The Senate was, yesterday, greeted by intense vexation, lamentation and threats over what it described as President Muhammadu Buhari’s failure to tackle the deteriorating insecurity in Nigeria.
The development in the apex legislative chamber followed a Point of Order and accompanying motion, brought to its floor during plenary by Senator Bello Mandiya (APC-Katsina), on “The need to order investigation into the missing students at the Government Science Secondary School (GSSS), Kankara, Katsina State.”
Sequel to the debate on the motion, the Senate urged President Buhari to consider and implement the recommendations of its Ad Hoc Committee on Nigeria’s Security Challenges as a holistic response to the frightening security situation in the country.
It also condemned in very strong terms the attack on Government Science School, Kankara, Katsina State which led to the abduction and disappearance of over 300 students last Friday.
The Red Chamber rejected a prayer seeking to invite the Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd); Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar; the Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi; and the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu to brief it on measures being taken to rescue the missing students.
It also rejected an additional motion by Senator Abdullahi (APC – Nasarawa State), for setting up of an Adhoc Committee comprising APC and PDP lawmakers, to brainstorm on ways to curb the rising security challenges facing the country.
Senators took turns to express their views on the deplorable security situation in the country, with particular focus on the abduction of over 600 students from Government Science Secondary School (GSSS), Kankara in Katsina State, condemning the contempt by the executive arm of government for their resolutions.
The lawmakers expressed frustration over the obvious indices that Nigeria was drifting to a failed state while the security agencies have shown evidence of helplessness in containing worrisome situation in the country.
They urged President Buhari to take full responsibility of massive security failure in providing security for the citizenry in the country as empowered by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Contributing to the debate on the motion, Senator Olubunmi Adetunbi (APC, Ekiti North) asked President Buhari to remember and fulfill the pledge he made in Chatham House, London in 2015, to tackle insecurity head on in the whole country.
In her contribution, former Senate Minority Leader, Mrs. Abiodun Olujimi, suggested that the National Assembly should stop further work on the 2021 Appropriation Bill, to compel President Buhari to listen to suggestions from Senate by implementing its resolutions on security. ”
The presidency is not an award; it is a call to duty. And when you call a man to duty, he must be able to know when the buck stops on his table. Right now, the buck stops on the President’s table as far as security in this country is concerned. “The time has come for us to take drastic action, and one of them is that we must do something before we produce the budget; we must think outside the box, we must hold government accountable because this is the third arm and we are equal in all,” Olujimi said.
Senate spokesman, Ajibola Basiru, said that the National Assembly should amend existing laws to empower Parliament to play serious roles in security of the country, saying that such amendments should allow the National Assembly to mete out sanctions to erring public officers.
Also, Senator Matthew Urhoghide lamented the failure of the President to implement resolutions passed by the Senate on growing insecurity in the country, saying that there was need to activate section 143 of the constitution which deals with impeachment and removal of the President.
However, Urhoghide said that the intention was not to remove the President, but to send warning signals, urging that the Senate should immediately begin to gather signatures of at least one-third of its members attached to its resolutions and sent to the President to make him realise that the Senate had powers to sanction him. In his contribution, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa
(APC – Niger East) said: “Every day, people are dying and nothing is happening, and we continue to talk, we continue to go and console them. We can’t bring those lives back. We can’t continue to be leaders, when the people we are leading are being killed every day. What are the police doing?
“Yesterday, bandits were roaming the streets of Tekina going to buy bread and geisha (canned fish), and nobody is saying anything to them.
And then we will continue to live here and think we are at peace with ourselves? “Mr. President, there’s need for this chamber to draw the attention of President Buhari that enough is enough, these Service Chiefs should go. We should give impetus to new blood. There are people that have new ideas. Technology is taking over everything today.
We don’t have the army, we don’t have the police, why don’t we deploy the technology? “Just recently, someone said we should bring mercenaries to Nigeria. Why should we bring mercenaries to Nigeria when we have vibrant youths that are ready to stand for this country? I’m not emotional, I’m being honest and talking from the heart. Enough of this thing.
“Mr. President, I wish the National Assembly will take a drastic action on this. We have the powers to appropriate; we have been appropriating. Where are these funds going to? Are these Service Chiefs the only people that can defend the territorial integrity of this country?”
Sani queried. Senator Kabiru Barkiya (APC – Katsina Central), while describing the Kankara abduction as a sad incident, advised the National Assembly to take urgent steps towards curbing the increasing spate of insecurity in the country.
The Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP – Abia South), in a rather short statement, demanded President Buhari to “bring back our boys.” In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said that the National Assembly would continue to engage the Executive arm of government until appropriate action was taken to address the growing insecurity in parts of the country.
“There’s nothing more important for government to do than securing the lives of citizens of this country, and at all times.
As a parliament, we should never get tired of talking about issues that affect our people. We have our own limitations because of the structure of how governance must be carried out, but we must never get tired of reporting what is happening to our people.
“We should continue to engage with the Executive arm of government until the appropriate actions are taken, because that is what we are expected to do as a Parliament,” he said.