The Senate has directed its Committees on Legislative Compliance and Communications to invite the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.
Members of the two committees were asked to communicate to the minister, the need to implement the resolutions of the Senate regarding security issues related to his ministry.
Lawmakers in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja gave the directive during Wednesday’s plenary following a debate on a motion on the alarming rate of insecurity in the country.
Senator Emmanuel Bwacha from Taraba State, who moved the motion, informed the Red Chamber that the rate of insecurity in Nigeria has not only increased hugely but has reached a melting point.
According to him, the challenges have manifested in kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, and assassination, and other criminal activities in the country.
The lawmaker was also worried about what he described as the growing suspicion of the complicity of officials of the state, saddled with the responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of the citizens, being compromised in the process.
While the plenary was ongoing, Senator Nicholas Tofowomo (Ondo South) cited Order 42 and 52 to seek the leave of the Senate to raise a motion on the oceanic surge in Aiyetoro Constituency in his state.
In its resolution, the Red Chamber urged the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Ondo State government to respond to the situation.
The lawmakers asked the state government and NDDC to assist the victims in the community and develop a master plan that would include the building of oceanic barriers to control flooding.
They also appealed to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to visit Aiyetoro community to ascertain the level of destruction with a view to proffering solutions to prevent a future occurrence.
The Senate urged the oil-producing companies to assist the community in rebuilding some of the infrastructure destroyed by the surge.
The three arms of government must take all necessary actions to face and address the security challenges facing the country, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila has said.
He said this while declaring open a 2-day retreat and workshop on promoting effective legislation and oversight of the security sector in Nigeria organized by the House Committee on National Security and Intelligence in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) foundation in Abuja on Thursday.
He said: “We are at this moment experiencing in many parts of our country, significant internal security challenges that have disrupted the lives of many of our citizens, and led to a loss of lives and property at a scale that cannot easily be quantified.
“These internal security challenges threaten the very existence of the Nigerian state because they undermine public faith in the government’s ability to fulfill its fundamental obligation to protect the lives and property of citizens.
“Across the three arms of government, we have a shared responsibility to take all necessary actions to meet these challenges head-on. This is what the people who elected us rightly expect.
“National security is generally understood to be the preserve of the executive arm of government. As a result, the general public and even the political class often do not know what the legislative role in national security is, or ought to be.
“This knowledge gap presents an ongoing limitation on the policy-making and oversight role of the legislature as it pertains specifically to the challenges we face in the national security sector. Workshops such as the one we have gathered here for today are an essential tool in reversing this gap,” the Speaker said.
Gbajabiamila said the retreat should be “an opportunity to critically assess the legislative role in ensuring a safe and secure country for our children.
“The realities of the moment require that we be willing to speak honest truths about the things we haven’t gotten right so that we can then focus our energies on making sure that we do better for the future.
“I encourage all of you to remember that a lot of the hopes we have for our country depend on our ability to guarantee the safety of our people and the security of property and investments. And from this remembrance, I hope we can find the motivation to do all that this moment requires of us.”
“Key followers of the House would notice that security has been a very important part of our work. It’s part of our legislative agenda. When I came in, I visited three key states affected by insecurity. I went to Katsina, Borno and Zamfara.”
“We now have in our process the means of alternative funding for the security agencies.
“I think we should have the roles of each security agency clearly defined. It’s important that we understand the separation.
“There’s no way you can have a government that thrives without security. Anything else relies on security. That’s why when this government came in, security was one of the legs,” the Speaker added.
In an address, the chairman of the House Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Rep. Sha’aban Sharada, said members of the committee were committed to seeing that all security agencies under them are provided with the necessary support to succeed in their mandate.
Saying the retreat could not have come at a better time than now due to the security challenges facing the country, Rep Sharada noted that the committee is currently working on a bill on proliferation of small and light arms as part of efforts to tackle insecurity.
He called on all security agencies to strengthen their efforts and that the citizens should give them the maximum support. He thanked the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Nigeria for their support.
In a remark, the Resident Representative of KAS Nigeria, Dr Vladimir Kreck, said his organization has been partnering with different government institutions in Nigeria, including the House of Representatives, in the area of security to find lasting solutions to the challenges in the sector.
He said his organization’s partnership with the House of Representatives was very critical in addressing security challenges in the country, hoping that such would yield fruitful results in the end.
There were goodwill messages from the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Mohammed Matawalle, who was the Chairman of the Committee in the 7th Assembly, and the Minister of FCT, Mohammed Musa Bello, both of whom were represented.
Catholics in Nigeria are marking Ash Wednesday wearing black attires to protest against the rate of security challenges in the country.
The Catholic Bishops of Nigeria were quoted in a statement asking faithful to wear black or at least black armbands as a sign of mourning and solidarity with the victims of kidnapping and other violent crimes.
At today’s “Day of Prayer Procession” to kick off the Lenten season and protest the state of insecurity in the country, Catholics dressed mostly in black attended the Ash Wednesday service in Our Lady Queens of Nigeria in Abuja.
The aim is to show their grievances over the killings and insecurity ravaging the country as Nigeria continues to grapple with security challenges.
The statement signed by the president of the CBCN, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, will be read at masses across Catholic churches today.
The church said it is aware of its moral responsibility, while also calling on the government to live up to its responsibility of protecting Nigerians.
The march, scheduled for Ash Wednesday, is against “the repeated barbaric executions of Christians by the Boko Haram insurgents and the incessant cases of kidnapping for ransom linked to the same group.”
Emphasizing the importance of peace, the statement reads: “May we, once again, remind all the arms of the government in Nigeria and all whose responsibility it is to protect Nigerians that without security there can be no peace, and without peace, there can be no development or national growth.”
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Kukah, has challenged Nigerian youths to work together in tackling the security challenges facing the country.
Bishop Kukah made this call on Saturday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
“Young children, please remember that in Plateau State, only last week, there were perhaps many young children like you getting ready and preparing for graduation but now they have graduated to the grave,” he said.
Beyond the attacks in which at least 100 people were killed in Plateau last weekend, the renowned cleric also decried killings that have claimed many lives in Benue, Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina and other states.
As the government and security officials work to find solutions to the killings that have continued to defy efforts made so far, the bishop said parents share some of the blame in the security challenges.
He, therefore, wants parents to better perform their roles of seeing to the welfare of their children, especially giving education to the girl-child.
“Too many parents are outsourcing parenting. We have transferred our responsibility to machines. Our society is not going to grow if we don’t give our women a voice,” he said.
Kukah’s comments a week after suspected herdsmen attacked Xlands, Gindin Akwati, Ruku, Nhgar, Kura Falls and Kakuruk in Gashish district, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State.
During the attack, 100 people were confirmed killed, six people were injured while at least 50 houses, two vehicles and 15 motorcycles were burnt.
The attack has been widely condemned by the President, state governors, lawmakers and various groups, including Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) which urged the government to review the nation’s security architecture.
President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Nigerian Governors Forum and former President Olusegun Obasanjo are among those who have paid condolence visits to the state.
In reaction to the killings, many Nigerians and groups have criticised efforts so far made to halt the bloodshed called on the government to take more drastic and decisive action.
Among those, who condemned the continued killings was Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka who warned in a five-page statement that “The Nation Is Dying” as things stand and urged the President to speak a language that “murderous herdsmen” understand.
The former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for a greater participation of private security providers to effectively tackle the security threats facing the country.
The elder statesman also called for effective monitoring and control of the activities of the private security providers.
Obasanjo who spoke over the weekend in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital during an interactive session with private security providers said effective leadership, good governance, development and strong value system within the context of the Nigerian culture and tradition are also needed to address the security challenge.
“The security situation in the country is bedevilled by all the threats that we have talked about.
“We should establish four areas which if handled very well, most of the arears of threat or drivers of insecurity will be touched. Number one is leadership. Don’t underestimate leadership. Also governance, development, and values within the context of our culture,” he said.
Former Governor of Delta State, Mr Emmanuel Uduaghan has backed the call for the creation of state police.
He stated this on Monday when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“These security challenges got worse because the management method is not in full control by the governor,” he said.
“A lot of the security challenges that we are having now would have been either minimal or not there at all.”
Uduaghan explained that the rising spate of insecurity borders on the management issues by state governors unable to handle the police seen as a federal structure
He is of the opinion that when established, it would help contain the security challenges in parts of the country.
The former governor also denied claims arising from the fear that some state governors might want to use the state police to intimidate people.
His argument was based on the fact that before such would arise, there must be an offence strong enough to warrant such arrest.
Uduaghan added, “No governor will tell policeman (to) come to Channels and arrests Chamberlain without your having committed an offence. These days on social media, it is difficult to oppress anybody. For that to be possible, there must have been an underlying offence that you committed.
“You don’t need a police officer to oppress people, I am telling you this from my experience as a governor. If I want to oppress you, I don’t need the police to oppress you.”
Recalling his experience as governor, Uduaghan explained that once a newly posted Commissioner of Police arrives a state, he reports to the governor.
For the issue of effective policing to be achieved, he stressed, was for a balance to be struck between the CP and the governor.
He, however, regretted a situation whereby a CP refuses executing a decision reached at the State’s Security Council at the instance of the Inspector General of Police.
Uduaghan believes such was the avoidable tragedy that plagued Benue State, leading to the death of over 70 indigenes of the state.
“There was a security council meeting, the decision was taken but the Commissioner still needed the order from the IGP to act. That is the problem we are talking about,” he averred.
The Governors of Nigeria’s 19 northern states are seeking the abolition of the indigenes-settler dichotomy which they have identified as one of the major causes of communal conflicts in the region.
This is part of the resolution reached at the end of their two-day meeting with traditional rulers in Kaduna state.
Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and Governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima, addressed journalists at the end of the meeting.
He decried the increasing level of insecurity and wanton destruction of lives and property in the region describing it as a cause for concern.
He said that abolishing the indigene/settler agitation will not only eliminate crisis in all parts of the country, but will also foster national integration and development.
According to him, every Nigerian should have a sense of belonging wherever they are residing in as much as such citizens abide by the traditional norms and values of their host communities.
The governors also linked the killings and other acts of violence against fellow Nigerians in Southern Kaduna and other communities as politically motivated from both within and outside the region.
They called on those they describe as ‘Conflict Entrepreneurs’ to desist from instigating crisis or face prosecution.
The forum, while commiserating with victims of the Southern Kaduna attacks and that of the recent accidental bombing in Borno state, also commended the federal government for providing the necessary leadership to security forces to defeat Boko Haram insurgency and for the drive to rid the country of all forms of vices that confront the society.
The meeting ended with a resolution that all the states must work closely in order to deal with peculiar security challenges confronting the region as well as ensuring that peace is restored in all troubled areas.
The Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Jaji, Kaduna State, has conducted an inter-agencies training on information sharing and intelligence gathering.
Addressing participants during the closing ceremony of the training, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, said that the training was very important considering the internal security challenges facing Nigeria.
Mr Arase, who was represented by the Zaria Area Commander, reiterated that the Nigerian Police Force was determined to take its rightful place in internal security operations aimed at ensuring a peaceful and secured society.
In his speech, the Director of Joint Studies of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Johnson Irefin, explained that such joint inter-agencies training would bring about developing of new techniques on standing operating procedures on internal security and low intensity operations.
He also stressed the need for security personnel and other stakeholders involved in conflict and emergency situations to adhere to the rules of engagement during internal and low intensity conflict.
The event was organised to gather intelligence on a regular basis, to ensure prompt response to crisis situations in line with the humanitarian challenges caused by the Boko Haram insurgents in northern Nigeria.
The training workshop, which drew participants from the military, Police, para-military agencies, National Orientation Agency and National Emergency Management Agency among others, lasted for three weeks.
It was conducted in two phases which featured lectures, presentations, planning and conduct of internal security operations in a multi-agency setting.
As part of its strategy towards effective performance in crime prevention, the Abia State Police Command intends to work with the public in designing solutions to the security problems across the state.
During a town-hall meeting at Umuahia, participants from various cadres in the society stressed the need for a community partnership approach to security and crime management, noting that it was important that all the participants present understood their roles and commit to the decisions and collective opinions as the solutions to insecurity.
While some of the participants also decried the lapses from the Police which they say have hindered public participation, others expressed confidence that the ongoing Police reforms and efforts at restoring dignity and values among the traditional institutions and homes would make an impact.
According to the Commissioner of Police, Habila Joshak, all the other efforts by the Police have been hampered but the community participatory approach would ensure that the public perceive themselves as partners and this would restore the trust and confidence in the Police and help improve the prevention and control of crime.
It is believed that the participatory approach by the Nigerian society would ensure ownership of the reform by stakeholders but it was suggested that in considering the model as a strategy towards enhancing effective performance in crime prevention, modalities for sustainable funding should be employed.
The Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun has called on Nigerians to continue to pray for the nation as it grapples with its security challenges.
Amosun, in his new year message, signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs Olufunmilayo Wakama, said that 2015, being an election year, would be a delicate period which the nation cannot but require peace that will ensure the electorate exercise their civic duty nationwide without fear.
He assured the people of Ogun State that his administration remained committed to the fulfillment of all its electoral promises aimed at transforming the state and making lives more meaningful for the citizens.
The governor further urged residents of the state to pray and work towards the peaceful conduct of the 2015 general elections.
Amosun expressed optimism that despite the limitations brought about by the reduction in the Federal Allocation to states, with genuine sacrifice and the commitment of all, Ogun State would soon become the envy of all.
“I am optimistic that with genuine commitment and continued prayers, our state and indeed Nigeria would soon become one to be reckoned with in the comity of nations.
“As a government, we would continue to ensure that we deliver the dividends of democracy to our people,” he added, thanking the citizens of the state for their support and cooperation.
He admonished them to continue to live in peace and harmony, which according to him, the state is now known for. Governor Amosun promised that their support would never be taken for granted.
“As we step into the year 2015, l urge our people to continue to live in peace and harmony that our dear state is now know for. We must resolve never to return to the ugly past,” he stressed.
The governor, who noted that Ogun State is still work in progress, solicited the support of all citizens for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forth coming general elections, giving assurance that the party would not disappoint them as his government would forge ahead in its Mission to rebuild the state.
He prayed that the New year would bring each and everyone personal and collective fulfillment.