Sunday, April 21, 2024
HomenewsNigeria Is At A Cross Road, Under Threat, Say Lawan, Gbajabiamila

Nigeria Is At A Cross Road, Under Threat, Say Lawan, Gbajabiamila

Leadership of the National Assembly rose in Unisom on Wednesday with the conclusion that the Nigerian nation was at a cross road and under serious threat from the current security challenges across the country.

Both the Senate President, Sen. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila both agreed that the very essence of the existence of the Nigerian nation was under serious threat.

Speaking at a three day National Security Summit organsied by the House of Representatives Special Adhoc Committee on National Security, the National Assembly presiding Officers also agreed that it was high time Nigerians work together in one accord irrespective of ethnic, political or religious affiliation to save the country from the impending catastrophe.

The summit which was earlier scheduled to begin on Monday was shifted to Wednesday in honour of the late Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 others who died in a plane crash in Kaduna.

According to Lawan ; “I want to say here that Nigeria is at cross roads today. The very essence of the existence of this country is under serious threat. What started as insurgency in 2009 or so in the North Western part of Yobe has now snowballed into full scale insurgency in the entire north east.

“What was not known to us in the North West is now today the home of banditry and kidnapping. The North Central, as we all know is not safe. It suffers clashes between the herders and our farmers.

“And the recent introduction in the south east is another serious threat to the existence of this country where government institutions are targeted, our police and security agencies are being killed on a daily basis. Our institutions and buildings are burnt.

“I believe that these are threats, not only to those areas, but the entire nation. Our armed forces are doing their best. I must commend our armed forces and other security agencies for doing so much with the little we are able to give them.

“The National Assembly has always been on the side of giving the kind of support, either legislative, or the kind of financial support that our armed forces and indeed all other security agencies require, even though we have our limits.”

The Senate President who is also the Chairman of the National Assembly said the essence of the summit is to look for ways of improving the performance of the nation’s armed forces and other security agencies, insisting that “this summit is essential because we are tested as a country, we are tested as a people.

“Criminals everywhere have found probably comfort in doing what they do. This is the time for the legislature and executive arm of government to come even closer in finding solutions. I want to take this opportunity to appeal and ask the executive arm of government to implement whatever would be the outcome of this summit.

“A criminal has only one name and that is criminal. No criminal should have comfort in his ethnic enclave. Whoever, or where ever that person is, once he is a criminal, he is simply a criminal and must be dealt with in the appropriate manner regardless of where he or she is coming from.

“It is also important that we provide resources, more resources for our security agencies to enable them better tackle the criminal activities across the country and our armed forces can do that. But the fact remains that we have not enabled them enough.

“Today in this country, there is no better investment than investing in the security of our people. We must ensure that we protect the lives and property of our people. This is the essence of government.

“So while the National Assembly should work hard as it always done to provide more resources, I also want to say we must review procurement processes by the security agencies.

“While we are not going to open up how they do these things to the public, but as parliamentarian who approve the funding, we must understand how these procurement processes are undertaken.

“If the processes require that we change the way we do that, because of inefficiencies, we should go ahead and do so, because it is not enough to just put in more resources, but how the resources are deployed within the economy, with prudence and efficiency.

“I want to once again appeal to us in the National Assembly. The security agencies, we know are doing their best, but I think it is high time we work with the executive arm of government to look at the architecture of our security system for better performance.

“When I mention architecture, I also want to mention that all levels of government are responsible for securing the lives and property of Nigerians. The federal, states and local governments. And of course it is a well-known fact that the local governments does not function.

“The local government system does not function and that takes away a lot from our efforts at providing security for lives and property of people. And when I mention the local government system not functioning, our traditional rulers, who had played major roles in protecting us today have no function more or less.

“It is only when there are problems, we look for them. In the northern part of the country and I daresay all parts of Nigeria, our traditional rulers play key roles in ensuring security in their domains. Why can’t we look at the possibility of providing and official function for them, even if it is in advisory capacity in the constitution?”

Also, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila said Nigeria was a nation under attack, adding that Nigerians must work together in one accord irrespective of political or religious affiliation to save it from the impending catastrophe.

The Speaker said the victory of Nigerians over current security challenges in eh country will depend on the ability to set aside all differences and mobilise in one accord.

The Speaker said every Nigerian need to work for peace and the desired benefits and expressed the hope that the country will come out of the current challenges, saying; “It may well be that it is in the crucible of this battle for survival that we become a nation fully formed. Therefore, we must rise to the moment with passion and perspective.”

Gbajabamila said “we are a nation under attack. Our victory in this present battle depends greatly on our ability to set aside our differences and mobilise in one accord against an impending catastrophe that threatens all of us regardless of language, religion, politics or status.

“We hope for peace and desire its benefits. Yet neither fervent hope nor heartfelt desire will suffice because the ends of peace require action. As in the words of the former American President, Bill Clinton, ‘peace must be waged with a warrior’s resolve; bravely, proudly, and relentlessly. Secure in the knowledge of the single greatest difference between war and peace, in peace everybody wins.’

“Let us in this defining moment, work together to pursue the things that make for peace. Let us dedicate ourselves to ending violence, and disorder in our land, and to improving the quality of life for all our nation’s people. Let us work together to uphold the honour and glory of Nigeria, and free our nation to be a place of peace and justice forevermore.”

According to the Speaker, “an enduring peace depends on our ability to build a society where individuals can aspire to and achieve their righteous ambitions on the strength of their effort and regardless of the status of their birth.

“Yet, achieving this kind of society depends on securing the lives of our people, protecting property and investment, and ensuring that people can freely traverse the length of our country without fear of danger and molestation.

“The legislative obligation to make laws for the good governance of the country exists alongside a duty to make sure that the policies we develop and the legislation we consider and pass, address the most pressing concerns of the Nigerian people.”

He said further that policies and legislation of government must also include the considered contributions of our citizens and be capable of meeting the highest ambitions of our nationhood, saying “we have convened this Special Summit on National Security to jointly, as citizens and public servants, find solutions to the problem of insecurity in our country.

“We are here because we know that our national ambitions will not be attained without lasting peace and security. We are here to have honest conversations about where we are, how we got here, and the hard choices we must make to guarantee a secure future for all our nation’s children.”

He said the summit will consider the contributions of a cross-section of the Nigerian people and develop therefrom, recommendations that take into proper account the social and constitutional, political, and economic factors that contribute to insecurity in our country, while identifying specific legislative actions and make practicable recommendations for executive action.

The Speaker said; “we do not seek and do not have it in our power to put an end to all conflict. Our responsibility in government is to ensure that the lives and property of all the people within Nigeria are safe from the predations of those who use violence for profit or in service of religious or ethnic objectives. And to make sure that whosoever raises arms against our country is served the full measure of justice.

“This Summit is not an avenue for name-calling, for apportioning blame or absolving responsibility. Our national house is on fire, and the people we serve rightly expect that we will devote all our energies and resources to trying to improve the future, rather than be paralysed in the present, grieving about the errors and failures of the past.

“It is by the work we do now that we can redeem ourselves and save our beloved country. This Summit must be, and is solution driven.

“Our deliberations in this Summit and the recommendations that emerge therefrom will reflect all the factors that have precipitated our present circumstances, including issues of economic fairness, the allocation of state resources, the deficiencies of our criminal justice system, and the role of critical national institutions such as the National Assembly, the Judiciary, and the state and local governments.”

The Speaker announced that the Summit will be conducted behind closed doors to allow informed stakeholders to engage frankly on matters of National Security in a protected environment and allow all stakeholder participate in an exhaustive consideration of ideas.

He said while the National Assembly will act on and implement the recommendations from the summit, it will also present the recommendations to the President for executive action, saying; “Mr. President has assured me that he will receive and consider the report, as a good faith contribution by parliament to address a matter of urgent national importance.”

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