By Emmanuel Aziken
The Senate, Wednesday, unanimously rose in condemnation against Monday’s bombings in Warri, Delta State, that aborted Vanguard Newspapers-organized post-amnesty dialogue.
At the end of an extensive debate on the issue, the Senate also condemned inflammatory remarks from all quarters that may disrupt the peace even as it urged the Federal Government to fish out the bombers.
The Senate resolution was upon a motion brought to the Senate floor by Senator Victor Ndoma-EgbaÂ on the twin-bombing that rocked the perimeters of post-amnesty dialogue in Warri last Monday.
His motion was supported by several senators many of whom drew attention to the failed implementation of the post-amnesty programme of the Federal Government and the need to fast-track the infrastructural development of the Niger Delta.
There were, however, some few expressions of dissent from some senators, notably Senators Kanti Bello (PDP, Katsina) and Maji Maina Lawan (ANPP, Borno) who said neither the region nor MEND should be given the advantage above the rest of the nation.
Among the prominent supporters of the motion were Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President, senators Abubakar Sodangi (PDP, Nasarawa West), Olorunnimbe Mamora (AC, Lagos East), Effiong Bob (PDP, Akwa Ibom North-East), Nuhu Aliyu (PDP, Niger North), Nicholas Ugbane (PDP, Kogi East) and Ayo Arise (PDP, Ekiti).
In canvassing support for the motion a number of Senators also stressed the need of improving security through the establishment of State Police.
â€œNigeria is a federal State and it is the only country with its size that is running a unitary police state. It is time that we begin to consider the establishment of State Police,â€ Senator Ekweremadu submitted.
Among those that echoed the call was Senator Arise. Many of the Senators nevertheless expressed concern on the state of infrastructural decay in the Niger Delta which some said was a contributory factor to the emerging insecurity in the region.
â€œI condemn violence of any sort. Anything that will kill or maim other persons should be condemned but one needs to go to that area to see, one cannot believe that the wealth of the nation is coming out from that region,â€ Senator Nuhu Aliyu said.
â€œWe have to give attention to that region because those young men that became militants became militants because of the situations that they found themselves in,â€ even as he questioned to what purpose the money sent to the region have been used.
â€œIn their states they donâ€™t see the money that is going there, we just have to rise to make sure that the Governors, the ministries and other agencies are doing what they are supposed to be doing so that the militants will see that the money that is coming out of their region is now being seen.â€
Senator Mamora while echoing Senator Aliyu quoted the American Nobel Laureate, Martin Luther King in saying that peace was not just the absence of conflict, â€œbut the presence of justice.â€
â€œI am also constrained to say that the whole concept of amnesty as put in place by President Yarâ€˜Adua I think in this instance has not been all inclusive because from what we heard it is like some elements are still feeling excluded in the whole process,â€ Senator Mamora, the Senate deputy minority leader submitted even as he urged all stakeholders to give peace a chance in the region.
Senator Bob was to reiterate what he described as the seeming insincerity in the Federal Governmentâ€™s plans for the region with his illustration of the snail speed pace of work on the East-West road cross-linking the region.
â€œIt appears to me that we talk too much about Niger Delta development but very little is very done in practical terms. All the projects that were listed even before the amnesty plan of President Yarâ€˜Adua were announced, none has been implemented.â€
Such suggestions for more financial assistance to the region and seeming empathy with MEND were, however, seriously countered by Senators Maji Lawan, the Senate Minority leader and Kanti Bello.
â€œWe have been castigating the Governor of Delta State for his inflammatory statement, what of MEND itself what of their statements? It is more or less a regional issue. We cannot just condemn the government officials, we should also condemn MEND itself. I think we should definitely, completely condemn the action of MEND,â€ Senator Garba Talba (PDP, Yobe South) said.
Echoing the same view, Senator Kanti Bello said:
â€œIt is a pity that we have people in this country calling themselves militants and yet there is an amnesty programme put up by President Umaru Yarâ€˜Adua.â€
Noting that many of the Federal Governmentâ€™s major projects are cited in the Niger Delta, Senator Bello said it was unrealistic for the region to demand more when according to him the region was already getting more than its fair due.
Following the submissions, the Senate resolved thus:
1. Condemn inflammatory comments from all quarters which are capable of inciting violence in the Niger Delta.
2. Urge the Federal Government to pursue the post-amnesty programme with increased vigour, while trying to maintain peace in the Niger Delta Region.
3. Condemn the bomb explosions which rocked the venue of the two day venue of the post Amnesty programme organized by Vanguard
4. That the Federal Government be urged to fish out those behind the dastardly action.