• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Insecurity: Senators protest Buhari’s indifference, threaten to withhold budget

Senate president advocates stiffer penalties for firearms bearers

Lawmakers in the Nigerian Senate rose on Tuesday at plenary to protest against what they called President Muhammadu Buhari’s disrespect for the National Assembly.

Senators across political divides complained bitterly that the President had failed to implement all their resolutions passed on the security situation in the country, including the removal of the service chiefs.

The senators also challenged the president to review his appointments as 67 percent of people in government lack the capacity required of their office.

Tempers rose after Bello Mandiya (Katsina South) brought a motion pursuant to Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2015 as amended, which urged the Senate to condemn and order investigation into the missing students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.

Citing section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution, Mandiya said the welfare and security of citizens is the primary responsibility of government.

READ ALSO: FG blames Covid, #EndSARS protest for disruption in cement production, price increase

Gabriel Suswam (Benue North East) said security agencies had failed in their responsibilities.

He said, “The other day American military moved into Nigeria to rescue one abducted citizen. Since Friday, 333 pupils were abducted and we have some people collecting money and building big houses in Abuja.”

Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central) pointed out that their resolutions had not received necessary attention from the president.

“The only thing we see is one spokesperson issuing a statement in reaction. Is the president waiting for us to bring a formal motion to the floor of the National Assembly?” he asked.

In another debate, the senators expressed their frustration of continually demanding actions from the president with no results.

Ali Ndume (Borno South) said the situation in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp was pathetic.

“We can’t continue to talk without result, enough is enough,” he said.

Bala Na’Allah (APC Kebbi Central) said the structure of governance is weak by the appointments made so far by the president.

Quoting a research, he said, “About 67 percent of people occupying position today lack the capacity to run the office they occupy. We have to help the president to look for people with the capacity to reverse the situation.”

Na’Allah urged the Senate president, Ahmed Lawan, to stamp his feet and demand on implementation of many resolutions of the upper chamber by the president, including the replacement of service chiefs.

Senator representing Kogi West, Smart Adeyemi, said it was time the service chiefs retired in the face of their failure.

He hinted that the organised manner and precision which the terrorists carry out their attacks with the sophisticated weapons at their disposal suggested there was international conspiracy against Nigeria.

“The problems facing Nigeria is not local it had international conspiracy. We must have the courage to say we are under siege,” he said.

Adeyemi urged the country to explore foreign relationship in order to tackle insurgency.

Olubunmi Adetumbi (Ekiti North) reminded Buhari of his promise made in February 2015 in Chatham House in London where he promised to lead the fight against Boko Haram from the front.

“It is an understatement to say we are in crisis. As statesmen of this hallowed chambers, we must rise to the occasion to save the nation,” he said.

Speaking in the same vein, Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South) said the senate must impress it on the president that the buck stops at his table.

She said, “What is happening is not easy to comprehend by most of us. The President does not need the third arm, they treat us as if they do not require us to do what they want to do. I don’t believe I am part of the problem.

“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 worst part of the situation is that he is talking to us as if we are talking rubbish. How many resolutions of this senate? none of them has been implemented. Even the resolution on EndSARS none has been taken. They are saying it is our business; no it is not our business, it is the business of the President and this government has failed all of us and the proper thing to do now is for us to get up and do something about Nigeria.

“This is about our future. Three hundred and thirty-three boys, that is the future of Nigeria. That is entire two chambers of the National Assembly put together. It is the children we are looking up to, to take over from us and some persons will come over the night and take them and we say we don’t know. Forty-four slaughtered in Borno and we can not find them; were they carried away by an aircraft?”

Olujimi suggested that the senate should withhold the budget to compel the president to comply with its resolutions.

“The time has come for us to take drastic action, one of them is if the president 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,” she said.

Mathew Urhoghide (PDP – Edo South) said the president had not shown enough respect to the Senate.

He said, “President has no respect for National Assembly, our resolutions are not respected. We have passed bills not assented to by the president. This idea of going to the president, I don’t see the need. We have exhausted all avenues.”

At the end of the debate, the senators urged the president to consider and implement the recommendations of the Senate Ad Hoc committee on Nigeria’s security challenges and senate resolutions as a holistic response to the mounting security challenges across the country.

They, however, rejected a prayer to invite the Minister of Defence, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Director General of the Department of State Services and the Inspector General of Police to brief them on measures being taken to rescue the missing pupils.