Members of the House of Representatives, last week, suggested a solution to Nigeria’s security challenges to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The suggestion is one that some have branded a bitter pill right in the President’s mouth.
This, and two other stories, formed the core of major events that engendered conversations around the Nigerian project past week.
Red flag on security
On May 6, the House of Representatives urged President Muhammadu Buhari to fly the red flag and declare a state of emergency on insecurity.
The House arrived at this resolution sequel to the adoption of a motion moved by Obinna Chidoka on ‘The Attack and Destruction of the Police Station and the Killing of Two Police Officers in Obosi, Idemilli North and South Federal Constituency.’
Moving the motion, Chidoka had said: “If no urgent step is taken to quell this stoking fire, the entire nation may be engulfed in a level of chaos unprecedented by any such incident in the past and may lead a war of attrition.”
The House, thereafter, called on the Federal Government to “declare a state of emergency on security nationwide… and urgently reorganise the security architecture to properly accommodate and fast track the creation of State Police.”
The clamour has not been totally unexpected. With Boko Haram said to be less than two hours away from the seat of power, Aso Rock Villa, and the precincts of the presidency reportedly under threat of burglars, the general descent into anarchy had become too palpable for any concerned soul not to let out a cry.
There had been precedents though. It could be recalled that on May 14, 2013, then President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States due to series of attacks by the Boko Haram sect.
A reading of President Buhari, however, shows that he would most likely not heed to the resolution of the House.
Only last year, NASS members got irked and expressed their dissatisfaction over his (Buhari) continuous treatment of their resolutions with a wave of the hand.
Rumours that the President is carefully avoiding militarising the North – the hotbed of most national security issues – has been attributed to why he will not admit the option of a state of emergency.
Nevertheless, the issue of rejigging the nation’s security architecture, and creating a State Police have also been like pouring water on a stone.
Despite the clamour for it, no hope seems near. And, this is not unconnected with the reason why governors of the South-West and South-East had embraced the option of a regional security outfit, Amotekun and Ebube-agu respectively to secure their people.
The time for the NASS members to deploy the full force of their legislative powers in addressing some of the gaps that hamper security is now!
NASS MEMORY LANE
“The state of emergency since it was declared in the three States (Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States) had taken us from bad to worse. Our fears now is that if we extend it again, we are inviting more problems to ourselves because the insurgents would capture more territories during the period. As the representatives of my people, my entire constituents are totally opposed to the extension of the emergency rule because it restricts movements of the civilian populace while the insurgents move freely and have a field day?”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, on May 6, blamed the inability of the military and Police to surmount the insecurity troubling the country due to inadequate resources.
During his address at the commencement of an interactive session with Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police and heads of other security agencies, he said:
“You haven’t achieved the optimum and I can attribute that to inadequate resources.
We will see better ways and means of providing the necessary resources to enable our armed forces continue with national assignment of protecting the lives and property of citizens to stabilise our environment for economy to receive better investments for this country.”
Lawan’s excuses may not be totally out of place as the country has been plagued by serious economic challenges that have put terrible strains on growth and development.
What, perhaps, is glaringly missing is the resolve on the part of Nigerian lawmakers to demand a comprehensive inquest into how the several billions poured into the war efforts had been managed.
As Nigeria dances around the precipice, the Lawan-led National Assembly should gird its loins, speak truth to power and demand accountability without which the country would be further doomed.
Suspending 2021 census
On May 5, Hon. Shehu Beji, while moving a motion on the floor of the House of Representatives, urged the Federal Government to immediately suspend the proposed 2021 population and housing census to be conducted by the National Population Commission (NPC), due to insecurity.
“In the circumstance, a large number of Nigerians have fled their homes, while many others are being held captive by kidnappers. As such, conducting such census without them means infringing on their constitutional right.
“Posting enumerators or ad hoc staff to volatile areas of the nation in the name of conducting census will be irrational, as it would be like giving them out to criminals,” he said.
Beji’s submission presents a typical example of how the security challenges have set the country backwards, and stalling development.
The reasons the Federal lawmaker presented are palpable and relatable to many. It further challenges the Buhari-led administration to wake up to the ugly truth that some of its laudable policies and programmes would be kept hanging unless it braces up in wrestling the security ills making life hellish for the citizenry.
Would the suspension of the national census serve as an inspiration for the government to clamp down on the elements fuelling the insecurity across the federation? Time, surely, has the answer.
Answer: Ali Ndume
Ndume made the statement on November 19, 2014, on the floor of the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly. His statement was in opposition to Senate’s approval of then President Goodluck Jonathan’s request to extend emergency rule in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States which are the hotbed of the Boko Haram insurgency. Ndume represents Borno South Senatorial District, and he is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army.
By John Chukwu…
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