The National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) is an organ of the Nigerian National Assembly established by an Act of Parliament. Created in 2011 NILS was built on the successes of the Policy Analysis and Research Project (PARP), established in 2003 as a capacity building institution of the National Assembly with the financial support of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF). NILS aims to promote good governance and strengthen democratic processes, structures and institutions in Nigeria by fostering and disseminating among legislators the practice of science-based methodologies of law-making; providing legislators and officials with institutionalized opportunities and training in the various disciplines of legislative processes; improving capacity of legislators to sustain and consolidate democratic governance through deliberation and policy formulation; and improving technical capacity of legislative staff, committee secretaries and political aides to process appropriation bills and policy oversight of the executive.
For over 7 years, PARP helped to strengthen the capacities of legislators and ensure that the positions and proposals advanced by the National Assembly are informed by requisite research and analytical support. PARP’s two-phase program supported by ACBF has assisted legislators in drafting and sponsoring bills on topical policy issues and also assisted the National Assembly in tracking the progression of bills. In so doing, PARP collates the Acts enacted and Bills presented on the floors of the two Chambers of the Assembly. The Bills are then digitalized and uploaded onto the National Assembly website. During Phase I of the Project, 725 Bills were tracked.
To enhance the capacity of legislators to contribute positively to debates on issues of national importance on the floors of the two Chambers, PARP analyzes new government policy actions and shares the outcomes with them. PARP also conducts research and studies on topical and relevant national issues, which are then used to enhance the capacity of legislators and their staff and guarantee their effective and efficient performance. The Project has also conducted various workshops on legislative development and process, budget process, communication and information management and ICT skills acquisition and enhancement. An assessment of these programs revealed that the attitudes and behavior of over 98 percent of beneficiaries has changed, and performance improved.