Asks govs to implement national livestock transformation plan
Insecurity fuelling culture of self-help, says Gbajabiamila
By Deji Elumoye and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The worsening insecurity in the country yesterday engaged the attention of the National Assembly, with the Senate urging President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), the service chiefs, and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, to rejig the nation’s security architecture for more effective counter measures to tackle the security challenges facing the country.
The Senate, in resolutions passed after a debate on a motion on insecurity, also asked state governors to implement the National Livestock Transformation Plan in order to prevent farmer-herder conflicts.
At the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, expressed concern that the worsening insecurity has prompted the people to resort to self-help to stay alive and protect their assets.
In the resolutions read by the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, at the plenary yesterday, the Senate also urged security agencies to deploy drones and helicopters in the forests and other ungoverned spaces to identify illegal camps of bandits so as to crush the criminals.
Senators, however, observed one- minute silence in honour of all victims of insurgency, banditry, herdsmen-farmers’ clashes, and other security challenges.
The Senate had formulated the resolutions following points raised by Senators Tolulope Odebiyi (Ogun West Senatorial District); Solomon Adeola (Lagos West Senatorial District); Kola Balogun (Oyo South Senatorial District); Ali Ndume (Borno South Senatorial District), amongst others, for urgent action to be taken against the security challenges in the country.
The Senate, therefore, urged Buhari to direct Monguno, the new service chiefs and Adamu, to rejig the nation’s security architecture and evolve more effective counter measures to battle security challenges, particularly in the rural areas.
It urged the state governors to re-invigorate rural governance and convene dialogue to promote local conflict resolution and inter-ethnic harmony.
The Senate also advocated a scheme to checkmate the proliferation of firearms and enforce the laws against illegal possession of firearms.
It said by implementing the National Livestock Transformation Plan, the governors would help to eliminate transhumance in order to prevent farmer-herder conflicts.
In other resolutions, the Senate “urged the federal government to adequately equip the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigerian Customs Service to police and monitor our borders using technology to check illegal immigrants, and checkmate smuggling of firearms and light weapons.
“Urge the federal government to resuscitate and inaugurate the National Task Force Commission to combat the proliferation of Light Weapons, Small Arms and Ammunition; and urge the federal government to review the ECOWAS Protocol of free movement to checkmate the infiltration of criminal elements into Nigeria.”
Security Failure Fuelling Culture of Self-help, Says Gbajabiamila
Also, yesterday, Gbajabiamila, while delivering his speech on the resumption of the lawmakers for the 2021 legislative session, expressed concern that the federal government’s inability to protect the people has now forced them to resort to self-help in defending themselves against criminals.
He warned that the resort to self-help portends danger for the nation’s continued existence.
Gbajabiamila urged all stakeholders to put aside the petty concerns of partisanship and ethno-religious differences and support the government to defeat insurgency, banditry, communal violence, and the violent struggle over land.
According to him, the true test of any government is in its ability to protect the most vulnerable, adding that it is impossible to separate the goal of economic prosperity from the ambition to ensure that people live in a just society free from abuse of power and protected by a justice system built on fairness and the rule of law.
Gbajabiamila said as part of its legislative support to combat insecurity, the House would shortly begin the consideration of bills to amend the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, and also follow it up with a review of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act as well as other legislations that seek to deliver a justice system that works for all.
He stated: “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. With these words, the constitution obligates all of us who swear to serve in government to do everything to protect the lives and property of all citizens and promote their well-being above all else.
“This obligation is central to the governing contract between the government and the citizenry. 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 that if there was a time for all to put aside all other considerations, especially the petty concerns of partisanship and politics, it was now.
Gbajabiamila said the forces threatening lives and property, sovereignty and nationhood, would not make any exceptions based on individual’s religion or tribe.
According to him, insecurity has become so pervasive that it has cost people in every region and state lives and property.
He said: “Here in the National Assembly, we do not command any army or control the police. Command and control of our nation’s security infrastructure is an exclusively executive responsibility.
“Yet, it is to us that our constituents look to when the forces of darkness descend to disrupt their lives, often irreparably.
“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.”
Gbajabiamila said in the 2021 legislative year, the House would focus attention on bills and motions that would improve ease of doing business and unlock economic potential by removing restrictive regulations and that deprive young people of the opportunity to conquer new frontiers.
He said in this age of technology and innovation, of daring and enterprise, the government could not risk implementing policies that would handicap the ability of the nation to participate in new markets and profit from emerging industries.
According to him, it has become more difficult with each appropriation cycle for the government to meet its obligations, considering the exploding recurrent cost of governance demands.
He, therefore, called on the lawmakers to be more circumspect in the priorities the parliament pursues, particularly regarding establishment bills in the National Assembly.
Gbajabiamila said at a time of reduced revenue, with pre-existing and worsening infrastructure deficits requiring significant investments, the parliament could not afford to keep establishing more institutions that would raise the cost of governance.
“I am not unmindful of the realities that often necessitate such legislation, yet we cannot ignore the facts that lie before us. Let us work together to reform and strengthen the institutions already in existence, and remove those no longer fit for purpose. I believe most sincerely that this is the pathway to a legacy that we can all be proud of,” he said.