The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says its strength in Ebonyi State and the South East has remained intact.
PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, stated this in his remarks at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held on Thursday in Abuja.
He made the statement in reaction to the defection of Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Secondus, who noted that the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) swiftly took necessary steps to protect and guard its strength in the state and the region, stressed that the real reason that informed the governor’s defection would be exposed soon.
He condemned what he described as the provocative reason of allegation of injustice against the South East by the party, given by the governor for his action.
The PDP national chairman stated that while the party would not join issues with Governor Umahi in any way, it would not bow to any blackmail.
He also briefed the meeting about the outcome of some of the decisions reached during the last NEC which was held in February, as well as the efforts of the PDP in the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States.
According to Secondus, one great lesson the party must learn from those elections is that it needs unity in order to be able to win future polls.
Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, speaks about his defection at a press conference on November 17, 2020.
He stated that the party, drawing from past experiences, would leave no stone unturned in its quest to return to Aso Villa in 2023.
Before he began his speech, the gathering observed a minute’s silence in honour of those who lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent #EndSARS protest.
Read the full text of the PDP National Chairman’s speech at the meeting below:
ADDRESS BY THE NATIONAL CHAIRMAN OF THE PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY, PDP, PRINCE UCHE SECONDUS ON THE OCCASION OF THE 90TH NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (NEC) MEETING OF THE PARTY AT PDP NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS, WADATA PLAZA, ABUJA, 19th NOVEMBER, 2020
With utmost humility and gratitude to God I welcome you all to this very important meeting of our great party. I welcome you specially because this meeting is coming after a COVID-19 pandemic that shook and still shaking the global community.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC as at November 2020, the disease had caused the death of over 1,154 Nigerians out of over 63,000 confirmed cases from 700,000 persons tested. Nearly 3,000 persons are still officially infected in the country.
This meeting is also coming in the aftermath of the #ENDSARS peaceful protests by the youths against police brutality and bad governance and the subsequent looting and destruction by hoodlums that hijacked the process.
At this juncture may I crave the indulgence of NEC of our party to stand for a minute silence in honour of all those who died from COVID-19, as well as in the recent national youth protest ..(may their souls and those of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen).
We are also praying for the quick recovery and God’s healing hands on those still suffering from the virus and the injured.
State of the Nation
Your Excellences, great leaders of our party, before the COVID-19 lockdown our country was already going through some socio-political and economic challenges all arising from the poor governance delivery by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The security problem of the country has refused to abate, instead, it has multiplied with no clear solution in sight.
President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government, under whose watch the situation got worsened and complicated has remained clearly helpless and incapable of providing the needed leadership.
#Endsars Protest And Its Fallout
Your Excellences, leaders of our party, a number of times both in NEC and other platforms PDP has had cause to cry out that the APC administration was doing nothing to improve the lives of the people.
That the youth unemployment situation in the country was growing at an alarming rate. We had also expressed deep concern at the growing human rights abuses in the system all due to the glaring indifference of the APC administration.
The consequences of all these came to the fore when the youths, last month poured out their anger on the country through a nationwide protest.
Even though the protest was triggered off by accumulated police brutality, particularly by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, it developed into a wider rebellion against injustice and poor leadership in the country.
Your Excellences, one significant fallout from the protest was the exposition of the poor management of the COVID-19 palliatives. Recall that our party had earlier cried out that the COVID-19 was becoming a huge window of corruption by federal government operatives.
Perhaps the most annoying aspect of the protest was that the causalities recorded, including the Tuesday 20th October night shooting of protesting youths at Lekki tollgate killing and injuring many, would have been averted if the government was responsive.
Instead, it took President Muhammadu Buhari almost two weeks of persuasion and cajoling from many Nigerians, including the Senate, before he agreed to address the nation on the issue after the damage was already done, youths killed by security agencies and property destroyed.
The protest opened a fresh dimension in the government-citizen relationship and underscored the fact that some fundamental actions are needed to get our polity going on the right track.
The Federal Government should address the fundamental issues raised by the youths rather than the counterproductive strategy of seeking to hound and intimidate perceived leaders of the peaceful protest by seizing their travel documents, freezing their accounts and arrests.
It must be emphasised that peaceful protest is a right in every democracy and guaranteed by the country’s constitution.
When the current National Working Committee, NWC, under my watch came into office nearly three years ago, we based our programmes on 3Rs, to Reposition, Rebuild and to Regain.
I can confidently report to NEC that the programme is on course. We were able to reform the party ahead of 2019 general election enough to take us to victory if the APC regime had allowed the will of the people to prevail.
Number of PDP governors increased from 11 to 16 and would have been more if not for APC’s Electoral abracadabra in Osun, Kano, Kogi States and climaxed in Imo State with the shocking Supreme Court ruling.
At the National Assembly, as an opposition we were able to attract into our fold the Senate President and 16 senators, the Speaker and more than 34 House of Representatives members ahead of the 2019 elections, in addition to three seating state governors, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state, Dr Sam Ortom of Benue and Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State.
All these are as a result of our repositioning of the party that made it a huge brand. We restored integrity to our primaries.
On the off-season elections, we won the governorship in Bayelsa and Edo. The Party also prevailed in several bye-elections in Sokoto, Cross River, Taraba and Rivers States.
In our last NEC meeting in February, some far reaching decisions were taken including the rationalisation of the party workforce to bring it to a realistic level as an opposition party.
I wish to report to NEC that this was successfully carried out by the committee headed by His Excellency, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State who did a good job and deserve commendation.
In our last NEC meeting, also a special committee to review and appraise the 2019 general election was set up. The Committee which is also headed by Governor Mohammed is already operational despite the delay caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.
It was the reformed status of the party that saw us conduct the best ever presidential congress in this country where our candidate emerged transparently and all the other contestants congratulated the winner and resolved to support him.
It is also necessary to bring to the attention of NEC that despite the disruptions from the COVID-19 lockdown, we have been able to conduct congresses in most of the outstanding states and frantic efforts are also on ground to resolve some disputes arising from them in few states.
I must place on record, at this juncture, the cooperation we received from elders of our party in this regard particularly the members of the BOT.
Edo and Ondo States
Your Excellences, leaders, I have decided to isolate these two states because of their unique features.
The party was able to attract his Excellency Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State after he was shabbily treated by his party, the APC. He was able to get his second term for the September 19, 2020 governorship election flying our flag.
I must mention for appreciation the cooperation of party leaders across the country, particularly the Edo State members of our party for this success.
Also for commendation are the PDP Governors forum under the leadership of Hon. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, the Chairman of Edo State National Campaign Council, His Excellency Nysom Wike of Rivers State and his team, as well as the governors of the South-South states.
Also for special commendations is the Chairman of the Ondo State National Campaign Council and Governor Seyi Makinde and his team. In Ondo State, we had similar circumstance but were undone in the October 10 governorship election.
We, however, have some lessons to draw from what happened in both Edo Ondo states.
Before I conclude, your excellences, leaders of our party, may I declare to you that the party is also being futuristic drawing experience from the past. We know as a fact that transparent election under the watch of APC is not feasible with the current Electoral Act.
We are liaising with our very reliable members in the National Assembly to ensure that a fraud-free law is put in place ahead of 2023.
Within our family also, we are putting all hands on deck to ensure we enter the next election stronger as one united and harmonious family and to achieve this, I solicit the full and undiluted cooperation of NEC.
On your behalf also, we are continuing in our extensive consultations with critical stakeholders to ensure that no stone is left unturned for our return to Aso Rock.
Gov. Umahi’s Defection Issue
Your Excellencies, you must have read the eventual defection of PDP Governor in Ebonyi State, His Excellency Dave Umahi to the ruling APC on Tuesday and his provocative reason of allegation injustice against South East by the party.
We have refused to join issues with him in any way, but we cannot bow to any blackmail. What I can report to NEC is that the strength of our party in Ebonyi State and South East is intact and the NWC has taken necessary steps to protect and guard it. The real season that informed this decision will soon be exposed.
As I conclude this address Your Excellences, leaders of our great party, may I report to you that our beloved country is in a very bad shape, the populace are groaning in pains and the government response to this is heaping further pains on them.
This country is sliding into bankruptcy, but the government is instead embarking in endless borrowing with no accountability on the already borrowed ones.
Federal Government themselves just reported last week that 428 agencies would not be able to pay salaries this November because of underfunding.
NEC may, therefore, wish to join other voices in charging the APC Federal Government to (show the cards).
#Stop mortgaging our future,
#Account for borrowed Funds
#Stop the Persecution of #Endsars Youth Protesters
#Respect Nigeria Youths
#Give Nigeria Youths a Voice.
#No to censoring of Social media
Indeed, this APC administration has not treated our youths fairly. This APC government branded them lazy, use them and then victimise them.
Issues that have to do with the development of our youths have been relegated to the background. The gains achieved by our youthful population in every sector of the life under PDP have all been destroyed by the APC which is doing everything to frustrate youthful attainments.
We must as a party therefore, work hard to ensure that the Nigerian youths are once again, given a voice in our country.
Our party will as a matter of policy restore the hope of our youths. We hereby invite the Nigeria youths to avail themselves of the ample opportunity in our party to participate in the political process ahead of 2023 election.
At the last count Nigeria debt profile is showing over 31 trillion naira a lot of it misappropriated.
While borrowing in economics is not bad, it depends on what the borrowed resources is being channeled for. With the unprecedented corruption in the system under APC watch, it would be difficult to see these borrowed funds properly deployed.
Amidst the frightening insecurity in the country accompanied by mass killings that has set fears on the people, what you get from government is multiple tariffs- Electricity, VAT, fuel hike and more, with its operatives indulging in lies and propaganda.
The worrisome situation here is that Nigerians do not really know who is in charge in the country today. It appears that governance in our country today is in autopilot with agencies and operatives in a free world harassing and intimidating perceived enemies.
Your Excellences, the situation generally is frightening and disheartening, but we must not despair because God is not finished with this country and with strong faith in him, we shall prevail.
Thanks for listening and God bless.
Prince Uche Secondus
Umahi’s defection to APC has not brought anyone out of poverty — Obi
…Says, Umahi’s defection to APC is valueless
…2023 elections should not be the discussion now
…My life under threat —Anyim
Sequel to the defection of the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, reactions and counter-reactions have continued to trail the governor’s move.
The Vice Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in 2019 elections, Mr. Peter Obi, yesterday, also reacted to the defection, saying such political dramas should not form the focus of Nigerians when the country is facing severe economic recession.
This is coming days after Umahi had claimed that the plan was for the former Secretary to the Federal Government, Anyim Pius Anyim and National Assembly members to join him in APC after two weeks. Umahi had alleged that Anyim and others stabbed him in the back by staying put in PDP.
But countering Umahi’s position, Anyim had cried out over alleged threat to his life , describing Umahi as pitiably delusional. Anyim dismissed Umahi as a prisoner of his greed and inordinate ambition and a drowning man looking for who to drag down with him.
However, Peter Obi, who was responding to a question during his appearance on Arise Television, said he had, for a long time, refrained from commenting on Umahi’s defection because the country had more pressing economic issues to solve. He said it would be unfair to Nigerians if their political leaders focused on such trivial issues as defection when a greater percentage of the population were increasingly finding it difficult to put food on their tables.
“As at today, Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world. We have the highest number of out-of-school children. Our unemployment rate is skyrocketing every day, food stuffs prices are soaring higher and people are dying of hunger. Would it be fair for us to turn blind eyes to all these challenges facing our people and occupy ourselves with who leaves a particular political party or who does not?” Obi asked.
He advised every well meaning Nigerian and every leader who has the interest of the people at heart, to leave irrelevant political games and join forces to save Nigeria’s economy from collapsing completely. He insisted that 2023 elections should not be the discussion now, especially with the depressing economic situation prevalent in the country.
“How many people have been pulled out of poverty by Umahi’s defection? Will Nigeria exit recession because Umahi left PDP? What economic value does Umahi’s defection to APC have on the average Nigerian on the street who is struggling to put food on their table? We must not be distracted by political movements at this time. Anyone is free to belong to any political party. Our common focus should be saving our economy and making our governance fruitful and productive”, Obi said.
My life under threat —Anyim
Recall that on Monday night, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim had alerted that Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State was after his life for refusing to join him him to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
In an open letter copied to President Muhammadu Buhari and all the heads of security agencies in Nigeria, Anyim had alleged that people had died mysteriously in Umahi’s administration and asked the federal government to protect him.
According to Anyim, he would not have bothered to respond to Umahi’s gibberishness because he was a sinking man with sinister plan.
Anyim said: “Governor Umahi is pitiably delusional. He is a prisoner of his greed and inordinate ambition. Here is a drowning man looking for who to drag down with him. Governor Umahi has made his worst mistake after his latest misadventure by taking on me and other noble and respectable sons of Ebonyi State who have served and continued to serve our dear state with resolute commitment, dedication and integrity.
“The discerning public knows that he has been on the plan for a long time and when he decided to consummate it, he suddenly concocted an accusation against PDP, that PDP was not willing to zone Presidency to the South East.
“People who know Gov. Umahi know that he normally starts this way whenever he is hatching a sinister plan. He raises dusts, makes wild allegations and accusations against people just to divert the attention of the public before he strikes. It is public knowledge that Gov. Umahi had been planning his defection to the All Progressive Congress, APC for a long time.
“Unable to contain and manage the unsavory reactions from the public, he ran to my home in the company of some high-profile people on the 20th of November2020 and pleaded with me to defect to APC, saying that if I do, others will follow suit. I pointed out to him that his approach has made it almost impossible for anybody to defect.
“He pleaded with me that if I cannot defect now, I should not attend any PDP meetings and I said no, I must attend PDP meetings as long as I am in PDP. He realized that he could not persuade anybody when he saw the crème of Ebonyi Elders and citizens that gathered for the inauguration of PDP Caretaker Committee. He could no longer sleep and declared war on every one who has refused to defect with him.”
“How can a man in his 6th year as Governor of a State suddenly realise that a former President of the Senate, a former Governor of the State and two-time serving Senator Dr. Sam Egwu, Senator Obinna Ogba, two time serving Senator, are now cultists and IPOB members. Something is wrong somewhere. It is obvious that either something is pursuing Governor Umahi or that he is pursuing something.
“The purpose of this response is to alert the public and the security agencies in particular on the schemes of Gov. David Umahi so that they will read him upfront and be wary of him and his allegations.
“The only offence we committed is that we refused to follow Gov. Umahi in his political adventure. We do not know when belonging to parties of one’s choice has become an offence against a Governor or means fighting a Governor.
“Security agencies, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Judges should note that Gov. Umahi had boasted that one of the gains of his defection is that he has been promised absolute use of the security agencies for all that he desires to do.
“That the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation is his friend and will soon visit Abakaliki the second time and that he will use him to deal with those opposed to him using the EFCC.
“That he will extensively use the courts to not only make it impossible for PDP to function in the state but also to frustrate those opposed to him including sending them to prison.
“I fully understand that what Umahi meant by ‘this will be the last fight I will fight’, is that he will kill me so that I will not live to fight again.
“While I invite the security agencies to note this plan, I want to assure Gov. Umahi that my blood is not available for him in pursuit of his ambition.”
Ohanaeze, Afenifere, NCF Ask Buhari To Honour Reps’ Summons
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation; Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere; National Consultative Front (NCF), and Prince Tony Momoh, chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), have thrown their weight behind the House of Representatives, asking President Muhammadu Buhari to honour the House invitation following the killing of farmers in Borno on Saturday by Boko Haram Insurgents.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to invite President Buhari to appear before it to explain circumstances surrounding the current state of insecurity in the North-East and other places in the country.
The members of the House of Representatives are representing their various constituents and they have right to invite the president to appear before them over security situation. So, President Buhari must honour the invitation if he is representing the people of Nigeria.
This is a good development. Why won’t President Buhari appear before them? Is he President of Daura or President of Nigeria? In as much as he is still President of Nigeria, he must appear before the House because the President has failed the people by refusing to refurbish the security architecture of the country.
“Nigeria needs security forces that are proactive and intelligent gathering and not one sided security forces.
“It’s unfortunate that security operatives in Nigeria are one sided so the president needs to bring in experts irrespective of state or region they come from.
“President Buhari was elected to find solution to Nigeria’s problems especially the insecurity but unfortunately he has failed the people by refusing to find solution to the country’s problems,” Ibegbu said.
Afenifere also on Tuesday said it is mandatory for Buhari to brief the House of Representatives on the true state of the security situation in the country.
Speaking with Daily Independent, Yinka Odumakin, National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, said the president should appear before the lawmakers in order to give Nigerians the true picture of things and steps being taken to stop mindless killings in the country.
“Definitely, he should appear before the lawmakers. Except he is not the president of the country, that is why he should not honour the invitation. But if he is the President of Nigeria, he should honour it. The killings in the country is too much.
How can 110 people be killed in a day? And yet the spokesman of the president will be making useless statements, blaming the farmers for not obtaining military clearance before entering their farms. What respect do these people have for human blood? They don’t have respect for human lives anymore.
“If the president has scant regards for the lives of Nigerians, he must honour the invitation and explain to the lawmakers what is going on. He is our commander-in-chief not our lamenter-in-chief.
“After the killings, he will be saying ‘I am shocked’, ‘I condemn it’. No, we don’t need to condemn killings. What are you doing to prevent further killings? He needs to go and tell the lawmakers”.
Also speaking, Tanko Yunusa, a former presidential candidate and National Consultative Front’s (NCF) Head of Public Affairs Bureau, said the president must honour the invitation and speak to the lawmakers who are the representatives of the people.
Definitely, he should appear before the lawmakers. He needs to come and talk to Nigerians through their elected representatives on the steps he is taking to keep Nigeria secure. He should go and explain what is happening as Nigerians have a right to know. Nigerians are not happy”, he said.
On his part, Prince Tony Momoh, one of the national leaders of APC, said while the lawmakers have a right to invite the president, it may be difficult for him to divulge important security information in public.
“They can invite anybody to explain but I don’t know how the president can come to them and start to explain security issues to them in front of the camera. As the president, he gets briefing from service chiefs on the security situation. Will he now be revealing this in public glare?”
Also speaking, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), who is a human rights lawyer, said the president must honour the invitation of the lawmakers to explain what he was doing about the security situation in the country which, according to him, had collapsed.
“The president should honour the invitation of the House of Representatives in order to explain to the nation what he is doing about the collapsed security of Nigeria.
“The situation has gotten out of hand such that we can no longer leave the matter with the president again.
“Security is everybody’s business, so we must all get involved through our elected representatives.
“It will be unconstitutional for the president to ignore the invitation of the House as that will send a wrong signal of lack of empathy for the killings going on across the land,” he said.
On his part, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, a former governorship aspirant and chieftain of the PDP, also threw his weight behind the call of the lawmakers, asking the president to honour the summons.
“Absolutely. It’s imperative. The president should, as a matter of urgency, in view of the sad security situation in the country appear physically to address the House on the correct situation of things in the country.
“If the president can address and present his budget annually physically before both chambers of the National Assembly, what stops him from not appearing before them when summoned?
“Besides, it is constitutional for him to do so and explain to the House, as they represent the entire country, on what he is doing on the safety of lives and property of Nigerians.”
Following the current state of insecurity in the North-East and other places in the country, the House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to invite President Muhammadu Buhari.
This was as the House found itself in a rowdy session following attempts by the leadership to block a prayer in a motion which called for the invitation of the president.
The House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, had earlier disallowed debates on the motion moved by Hon. Ahmed Satomi calling attention to the wanton destruction of lives in the North Eastern state of Borno, which forced members to only suggest amendments to the prayers.
Satomi’s motion, moved on behalf of 10 others, was on the ‘Urgent Need to Condemn and Investigate the Insane Killing of Unarmed Farmers in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State’.
While calling on the House to condemn the dastardly act, the lawmaker, however, substituted the original prayer to invite the president for explanations with “urging the president to declare a state of emergency on insecurity in the North-East and Nigeria”, whilst calling for a thorough investigation into the Saturday massacre of over 43 farmers on rice field.
First to move for amendment was the Deputy Minority Leader, Tobi Okechukwu, who called for an investigation into the activities of the Defence Industrial Corporation of Nigeria (DICON).
Okechukwu wanted the House to “mandate the Committee on Defence to investigate DICON on its preparedness to manufacture weapons in the face of alleged international gang up against Nigeria’s effort to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency”.
However, Hon. Ahmed Usman Jaha, who said he was elected to the House from an IDP camp in Borno, moved a point of order on matters of privilege, saying that the motion jointly moved by all Borno lawmakers in the House had been watered down as the prayer to invite the president for explanations on the state of security in Nigeria was no longer there.
He said: “Mr. Speaker, I rise to move on Order 6 Rule 1, Matter of Privilege, that I’m one of the core sponsors of this motion, as well as other members from Borno.
“And we all agreed that the prayers of this motion should remain. But when the member (Hon. Ahmed Satomi) read out the motion, I realised he left out one of the key prayers.
“There is a particular prayer where we said the president and heads of security agencies should come and explain to us why our people are still being killed despite trillions of budgetary allocations and legislative support we have given.”
At this point, the speaker intervened, urging Jaha to allow the prayer for the president to declare a state of emergency on insecurity to stand instead of inviting him.
“This is an appeal from the chair that in a motion of this nature, it’s not all the time we allow ourselves to go all out and say we should invite the head of the executive to tell us what the security situation is.
“I very much understand the pain and the emotion and I share in it, but the prayer to declare state of emergency on insecurity, for me, has far more reaching implications and significance.
“That will go a long way to address the root cause of the matter, and I think we should explore that avenue instead,” Gbajabiamila pleaded.
But Hon. Jaha stood his ground, saying that “the prayer is not mine as an individual”.
He added: “My colleagues from Borno are seated here; let them say that I’m lying, that we did not agree to leave the prayer as part of the resolutions.
“I don’t want my people who elected me from an IDP camp to think that we are here bench-warming.
“Let me say it for the world to hear that we want the president to come and explain to this House why his security chiefs are not doing their jobs, because each time issues are raised, they said they lack adequate funds and equipment, but the president said he has given them all necessary support to enable them carry out their duties, so we need explanations.
“I’ve said it, let the world know that it is the House that is rejecting the prayer.
“But my motion is that Mr. President should be invited to come and explain the security situation in the country, especially in the North-East.”
The point of order degenerated into a rowdy session, forcing the speaker to dissolve the House into an executive session.
However, before then, the speaker expressed disappointment at the attitude of members who were interrupting the House Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, and Hon. Idris Koko, who all aligned with the motion as moved by Hon. Satomi.
“This must be said and I’m going to say it here on the floor. I’m a little bit disappointed to see that a lot of us are saying no, no, when some members were given the floor and were talking over a matter that borders on national security.
“This House, from the beginning, has never been divided and I’m not going to allow that now.
“So, I move that we dissolve into an executive session right now to resolve this issue,” Gbajabiamila ruled.
After about an hour, the House reverted to plenary where Hon. Jaha was asked to formally move an amendment to the motion inviting the president to appear before the House to brief it on the state of security in the country.
Similarly, the upper chamber of the National Assembly on Tuesday slammed President Muhammadu Buhari’s government over the killing of farmers in Borno State and other parts of the country.
Lamenting the high rate of killings in the country by Boko Haram, the lawmakers said that any government which failed to protect the lives of the people had lost its legitimacy and breach Section 14 (1) of the constitution.
The Senate also said that it would assess the performance of the military and probe its budget to know if the funds allocated to it to fight insecurity was judiciously utilised.
Lamenting the failure of government to guarantee safety of lives and the inability of the authorities to end the state of insecurity in the country, the lawmakers took turn to condemn the activities of criminals who unleash mayhem on defenceless citizens across the country, especially in the North-East.
The lawmakers, who expressed their minds while contributing to a motion sponsored by Senator Kashim Shettima (APC, Borno Central), added that if President Buhari insisted on retaining the service chiefs, the logical conclusion would be that Mr. President had failed in his assignment of securing the nation.
In their resolutions, the lawmakers urged President Buhari to immediately initiate a transitional process of phasing out the current over-stayed security chiefs and replacing them with new ones with new ideas and solutions.
The Senate urged the president to take immediate steps to restructure, remode, and revamp the country’s entire security architecture and provide enough state-of-the-art weapons and equipment to effectively combat the belligerent power of the insurgents.
The upper chamber also urged the president to immediately initiate a probe into widespread allegations of corruption and leakages within the security structure and put mechanisms in place to foster transparency and ensure all resources meant and deployed for security were actually spent on the needs on the ground.
They further impressed on the Federal Government the need to aggressively explore multilateral and bilateral options of partnership with the neighbouring nations of Chad, Niger, and Cameroons towards reviving and strengthening the Multinational Joint Task Force and finding a lasting solution to the scourge of insurgency in the Lake Chad region.
The Senate asked the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, recruit at least 10,000 Civilian JTF, versatile with the local terrain in Borno, as agro-rangers under the aegis of the NCDSC to complement the efforts of the Nigerian Armed Forces and, coming under order 42 and 45 of the Senate rules, Shettima lamented that 2,801 attacks had been carried out between January and November this year in the state.
In his motion titled, ‘Beheading of 67 Farmers in Borno by Boko Haram Insurgents: Need for Urgent Decisive Action’, the lawmaker disclosed that about 40,000 people, mostly unarmed civilians, had been brutally murdered.
He said 2.5 million people had been displaced from their homes and farms, property worth trillions of naira wantonly destroyed, and over 7 million people – mostly women and children – plunged into dire humanitarian needs.
He said: “Over the weekend, Boko Haram insurgent members beheaded 67 farmers who had gone to a rice plantation at Kwashabe village in Zabarmari District of Jere Local Government Area, 20 kilometres north of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, to harvest ripe farm produce and destroyed the farm.
“This attack is one of the major attacks perpetrated by this devilish group in addition to the February attack in Auno that killed 40 people, the assault in Foduma Koloram village of Gubio that killed almost 100 civilians in last June, while another attack in Usman Lawanti left another 40 dead.
“Last month, Boko Haram fighters killed 22 farmers working on irrigation fields near Maiduguri in two separate incidents.
“More than 67 citizens were beheaded while they were working in their farmland without any form of resistance or challenge from the security agencies stationed a few kilometres away.
“The Nigerian military, in conjunction with other security agencies, up till today have not been able to quell the insurgency affecting the region despite the slogan by government officials that the insurgents had been technically defeated.”
He said that whatever it was that the present security chiefs were doing was not working or at least not enough.
He added: “If the president insists that the security chiefs are doing their work well, then the logical implication of such assumption is that the president himself, as the constitutional commander-in-chief of the country, has failed in his most rudimentary assignment of securing the nation. I hope the latter is not the case.”
In his contribution, Senator Ahmed Baba Keita lamented that the killing was one too many, adding that the time for truth had come.
“The situation in the North-East can’t be allowed to continue,” he said, describing the statement from President Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, as irresponsible and insensitive.
Taking on the activities of the military in the fight against Boko Haram, the lawmaker said: “We have to sit down and reassess their (military) performance in the North-East. If we allow this to go, let us be ready for more mourning.
“Buhari is doing his best but his best is not enough. It is no longer about money because the money we have pumped in is enough for results to be seen.
“We should investigate the funding for the military and we should no more give them money until we are sure that they spent what we had given them.”
Senator Ali Ndume, on his part, also lamented that reports of insecurity had not been implemented, insisting that the Senate needed to move further to save the nation.
He further lamented that soldiers at the war front shared ammunition, noting that the soldiers were not well-kitted and without new weapons.
Ndume insisted that if the government was serious in the fight against insurgency, in six months or less, Boko Haram would be defeated.
He disclosed how about 1000 Chadian soldiers wanted to assist the Nigerian government in the fight against Boko Haram, but decided to leave because the government was not serious about the collaboration.
He quoted Section 14 (1a and b) of the constitution to explain the role government ought to play in the lives of the citizens.
In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who presided over the plenary, said: “This is supposed to be a turning point for insecurity in Nigeria.
“Enough of excuses. People who have nothing to offer should be shown the way out. Security should take centre stage.
“The Senate will do everything to ensure that these resolutions are respected and implemented.”
Insecurity: It’s Unconstitutional For PMB To Ignore Reps Summon – Adegboruwa
Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), Lagos-based human rights lawyer has said President Muhammadu Buhari must honour the invitation of the House of Representatives to explain what he is doing about the security situation in the country, saying it will be unconstitutional for him to ignore it.
He said Nigerians can no longer leave the issue of insecurity which has collapsed in the hands of the President alone.
Angered by the worsening insecurity in the country, the House of Representatives on Tuedsay summoned the President over the cold-blooded murder of about 43 persons by suspected Boko Haram Islamists insurgency group in Zabarmari village, Jere council of Borno State.
Adopting a motion under urgent matters of national importance sponsored by Satomi Ahmed at the plenary presided by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, the lawmakers insist that President Buhari be made to brief them on the true state of the security of the Nation.
According to Adegboruwa, it is time for Nigerians to get involved in the issue of security in the country through elected representatives.
“The President should Honour the invitation of the House of Representatives in order to explain to the nation what he is doing about the collapsed security of Nigeria.The situation has gotten out of hand such that we can no longer leave the matter with the President again”.
“Security is everybody’s business so we must all get involved through our elected representatives.
It will be unconstitutional for the President to ignore the invitation of the House as that will send a wrong signal of lack of empathy for the killings going on across the land”.
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