The security situation in the country took a worsening turn on Wednesday with killings and kidnappings across the states.
In Abuja, federal lawmakers kicked off their 2020 plenary with a debate on insecurity in the Senate and a forceful address by House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, which centred on insecurity.
Gbajabiamila lamented that political office holders’ failure to secure lives and properties is underscored each time a person is abducted or killed.
He said: “Every time a citizen going about their business is killed or kidnapped, loses their property or livelihood, we have failed in our obligation. From the abundance of these failures has emerged a culture of self-help in matters of internal security that portends grave danger for our nation’s continued existence.”
The Speaker added: “If ever there was a time for us to put aside all other considerations, especially the petty concerns of partisanship and politics, it is now. If ever there was a time to set aside our differences of tribe and religion to focus on a concerted effort to defeat the challenges of insurgency and banditry, communal violence, and the violent struggle over land; that time is now.”
Yesterday, gunmen killed three people in Anambra State. The assailants gained access to the hall where a meeting was taking place in Nkpor, Idemili Local Government and shut them dead.
On a Delta State highway, seven travellers in a Warri-bound vehicle were abducted by gunmen.
In Bayelsa State, armed-to-the-teeth pirates kidnapped six people after attacking a speedboat.
In Yobe State, Boko Haram captured three Customs men while in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, a reporter with Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) was abducted on the highway.
Gbajabiamila added: The forces that threaten our lives and property, our sovereignty and nationhood, do not make any exceptions based on the God we pray to or the language of our native tongue. From every region and state, citizens of every tribe and religion have suffered and will continue to suffer the pain of death and the grief of loss until we put an end once and for all to the terrors of banditry, insurgency and malignant crime in all forms.
“We have to reconcile the obligations we owe to our people with the constitutional limitations under which we operate. But we will not shrink from our role as advocates for the forgotten voices, and we will continue to exercise the appropriation and oversight authority vested in us to hold to account those who bear direct responsibility for the protection of all our nation’s people.”
Senators called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the National Security Adviser, the newly nominated Service Chiefs and the Inspector General of Police to “rejig the nation’s security architecture and disposition of forces for more effective counter measures against the current security challenges, particularly in the rural areas.”
This is part of their resolution after the debate on a motion titled: “General Insecurity in Nigeria”. It was sponsored by Senator Ajayi Boroffice and 105 other senators.
The Senate urged governors to re-invigorate rural governance and convene state-wide intercommunal conclaves and dialogues to promote local conflict resolution and inter-ethnic harmony.
They enjoined the Executive to immediately embark on an operation to checkmate proliferation of firearms and enforce the laws against illegal possession of firearms by arresting, disarming and punishing anyone possessing arms illegally.
The Senate urged governors to implement the National Livestock Transformation Plan “which is a modern scheme designed to eliminate transhumance in order to prevent farmer-herder conflicts and activate highly productive livestock sector in Nigeria.”
Other resolutions adopted by the Senate include: “Security agencies to actively deploy drones and helicopters to monitor forests and ungoverned areas to identify illegal camps of armed bandits.
“Equiping the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to police and monitor borders using technology to check illegal immigrants, and checkmate smuggling of fire arms and light weapon; and the resuscitation and inauguration of National Task Force (Commission) to combat the proliferation of Light Weapons, Small Arms and Amunition.”
Senate President Ahmad Lawan said: “There’s no better investment today in Nigerian by government, than making more resources available to our security agencies because security is the major thing that government can do to change the lives of the people for the better.
“So, we will continue to discuss an debate it here. This will not be the last, but the tone, the issue, the main theme should change.
“That maybe by the time we discuss this kind of thing here again, it should be that we have made a shift; that we have moved positively, that we are trying to only make it better.
“We should not be frustrated, we should not be discouraged. What we are talking here is being listened to, even when it appears to us that there’s no sufficient implementation of what we are doing.”