From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, met with the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to discuss the nation’s security situation as well as Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board.
Speaking to State House Correspondents after the meeting, Lawan reiterated that the responsibility to secure the environment for Nigerians to earn their means of livelihood lies with the three tiers of government including the traditional rulers.
“There is nothing more important today or more topical than the security of Nigeria.”
He said the desire of everyone including the government was to see farmers return to farms before the rain starts.
This, he said, meant that the government must secure the rural parts of Nigeria as well as the urban centres.
Lawan assured that the nation would witness some activities aimed at improving security within two months.
“We had a very extensive discussion on the security of all parts of Nigeria and how we should go about improving the situation, we all have roles to play. Nobody would like to see the kind of things that we experience in various parts of the country in the form of insecurity.
“As political leaders, we have responsibilities to our people and we cannot shy away from that, we have to get our people secured, we have to secure the environment for them to earn their means of livelihood, we’ll like to see our farmers go back to farms before the rainy season starts.
“This means we have to secure the rural parts of Nigeria as well as the urban centres because we need businesses to flourish. So, I believe that between now and probably the next two months, there will be a lot of activities to ensure we recover and secure the environments for our people to lead a very normal life,” he said.
On the need to de-escalate the charged socio-political atmosphere, he charged the political class not to be part of the force setting the various ethnic and religious groups against each other through inciting comments.
“Recently, there has been a lot of arguments on what should happen and what should not, especially with regards to what political leaders would say or not supposed to say. I want to point out very clearly that Nigerian citizen believe in Nigeria so strongly and that is why you will find an Igbo man, a southeasterner in the remotest parts of northern Nigeria.
“That’s why you will find a Hausa man in faraway South West or South East or South South and probably even marry from those areas. Probably, he will selling Kolanuts, but he believes that this is Nigeria and he can live peacefully and he is living and make a family. You will find a Yoruba man in faraway Southeastern or Northern Nigeria, maybe even becoming an indigene… So, we have this Nigerianness in our citizens. As political leaders, we are supposed to ensure we support this kind of feeling by giving everybody a protection; if a Yoruba man, Southwesterner decides to live in faraway Sokoto, he should be protected.
“If a Hausa man decides to live in faraway Bonny or Port Harcourt, he should be protected, and so on and so forth because this is how we will be able to use our diversity to weave it into a capacity to make Nigeria a big and successful nation.
“So, I believe we will work throughout both the Federal Government, the state governments and even the local governments and our traditional rulers will have a role to play in this,” he said.
On the status of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the senate president said the National Assembly is in alignment with President Buhari’s resolve to sanitise the operations of the Commission.
“We also have discussions on the need to ensure that government functions very well. We have few issues, these are house keeping issues of getting the NDDC governing board nominations and I agree with Mr. President that we have to end the forensic audit to ensure that everything is done properly and the report is submitted to him.
“It is very significant that whoever is found culpable should be treated as such so that that we serve as a lesson and as a deterrent to others because NDDC should have transformed the Niger Delta into a better environment than what it has been.
“NDDC was created by a law of the National Assembly since 2000 or so, and we are talking about how many years now, we are we are talking about almost two decades. That should have given sufficient time, given the resources that were deployed into the NDDC. So we need to sanitise the NDDC and get the resources fully deployed in developing the area in the Niger Delta,” he said.