By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA-SENATE President,Ahmad Lawan, has assured that a considerable level of success would be achieved in tackling security problems in the country without two months.
This was as he tasked political class as well as traditional rulers to play role of
de-escalating the tensions that have enveloped the country following crises in some parts of the country.
According to the Senate President,who spoke yesterday to State House Correspondents, after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in his office at Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja,the political and traditional leaders can do these through their actions and utterances.
Also,Lawan tasked various state and local government areas across the country to rise up to defend all citizens within their domains irrespective of their religious, ethnic and culture backgrounds.
He said government was doing everything possible to secure all parts of the country and ensure peace returns before the rainy season sets in, so that farmers and others can go about their normal lives in a secure environment.
He, however, commended the Executive for planning on empowering the armed forces further to be able to achieve the required peace and security for the country, citing the plan by the National Economic Council (NEC) to draw funds from the Excess Crude Accounts to fund the further equipment of the armed forces.
He said the National Assembly would compliment the efforts to upgrade the armed forces by helping with the appropriation for the required equipment.
“I’ve come to meet with Mr. President, to discuss the issue of security of our nation, and in fact, there is nothing more important today or more topical, than the security of Nigeria.
“We had a very extensive discussion on the security of all parts of Nigeria and how we should go about improving the situation, we all have roles to play. Nobody would like to see the kind of things that we experience in various parts of the country in the form of insecurity.
“As political leaders, we have responsibilities to our people and we cannot shy away from that, we have to get our people secured, we have to secure the environment for them to earn their means of livelihood, we’ll like to see our farmers go back to farms before the rainy season starts.
“This means we have to secure the rural parts of Nigeria as well as the urban centres because we need businesses to flourish. So I believe that between now and probably the next two months, there will be a lot of activities to ensure that we recover and secure the environments for our people to lead a very normal life.
“We also believe that the government is headed in the right direction. You’ll recall that the National Economic Council approved of taking some funds from the Excess Crude Accounts with a view to giving more resources to our armed forces.
“This is a commendable effort and we are ready to help with appropriation to ensure that we acquire those security weapons for the armed forces of this country to end this insecurity in the northeast, in the northwest, in the southeast/South-south and southwest as well.
“We believe that this is also going to help empower and build the capacity of other security agencies like the police because the police need to be there. They’re supposed to maintain the internal security and whenever this the armed forces secure an environment, the police should be there to to stay put and make sure there is law and order”, he said.
On the need to de-escalate the charged socio-political atmosphere in the country, the Senate President charged the political class not to be part of the force setting the various ethnic and religious groups against each other through inciting comments.
“Recently, there has been a lot of arguments on what should happen and what should not, especially with regards to what political leaders would say or not supposed to say. I want to point out very clearly that Nigerian citizen believe in Nigeria so strongly and that is why you will find an Igbo man, a southeasterner in the remotest parts of northern Nigeria.
“That’s why you will find a Hausa man in faraway southwest or southeast or south-south and probably even marry from those areas. Probably he will selling cola nuts, but he believes that this is Nigeria and he can live peacefully and is living and make a family. You will find a Yoruba man in faraway southeastern or northern Nigeria, maybe even becoming an indigene
“I was born and brought up in Gashua. Gashua is in Yobe State. The Kalega family, and I want to use this as an example of how people can be integrated. The Kalega family lived in Gashua for almost 100 years. We were born to see the family like that. I earned a scholarship from my state, the Kalega family members earned the same scholarship. In fact, they are indigenous Bade local government, my main local government.
“So we have this Nigerianness in our citizens. As political leaders, we are supposed to ensure that we support this kind of feeling by giving everybody a protection; if a Yoruba man, southwesterner, decides to live in faraway Sokoto, he should be protected.
“If a Hausa man decides to live in faraway Bonny or Port Harcourt, he should be protected, and so on and so forth because this is how we will be able to use our diversity to weave it into a capacity to make Nigeria a big and successful nation.
“So I believe that we will work throughout both the federal government, the state governments and even the local governments and our traditional rulers will have a role to play in this”, he said.
On the status of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Senate President said the National Assembly is in alignment with President Buhari’s resolve to sanitise the operations of the Commission.
“We also have discussions on the need to ensure that government functions very well. We have few issues, these are house keeping issues of getting the NDDC governing board nominations and I agree with Mr. President that we have to end the forensic audit to ensure that everything is done properly and the report is submitted to him.
“It is very significant that whoever is found culpable should be treated as such so that that we serve as a lesson and as a deterrent to others because NDDC should have transformed the Niger Delta into a better environment than what it has been.
“NDDC was created by a law of the National Assembly since 2000 or so, and we are talking about how many years now, we are we are talking about almost two decades. That should have given sufficient time, given the resources that were deployed into the NDDC. So we need to sanitise the NDDC and get the resources fully deployed in developing the area in the Niger Delta”, he explained.