May 23, 2024

Reps call for reopening of Banex Plaza

Reps call for reopening of Banex Plaza

By Gift ChapiOdekina, Abuja

The House of Representatives on Thursday called on the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army to reopen Banex Plaza in Abuja to allow resumption of business activities.

The House also called for the utilization of modern technology, like surveillance and closed-circuit television, to identify and apprehend those responsible for the recent attack on Army personnel in the plaza.

The resolutions followed the adoption of an urgent motion, sponsored by Hon. Whingan Oluwaseun.

Moving the motion, Oluwaseun noted the recent turmoil at Banex Plaza, Wuse, Abuja, on May 18, 2024, which saw hoodlums assaulting Nigerian Army personnel. It further recognized the prompt response of soldiers and police officers in rescuing the besieged personnel.

He noted that the soldiers targeted in the attack were unarmed and posed no threat, deeming the assault unjustifiable, adding that the temporary closure of Banex Plaza, a vital commercial centre with adverse impact on businesses and the economy, can have a negative impact.

“There is a growing concern about the excessive dependence on conventional, heavy-handed approaches in civil matters, leading to avoidable disruptions.”

He further expressed concerns regarding the deployment of military personnel in civilian affairs, diverting their focus from their core responsibility of national defense. 

The House also highlighted the Okuama crisis in Delta State, where 17 soldiers were reportedly killed during a peacekeeping mission, resulting in substantial military retaliation and extensive damage.

“This underscores the inefficacy of current rules of engagement and emphasises the necessity for a reassessment of military intervention in civil matters.”

“Mr. Speaker, esteemed colleagues, the recent events at Banex Plaza and Okuama in Delta State underscore the imperative for a comprehensive reassessment of our security strategy.”

“Proper engagement and the integration of modern technology could have prevented these tragedies. It’s imperative that the military concentrate on national defense, leaving civil matters to the police.”

“I urge this House to support this motion for the immediate reopening of Banex Plaza and the adoption of advanced, non-disruptive security methods,” Whingan said.

To this end, the House directed the Committees on National Security and Intelligence, Defence, and Police Affairs to investigate the closure of Banex Plaza and the military’s role in the incident.

The committees are also to recommend more efficient and less disruptive approaches for managing similar situations in the future.