By Henry Umoru & Inalegwu Shaibu
ABUJA — THE Senate, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to invoke its military might and all instruments of national power at its disposal to put an end to the high level of terrorism in the country following incessant attacks by members of the Boko Haram sect.
Condemning the activities of the Boko Haram in some parts of the north in recent times, the Senate also warned that the move had become imperative if disintegration of the country must be averted against the backdrop that the unity and sovereignty of Nigeria was being threatened.
It said the government must act fast, recognising the fact that terrorists had declared war on Nigeria.
These were some of the resolutions reached at the end of discussions on a motion entitled: ‘’Terrorist Attack on Kaduna on 8th April, 2012 by Senator Mohammed Sani Saleh, Kaduna Central and 10 other Senators. Others who moved the motion were Senators Abu Ibrahim, Adamu Gumba; Mohammed Magoro; Mohammed Bindo; Ahmed M. Makarfi; Ibrahim Musa; Mudashiru Hussain; Nenadi Esther Usman; Olugbenga Obadara and Yusuf Musa Nagogo.
While calling on its Committee on National Security, Intelligence, Defence and Army and Police Affairs to intensify their oversight functions over the security agencies with a view to improving their capabilities in handling the current security challenges facing the country, they, however, stressed the need for a supplementary budget by the executive to handle the security problem, adding that there was the need to engage the northern governors at least to know their own perspective, find out all the measures that are in place and how far they have worked.
The Senate also called on the Federal Government to pay adequate compensation to victims of Kaduna city bomb explosion and the bereaved as well as those who suffered same fate in other places.
The Senators observed a minute silence in honour of those who lost their lives in the Kaduna bomb explosion and other attacks across the country.
Ekweremadu averts a rowdy session
During debate on the motion, a rowdy session was averted by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, when tempers became high when there were reactions to a question by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, ACN, Ekiti North whether there was government in Nigeria, even as he was stopped through a point of order by Senator Smart Adeyemi, PDP, Kogi West, adding that it was wrong for Senator Adetunmbi to have asked such a question when a government is in place. Senator Ekweremadu saved the situation when it was almost degenerating into rancour.
In his remarks, Ekweremadu, who presided, however, expressed the need for a lasting solution to the issue of terrorism in the country, adding that since the issue borders on security of life and property, necessary actions must be taken to save the country from turning into anarchy.
According to him, “these are moments when we need to act as a Senate, act as patriotic citizens of this nation, and I am happy that we did that. The issue of security borders on the existence of this country and if this country did not exist, then there will be no Senate, House of Representatives and there will be no governor.
“This is a matter of top priority for every one of us. If we did not deal with this matter, we may be heading to anarchy and nobody wants that because nobody knows where it will end. We never believe when we had democracy in 1999 that we will get to a situation where roads will be blocked, there will be state of emergency in some places, and those who have opportunities to earn a living cannot even do that. I believe that democracy comes with freedom but if that freedom is being curtailed by the happenings of the day, then something is wrong and we need to do something about it.
Prior to remarks by Ekweremadu, Senators raised their views on the issue of terrorism in the country. At the prolonged debate, while some Senators accused the Federal Government and security agents of not taking appropriate measures to address it, others believed efforts were being made to curtail the activities of the terrorists and the need to intensify efforts.
Making his contributions, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, who asked where the power of the Senate lies, said: ‘’Where is the power of the Senate to make things happen, to respond to the yearnings of Nigerians that these killings are too much and are coming too often. Nigerians are tired of the condemnation of the bombings, tired of one minute of silence; they don’t want these loved ones to be lost.
Also in his contributions, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, PDP, Abia Central said: “We are at war and when at war, you do the needful. We are at war against those who want to break up this country. I don’t believe this security challenge will break up Nigeria; what will break up Nigeria is knowing what to do and refuse to do it. Security agents need to step up. They have the duty to protect themselves and then, the citizens.
For Senator Gbenga Ashafa, ACN, Lagos East: “This is a war waged against Nigeria and if we are not careful, can consume all of us. Solutions: National identification programme must be a top agenda of the Federal Government.”
In his contribution, Senator Mohammed Magoro, PDP, Kebbi said: “I will tell Nigerians that the security agents are doing their best. We must make provision for modern technology but I will say, so far, so good.
For Senator Chris Anyanwu, APGA, Imo, “the resultant effect is that children would lose value for life. In the light of extreme nature of this, I want to suggest that culprits should face extreme measures. Traditional rulers should be held responsible for conspiracy of silence. There should be national emergency law for such situation.”