…to constitute C’mte for NSA’s consultations with Govs, traditional rulers, religious leaders, security agencies, others
… caution political leaders, others against making inflammatory statements
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
House of Representatives on Monday directed the Nigerian Police Force to immediately investigate the violence that engulfed Shasha community in Igbarakpa Central/North Federal Constituency, Oyo State last weekend.
The House also resolved to constitute a working group to participate in the consultations to be held by the Committee led by the National Security Adviser, NSA, Mohammed Babagana Monguno on peace and unity talks.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari last week constituted the Committee to engage Governors, traditional rulers, religious leaders, security agencies, indigenous and settled groups across the states of the Federation to enact resolutions aimed at building an honourable peace in the land.
The developments were contained in the remarks made by the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila shortly before the commencement of Tuesday plenary.
The House also asked political leaders and community influencers to be circumspect in the use of languages to avoid stoking ethnic and religious crises.
He said: “Last week, I spoke about the rising spate of insecurity and conflict across the country. Shortly after, and throughout the weekend, the warnings about the dangers we face manifested in Ibadan, the Oyo State of Nigeria where an explosion of violence led to citizens’ death and the loss of hard-earned property.
“On behalf of the House, I commiserate with the families of those who lost their lives in this most unfortunate incident. And I commiserate too with the government and good people of Oyo State. I assure all Nigerians that the House of Representatives will work, within the powers available to us, to prevent reoccurrence of similar incidents, not just in Oyo State, but across our country – North, West, East and South.
*Honourable colleagues, the House of Representatives has neither command nor control of the country’s security apparatus. We cannot act to deploy men and equipment to gather intelligence, enforce laws fairly, and take all other actions necessary to prevent the breakdown of law and order and the wanton violence that follows in its wake.
“However, the House is a microcosm of our beloved country, and here in this chamber, we represent every tribe and region, creed, and religion. And we owe a duty to the people we serve, to do the things we believe sincerely in our hearts can improve the circumstances of their lives.
“Today, we serve that duty by calling on the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to conduct a speedy and thorough investigation into the recent violence in Oyo State, to allow for prosecution and punishment of those who instigated and participated in the killings and destruction of property. The Committees on Police Affairs and Justice is mandated to communicate the House’s position to the Inspector General of Police.
“His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR has announced a Committee led by the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Babagana Monguno to hold peace and unity consultations across the country. The Committee will engage Governors, traditional rulers, religious leaders, security agencies, indigenous and settled groups across the states of the Federation to enact resolutions aimed at building an honourable peace in our land.
“The House of Representatives aligns with this initiative, and we will constitute a working group to participate in these consultations. We will work together to examine the cultural, religious, and localised conflicts over land and history that are often at the root of internal security challenges and violent upheavals such as occurred in Oyo state last week and other parts of the country over the years.
“I urge all of those who have large followership of people who listen to them and respect their voices, to be more circumspect about the information they share, the language they use, and the conversations they enable. The words we use about each other can have outsize consequences on our nation’s peace and stability because words have the power to build and also to destroy.
“And to political leaders, let me reiterate that we have a greater responsibility to keep the peace in our country. And to do that, we must first commit ourselves to the cause of equal justice and fair treatment for all. Only then, can we wage peace with resolve, secure in the knowledge that with peace, a more prosperous union is within reach”.