Last week, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, made a sensitive disclosure bordering on Nigeria’s deplorable security situation.
He, without mincing words, named the sponsors of the terrorists making life hellish for Nigerians, especially those in the Northern region.
His revelation, as expected, has since raised choking dust across the nation. This, and other interesting stories characterised events, in the past week, at the National Assembly (NASS).
On March 4, Lawan, alleged that drug barons were the ones funding Boko Haram insurgents, bandits and kidnappers in the country.
Speaking when the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brigadier General Buba Marwa (RETD), paid him a visit, in Abuja, he said, among other things:
“Nigeria is in one way or the other a transit route for drugs…We believe that this has to stop because the proceeds of such activities fund terrorism, banditry; you wonder how the bandits have RPGs and these massive arms they have. Definitely, these are some acquisition provided by some barons, not the bandits themselves.”
Is Lawan really privy to some information detailing the operations of drug barons, and their links to funds criminal elements use in fueling their nefarious activities?
While Lawan’s claims may be faulted, there is no denying the fact that many years down the line the country is still struggling to lay a finger on those arming criminals amongst the populace.
Worse still are concerns over how these criminal elements carry more sophisticated arms and ammunitions in comparison to those of the Nigerian military.
So, how believable are the claims advanced by Lawan?
Assuming, without conceding, that drug barons do not mean well for the general wellbeing of society, it is, however, difficult to draw a fine relationship between growth of illicit arms and drugs.
Even in the face of this leaking argument, questions have also been raised as to why such credible intelligence is being traded publicly without evidence that such may have been shared with appropriate security agencies for actioning.
Unless this factor is disproved, Lawan may be seen as one who chose to speak the way he did for the sake of political correctness and media optics.
Whether the Senate President will take the next bold step to build necessary synergies is a matter for future conjectures.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“More than 200 gunshots were fired at my aides yesterday. Uzodinma must be called to question. The governor was using his position to aid thuggery. Before I went to that (Royal Spring Palm) estate on Sunday, I called the CP (Commissioner of Police), and the Director of DSS (Department of State Service), and they said they were not aware of the sealing of the estate, therefore, I went to find those who sealed the estate without the approval of the Police and the DSS and moreover, there was no court order. Uzodinma should not take my peaceful disposition for granted?”
Answer: See end of post
The Ebola alarm
The House of Representatives, on March 3, charged the Ministry of Health to increase surveillance at points of entry in Nigeria in order to avert another outbreak of Ebola coming in from infected neighbouring countries.
The resolution of the House followed the adoption of a motion moved, at plenary, by Hon. Unyime Idem on the urgent need to create immediate public awareness and preparedness to combat any possible outbreak of Ebola.
“Mandate the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health to enhance surveillance at points of entry to respond to any suspected outbreak of Ebola coming from the neighbouring countries, especially Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” the House ordered.
The resolution of the House is timely, and must be seen as a call to action, specifically for the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), to up their game in taking proactive measures to prevent another Ebola outbreak.
There is no gain saying that it would be utter disaster to carelessly welcome another epidemic when the country already appears overwhelmed in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, and is, indeed, living off global support to protect its citizens.
The House must, therefore, scale up its oversight functions to ensure that the Ministry of Health does not falter.
Rescuing Badagry-Sokoto expressway
Senator Sadiq Umar and seven other Senators made a case for the road project during the Senate plenary.
“It is important that the government goes back to this road, open it up and make it viable and open this country up for more economic investment,” Senator Tolu Odebiyi said, among other Senators that advocated for the repair of the expressway abandoned over 40 years.
The importance of Senate’s call lies in the famed multiplier effects of infrastructure development in the economy.
This call, therefore, must go beyond mere resolutions to affirmative action, and this presupposes that preliminary issues regarding environmental impact assessment, economic benefits and funding have been contemplated and considered.
This is while condemning the shameful conduct of past administrations in neglecting for decades a road that has great bearing on the economic standing of the country.
Answer: Senator Rochas Okorocha
Okorocha made the statement on February 22, 2021, while addressing his supporters at Spibat mansion in Owerri, Imo State. That was a day after he was released from Police custody due to the violence that followed over the sealing of Royal Spring Palm Hotel by Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State.
Okorocha represents Imo West Senatorial District in the Red Chambers of the National Assembly.
By John Chukwu.
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