data which were presented using simple frequencies. Findings revealed that the 8th Senate Committee on Defence undertook oversight of the activities of agencies such as; the committee Ministry of Defence (MOD), Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Defence Research and Development Bureau (DRDB), Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), National Defence College (NDC), Defence Space Agency (DSA), etc. Given this, empirical data found that the committee; had a total of 17 meetings, made 2 oversight, had 1 public hearing, and 4 budget hearing sessions, received 6 referrals including motions, held 2 interactive sessions with Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) under its jurisdiction, 6 public reflection sessions. However, the study found that the lust for money, lack of oversight xii performance evaluation mechanism, conflictive executive-legislative relations, noninvolvement of CSOs in the oversight process, among others militated against the performance of oversight xii by the committee. Conversely, the study recommended the active involvement of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), resolving financial and material constraints peculiar to the committee and executive agencies, constructive executive-legislative relations, among others, as measures that would improve the performance of the Senate Committee on Defence in the future, strengthen the oversight process, as well as entrench good governance culture. The Senate Committee on Defence has undoubtedly discharged its oversight mandate, but not without pockets of challenges cropping up from time to time. This is, at best attributed to human nature which cannot be divorced from such inanities. Since governance is often at the centre of legislative representation, it is important to implement the recommendations contained in this study to enhance the effectiveness of the oversight function of the Senate Committee on Defence especially, seeing that for good governance to exist, matters relating to security must be taken seriously.