The national assembly has expressed worry about heightened insecurity in the country occasioned by bloodletting, kidnapping, banditry, insurgency, armed robbery and herdsmen attacks.
The stand of the lawmakers is different from what the government officials tell Nigerians about the issue.
Setting the tone in an interaction with journalists in Abuja yesterday was the chairman, house committee on media and public affairs, Mr Benjamin Kalu, who said insecurity in the country was alarming and should no more be discussed in hushed tones.
“The insecurity in the land is too much; it is alarming, we can no longer paint it with beautiful colours; we can no longer discuss it in low tunes. The cries of the people that have lost their lives are giving us sleepless nights and something needs to be done about it. And this 9th Assembly is going to look at various legislative interventions with regards to insecurity in the land, to ensure that Nigerians are safe – better than they have always been – because that is the core mandate of every government – to protect lives and property.”
However, he noted the renewed efforts of the police in ensuring national security ans pledged legislative support for them.
“There were aspersions on the police, on whether they can do it or not. The recent reports that we are getting show that the police are capable of handling our internal security. There are some success stories coming from what they are doing at the moment. We are going to use legislative intervention to support them the more, and all the other role players within the armed forces to make sure that the people are motivated the more to protect Nigerians.”
Also yesterday, lawmakers from Plateau State expressed worry about sustained attacks on communities in the state by murderous herdsmen.
At a press conference held in Abuja, a lawmaker representing Bokkos/Mangu Federal Constituency, Mr Solomon Maren, condemned the attacks in Mangu-Bokkos communities which he said had destroyed lives and properties.
He condemned the government’s lacklustre handling of the killer herdsmen and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to show leadership.
“Government seems not only complacent but to be condoning these hoodlums and probably protecting them by dealing with the issues with kid gloves.
“Even when killer herdsmen were designated and referred to as the most dangerous terrorist gang in the world, our government didn’t classify them as such. One can easily conclude that genocide has been declared on my people and indeed Plateau State.
“Consequently, we request as follows: We call on Mr President to show sincerity and commitment, match words with actions, to secure all Nigerians wherever they are. As commander-in-chief, he should provide security agencies with modern equipment, resources, and the political will to make them succeed.
“We call on the international community to save our people from being extinct, going by the numbers killed every day, which is alarming and a cause for concern.”
On Monday, the senate president, Mr. Ahmad Lawan had expressed about the country’s security challenge.
Even though he said “it is not the time for buck passing,” Lawan admitted that Nigeria’s security architecture was not working perfectly and efficiently.
He said such development was responsible for the agitation for change of security heads which, according to him “has fallen on deaf ears.”
“There is urgent need for a paradigm shift and reform of the architecture and structure of our security systems. Equally important is the citizen participation, and collaboration in providing security.
“The most important thing here is to look into the issue of insecurity that is bedevilling this country.
“Apparently and obviously, hands must be on deck to ensure that we bring back that security and tranquility that we had before.
“Obviously, the story is not good in many areas. We have so much happening that is destabilising even our communities, killing of people and we believe that we owe Nigerians the responsibility to work together with the executive arm of Government.
“Actually, to work together with the other arms of government, the states and even the local governments to change the way security is handled.
“Clearly, the system has not been working effectively and efficiently, and we have to do something and this time around, there should not be buck passing,” he said.
He said the national assembly would revisit the issue of community policing adding that the security situation in the country requires “serious attention.”
“The Senate is going to pursue the implementation of community policing vigorously. For a long time, major stakeholders in the security of our nation and police authorities appear to achieve consensus on the necessity of introduction of community policing in the country.
“To this end, the police authorities will be invited to brief and update the Senate on the progress made so far. The security situation in our country requires serious attention and due consideration by the Senate and indeed the National Assembly.
“Recently, the security in the country has deteriorated and the attendant loss of lives is not acceptable. We need to secure the lives and property of our citizens, as enshrined in our constitution.
“We all are witnesses to how our economy is also affected by the inclement security situation. Therefore, we need to speedily seek for solutions to fix the security problem bedevilling our dear country.
The senate president added that in as much as the government is sincere to tackle insecurity “we have to say it as it is and we have to do it as it is required.”