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NASS REPUBLIC: When Gbajabiamila’s cries aren’t enough. Two other stories, and a quote to remember

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2020 budget to be passed on November 28

Gbajabiamila’s lamentations

On September 24, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, cried out over the never-ending insecurity in Nigeria.

He made his frustration public while declaring open a two-day workshop on promoting effective legislation and oversight of the security sector in Nigeria, organised by the House Committee on National Security and Intelligence, in collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation.

He said: “These internal security challenges threaten the very existence of the Nigerian state because they undermine public faith in the government’s ability to fulfil its fundamental obligation to protect the lives and property of citizens.”

“Across the three arms of government, we have a shared responsibility to take all necessary actions to meet these challenges head-on. This is what the people who elected us rightly expect,” he added.

Gbaja’s speech amplifies the many concerns and frustrations of the citizenry on the nagging security challenge. Indeed, it raises the specter of a gradual descent to the Hobbesian state of nature where life was short and brutish. Any doubts would be erased by government’s failure to stem the tide of wanton killings and destruction of property that have become almost a daily affair.

In fact, the nation’s security challenge has become a thing of national emergency and embarrassment. And, it is only natural for people to lose faith in government when it has failed to fulfil its primary responsibility.

In this violent extremism, hundreds have been displaced in North-east and North-west regions. And the President has stubbornly refused to yield to calls of relieving the underperforming national security chiefs of their jobs.

For Gbajabiamila and his co-travellers, the pertinent question to ask is why the legislature has developed cold feet in probing the several trillions of naira sunk into the war against insurgency.

Perhaps, only an informed guess would do.

Unless a thorough probe is conducted, it would seem that the National Assembly leadership is deliberately giving President Buhari a protective shield to save the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from the monumental embarrassment that could arise from unearthing massive corruption within Nigeria’s military.


NASS MEMORY LANE

Who said,

“I was in protective custody. They said they were worried that I could be attacked. They took me away and protected me. They asked what transpired and I told them my version of the story, and they let me go. I did not commit any crime?”

Answer: see end of post


Two other stories

NASS goes digital but…

Femi Gbajabiamila

On September 25, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, celebrated newly installed electronic systems in the House. The Speaker led journalists on an inspection of the digital technology meant to aid proceedings.

He said: “This is one of the things we promised we will do in the 9th assembly and we are happy that this can be found in any advanced democracy.”

“We have e-attendance, so rather than signing manually on papers, you can do that through the system, your biodata is captured and mark attendance using your thumb,” he added.

Read also: NASS REPUBLIC: When lawmakers adopt ‘kparapoism’ as ideology. Two other stories, and a quote to remember

No doubt, automating the National Assembly processes would enhance efficiency and instill controls in the conduct of the affairs of legislators. Perfecting the processes should be a given.

What, however, would impress Nigerians the more is how the lawmakers dutifully or sincerely apply themselves to their primary responsibilities of law-making, oversight functions and representation.

Therefore, Gbajabiamila has the onerous task of not just automating the processes but also rebuilding a work culture in which most lawmakers are not driven by patriotism but largely by the huge sums of money available to be grabbed at will.

It would be interesting to see how the house leadership deploys technology to discipline members who absent themselves at will or fail to meet the minimum attendance required in a legislative year.

Fighting rape

Nigerian security chiefs have overstayed their positions, exhibited crass incapacity –Senator

The National Assembly, on September 24, declared its intention to work closely with State Governors to rid the country of rape and Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Opeyemi Bamidele, made public the intention of the federal lawmakers in a speech he delivered at anti-GVB programme, in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital.

He had stated: “There is no gainsaying the fact that sexual and gender-based violence has reached its highest crescendo and of an unimaginable proportions in recent times. The situation had been further exacerbated by the COVID– 19 pandemic in Nigeria and across the globe.”

The National Assembly initiative must be considered a lofty one. The rape scourge had forced most leaders at sub-national and national levels to adopt uncommon measures.

The United Nations, in May 2020, disclosed that Nigeria had long faced gender-based violence crisis, with 30% of girls and women aged 15-49 having experienced sexual abuse.

Earlier, in June 2019, the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) said despite the progress made by the Nigeria government at fighting the societal scourge, approximately 80 million women and girls were still victims of GBV.

Many critics hold the view that shaky implementation of legal frameworks, among others, had frustrated the efforts of the government and institutions at addressing the scourge.

It is hoped that the National Assembly, while working with the State Governors, would identify these loopholes and related ones in ridding the society of this avoidable mess.


Answer: Ovie Omo-Agege

The now Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, made the statement in April 2018. It was in relation to the invasion of the Senate chamber by three thugs, on April 18, 2018. They came while the Senate was in plenary and made away with the mace. The invaders reportedly entered the chamber about the same time Omo-Agege, who was then suspended from the Senate walked into the chamber. He was alleged to have led the thugs.

By John Chukwu…

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