By Emma Ovuakoprie
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Tambuwal, is disturbed by the spate of killings in the country. He spat fire in his welcome speech after the green chamber resumed from a two-week recess.
In his speech entitled: ‘One massacre too many’ on Tuesday, he painted a graphic picture of what transpired in Yobe State where over 59 students were reportedly killed by the Boko Haram Islamist group.
Before the speech, lawmakers engaged in lobbying to make the Tuesday plenary a special session for security.
Sunday Vanguard gathered, however, that the House leadership prevailed on the legislators to rather concentrate on the Yobe massacre.
Some of the lawmakers, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard anonymously, said they believed that once the budget estimates of 2014 had been settled, the next issue will be on the security situation in the country.
They argued that all segments of the country that manifest terror would be x-rayed in the session.
According to one of the legislators from the South-east,the session would look at the various levels of crises and take a position.
”We will cross check whether Nigeria was at war? Whether what is happening is a religious war, a group war, a war perpetuated by a group of aggrieved people and find a lasting solution to it,” he said.
”If need be we, will invite all those involved because this is not the time to apportion blame to any level of government.
”We are part of government, so you can’t blame any level for now. “
Another legislator from the North-west spoke in the same vein, describing the security situation in the country as “unacceptable.” He added: “We must hold a session on security after passing the 2014 Appropriation Bill.
”We will leave nothing untouched as the situation for now calls for a collective responsibility to checkmate the present situation in the country.
”Immediately we resumed, we had wanted to use the Tuesday plenary to deliberate on it but the budget too is of national importance”.
A lawmaker from the Boko Haram hot seat in the North-east could not hide his anger; he simply told Sunday Vanguard “go and ask the House leadership about it”.
He explained: “We’ve done our very best to bring succour to our region since this insurgency started but to no avail.
”God knows that we’ve committed a lot of resources into it too.”
Other lawmakers, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard, saw nothing wrong even if it amounts to convening town hall meetings in the six geo-political zones on the issue of insecurity in the country.
Tambuwal’s speech in his speech said:
” In my brief statement immediately after the Yobe attack, I warned that Nigeria is running out of excuses for our failure to live up to our responsibility to protect our citizens. Today I wish to amend that comment and declare that we HAVE run out of excuses. We no longer have any excuse for our inability to protect our innocent defenseless children from gratuitous violence.
” In recent times, it seems the nation wakes up every morning to the sad news of one gory tale of bloodletting and killing of innocent Nigerians or another: in the North-east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe; in the North Central States of Benue and Plateau; and in other parts of Nigeria.
” We wake up to the disturbing news of daring and dastardly attacks on our military establishments resulting in the dissipation of our military infrastructure and the destruction of the lives of the heroic Nigerians who have committed their lives to the defense of our territorial integrity.
” In Maiduguri for instance, expensive military aircraft and equipment and whole military barracks have been lost in addition to the loss of men and women of our Military and other law enforcement agencies.
” We wake up to the chilling news of the total annihilation of innocent, law abiding families and entire communities in the most callous, reprehensible and bizarre fashion. This cannot continue. We must rise up collectively and decisively to stop these orgy of deaths, destruction and waste.
” Section 14 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that the security and welfare of our people is the primary purpose of government. In making this provision, the Constitution places a duty on all of us here and everyone else entrusted with the mandate of governance and representation to place a high premium on the security of lives and property of Nigerians.
” By this parameter, the Nigerian government must rise to the occasion. And by government I do not mean only the Executive. We in the Legislature are also part of government. And we cannot therefore merely join in the chorus of lamentations. Our duty is to act swiftly and decisively in the protection of the citizenry”.