From Fred Itua, Abuja
the Senate has warned against an imminent ethno-religious war if the insecurity in the country is not well managed.
The Senate had scheduled a debate, yesterday, to debate insecurity, famine and ethno-religious crisis, but stepped it down, following the death of a member of the House of Representatives, Chinedu Prestige from Abia State.
The proposed motion is sponsored by the deputy majority leader, Robert Ajayi Borrofice.
In the motion, he expressed fears that the nation is sliding into a phase in governance trajectory marred by terrorism, insurgency, banditry and kidnappings.
The motion as contained in the Order Paper of Senate, protested the practice of ejecting Nigerians from any part of the country.
Part of the motion read: “Section 43 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is sacrosanct, as every citizen of Nigeria has the right to live and acquire property in any part of the country. If the present spate of insecurity across the nation is not curtailed, it will lead to food insecurity and famine as many farmers can no longer access their farmlands.”
On how to address the issues, the motion urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the National Security Adviser and the newly nominated service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police to devise a proposal to rejig the nation’s security architecture and disposition of forces for more effective counter measures against the current security challenges, particularly in the rural areas.
It also urged state governors to re-invigorate rural governance and convene a state-wide inter-communal conclaves and dialogues to promote local conflict resolution and inter-ethnic harmony.
It also demanded that the Federal Government should immediately embark on an operation to checkmate proliferation of firearms and enforce the laws against illegal possession of firearms by arresting, disarming and punishing anyone in illegal possession of arms.
It also asked state governors to implement the National Livestock Transformation Plan, a modern scheme designed to eliminate transhumance in order to prevent farmer-herder conflicts and activate highly productive livestock sector in Nigeria.
“The security agencies must actively deploy drones and helicopters to monitor forests and ungoverned areas in Nigeria, to identify illegal camps of armed bandits,” the motion read.
It made a case that the Federal Government should adequately equip the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to police and monitor borders using technology to check illegal immigrants, and checkmate smuggling of fire arms and light weapon; and
“The Federal Government must resuscitate and inaugurate the National Task Force Commission to combat the proliferation of light weapons, small arms and ammunition,” it added.
Meanwhile, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has said the multiple security challenges confronting the country as posing serious threats to its continuous existence.
Lawan, while welcoming his colleagues from a six-week break, he urged Nigerians not to use the social media as a means of dividing the country along ethnic lines.
“Insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and militancy remain serious threats to a secured and safe Nigeria. We will continue to work with the Executive arm of government to mitigate and end these challenges. The very recent emergence of inter-ethnic and inter – tribal conflicts in some parts of our country is worrisome. The senate calls for calm. The situation also calls for leadership at all levels of government.
“Leaders must unite to fight and defeat criminality in the country. Leaders must also unite to fight any divisive and centrifugal sentiments, and tendencies. Political leaders are problem solvers. As parliamentarians we should search for possible legislations to address the issues that tend to create tensions amongst our people. We are going to consult and partner with all arms and tiers of governments, in our quest to finding lasting solutions to these ugly developments. Let me take the opportunity to appeal to citizens to always use the social media for enhancing unity and brotherhood amongst Nigerians. Surely, the social media platforms can play very positive roles of engendering understanding amongst our diverse people,” he said.
He also cautioned against misappropriation of funds earmarked for the management of COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “Our country like many others is experiencing the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. We therefore need to continue to treat the situation as a national emergency. The National Assembly made special provisions in the 2020 budget, which runs up to March 31, and the 2021 budget as well. We need to ensure that the funds are properly utilised for the prevention and management of the pandemic.
“It is equally important for the Senate to engage with executive arm of government on the selection, procurement, distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccines. We must ensure that the selections of the vaccine for our people follows the appropriate and due scientific process, with National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) giving approval only after exhaustive tests before the final selection and approval. We must ensure that the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) responsible for this exercise develop verifiable processes and timelines on how Nigerians would be Vaccinated,” he said.