Some members of the House of Representatives have proposed that the National Assembly be shut down to force the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to wake up to his responsibility of ensuring protection of life and property in Nigeria.
This is just as a lawmaker called for the resignation or sacking of the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, saying he should have been sacked along with the last set of service chiefs.
The House cut short its plenary on Thursday, following an extended debate on the growing insecurity in the country, during which emotions ran high in the chamber.
Items on the Order Paper for the day, which contains the agenda for each plenary, were stepped down after the lawmakers, mostly members of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress, spent over one hour criticising the Buhari-led regime and security agencies.
A member of the House, Shehu Balarabe, had moved a motion of urgent public importance on the killings in Kaduna.
The Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, noted that he would use his “emotion-laden voice” to speak in his capacity as leader of the House and the “ambassador of the government on this floor.”
Ado-Doguwa said, “You can see how this chamber is thrown into disquiet and into an emotionally-disturbed manner. When you have a government in place, the major responsibility of that government, especially a democratic one which was elected by the people, is to ensure safety of lives and properties of its innocent citizens.
“When things like this continue, and continue on a daily basis, those of us who are representatives of the government will become speechless. I have to repeat: we become speechless in the discharge of our duties here to defend actions by the government.
“This is an elected government under a popular democracy but we continue, day in day out…killings, massacre, banditry, armed robbery left, right, and centre. This is just a report of one local government area out of the 774 of the federation.”
The majority leader asked why several parts of Kaduna State have been under attack despite the existence of several military and paramilitary institutions and bases, “the highest number you can count in the northern part of the country,” in the state.
“The government, in this case, has to rise up to its responsibility and call a spade a spade,” he stated.
Ado-Doguwa pointed out that the National Assembly had always appropriated more funds for the security agencies, while relevant committees have been following up on the use of the funds in the implementation of the budget.
He said, “We are here for Nigerian people; we must speak for Nigerian people. We cannot sit down here, fold our arms and see our electorate – people who elected us into our respective offices – being killed by the day.
”The majority leader described the situation as an “institutional failure” and “regimented failure on the part of our security agencies because you have no cause to even excuse any one of them.”
…Let’s shut down parliament, force Buhari to action – Lawmakers
Contributing, Aminu Suleiman said the situation “is going beyond the control of our security agencies,” adding that nobody can explain “this clear case of what I will call ineptitude – absolute ineptitude.” He decried that the entire country is now insecure, with the crisis in the North-West growing at an alarming rate.
Suleiman said, “I am beginning to interrogate the power of our resolutions here. We have passed several resolutions, we have lamented. Is there any way now that we can ensure enforcement of our resolutions? Can’t we as a House take more drastic action?
“If our resolutions cannot work, is it not possible to close this chamber and join ASUU, and say ‘we are not resuming here until the Commander-in-Chief (of the Armed Forces) performs his duty? I am not directly accusing him but the buck stops at the table of the Commander-in-Chief. If there is success, he will be the first to take the glory. Now that there is complete failure, the Commander-in-Chief must take responsibility.
“And we have powers to drive this process to ensure that Mr President takes responsibility, otherwise it will be difficult for us to go back and speak to our people that we have debated on the floor of the House and we have passed resolutions. These are academics; our people are not used to these. ‘You have passed resolutions; you have debated, what is the effect? Have these issues been arrested? Have they been overcome?’”
The lawmaker added, “I urge us, we must do something practical, dramatic and serious to show to the government and to the people that we are doing our best, otherwise when resolution starts some of the innocents may be the victims.”
Also, Chike Okafor said the country has not fared better under the Buhari-led regime since it took power in 2015. He added that security had not improved despite changing the service chiefs. “It is not about the failure of anyone in particular; all of us have failed and we must acknowledge that the failure is that of all of us,” he stated.
Okafor added, “I want to align with the last speaker that we have to go beyond just speaking from this place and do something drastic; something more revolutionary. I think that if we wake up one day and say we are not opening the doors of this chamber; until something drastic is done, Nigerians will not take us seriously.
“I want to believe that the security chiefs are overwhelmed in this situation. Something drastic has to be done. Let us not wait until we are completely overwhelmed.” Punch