By Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—Senate President, David Mark has asked Nigerians to stop the blame game and support the Armed Forces to defeat the Boko Haram insurgents in the North East, and rescue the Chibok girls, saying that “blasts are non-partisan in their destructive nature.’’
Mark, who spoke while welcoming his colleagues back from the Yuletide break as the Senate resumed yesterday, said every Nigerian irrespective of tribe, religion or political divide must support security agencies in their task of defeating Boko Haram for the nation to progress.
Mark specifically asked both the Federal Government and the Armed Forces to intensify efforts to rescue the Chibok girls abducted from their school in Borno State, months ago.
“Government must do all it can to end this insurgency. This is a war that we must win and we will win. The tendency is to blame government for this sore state of affairs. Every Nigerian, irrespective of partisanship, must demonstrate patriotism to our country. We must support our Armed Forces and other security operatives to stop this evil. Insecurity plagues all of us and must be tackled holistically,’’ he said.
He spoke as the hope for the early passage of 2015 budget dimmed with the Senate failing to get the reports on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, and Fiscal Strategy Paper, FSP, which the budget was predicated on.
The two documents were supposed to, among other issues; recommend a realistic crude oil benchmark to be adopted for the 2015 Appropriation Bill.
However, Chairman, Senate Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Senator Mohammed Ahmed Makarfi, explained that his committee was yet to receive the revised MTEF and FSP noting that as such, no report was ready for consideration.
Mark noted with dismay that activities of insurgents and terrorists in the country, leading to the untimely death of several innocent and productive lives, stressing that the North Eastern part of country was under siege.
According to him, members of the Armed Forces and other security agencies had paid supreme sacrifice to free the country from the activities of insurgents and described the victims as heroes and heroines whose deaths must not be in vain.
“We pray that the souls of the deceased rest in peace. They are our heroes and heroines and their deaths must not be in vain. We must not dishonour their memory by politicising the security challenges in the North-East,’’ he further said.
Mark commended the National Assembly for its active roles in the fight against terrorism as well as the relevant committees that had engaged various stakeholders, especially the Armed Forces and other security agencies ”who risked their lives daily to protect our liberty, freedom and security.
On next month’s general elections and other issues, Mark said, “We have a role to play in ensuring that Nigeria witnesses a peaceful general election. Despite the much vaunted fear, apprehension and anxiety that our nation may not survive the elections by some dooms- day prophets, I personally remain optimistic that we have the strength of character, the political will, the perseverance and maturity to rise above all the challenges that lie ahead. We are all leaders and I know that we will work towards peace and harmony. Our nation will not disintegrate after the elections.