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Insecurity: Nigeria under siege, Senate raises the alarm

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Insecurity: Nigeria under siege, Senate raises the alarm

The Senate has raised the alarm that Nigeria is presently under siege from murderous non – state actors, whose activities are threatening the cooperate existence of the country.

To make the matter more scary records from the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), indicated that out of 500 million Illegal weapons circulating in West Africa, 350 million, which represents 70%, are domiciled in Nigeria for evil activities of criminally minded people .

Senator Uba Sani (APC Kaduna Central), Made the frightening submissions at the public hearing organised by the Senate Joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Navy and Marine Transport on Firearms Act 2004 ( Amendment) Bill 2021 and Exclusive Economic Zones Act 2010 ( Repeal and Re – Enactment) Bill 2021.

He said the country needs to urgently address the worrisome situation.

Sani the sponsor of the Firearms (Amendment) Bill lamented that proliferation of illegal arms and ammunition in the country with little or no control by relevant authorities has profound implications for collective survival of Nigerians and Nigeria.

He said, “We are gathered here to deal with a matter that has profound implications for our collective survival.

“We are under siege from murderous non – state actors. They have been acquiring arms illegally, maiming our people and threatening the continued existence of our dear Nation. 

“We either take measures to deny them of the oxygen that sustains their nefarious activities, or we watch helplessly as they overrun us and our country.”

The main aim of the proposed amendments to the Firearms Act, he explained, is to curtail the proliferation of illegal arms and bring the existing law in line with global best practices.

He lamented that “The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), recently reported that the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons (SALW) in Nigeria, has reached an alarming proportion.

“Analysts estimate that out of the 500 million weapons circulating in West Africa, 350 million, which represents 70% of such weapons, can be found in Nigeria.

“A pointer to this effect can be cited with the incidence of January 31st , 2017, when the Nigeria Customs Service confirmed the interception and seizure of 661 Pump Action Riffles imported from China into our country.

“More recently in Benue State, a local militia had the temerity to kill an Army Captain and 11 Soldiers not to talk of reign of terror in Owerri, Imo State by Gunmen who launched coordinated attacks on the Police headquarters and Correctional Centre .

“Something must be done urgently to curtail arms proliferation, the very reason for the proposed amendment bill on  the existing Firearms Act”, he said .

He listed the five major objectives of the amendment bill to include imposition of stiffer penalties for offences under the Act .

One of such penalties is the one under section 27 (sub section 1c), which proposed increase of fine from N1,000 to N1million .

Representative of Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Oladayo Amao, in his submission, objected to the N1million proposed fine on illegal possession of firearms arguing for its upward review to N2million.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the joint Commitee, Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti Central), said the purpose of the two bills were to further strengthen the Nigerian extant laws against illegal firearms possession and proliferation as well as making provisions of the Act on Exclusive Economic Zone to be in line with global practices as far as protection of the Nation’s territorial sea or waters are concerned.

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Legislature

Harvest of constituency projects in Ankpa II, as Hon Rabiu innaugurates three

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It was a harvest of projects for the constituents of Ankpa II State constuency as the member representing them in Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon Alfa Momoh Rabiu presented three projects for commissioning.
The lawmaker had added value to the educational development of his constituency through the construction of a Library, Laboratory and the renovation of the administrative block of a community secondary school.

The projects which were part of his contituency obligation benefited Government Day Secondary school Enabo with the construction of a Library complex and Laboratory, while community Grammar School, Ojoku benefited through the renovation of its adminstrative block.

The Honorable Commissioner for Solid Minerals and representative of the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Kogi State, Hon Bashir Gegu commissioned the newly constructed library and laboratory at Government Secondary School, Enabo.

Relatedly, the Rector, Kogi State Polytechnic, Dr Salisu Usman Ogbo commissioned the renovated administrative block on behalf of the Chairman Ankpa Local Government, Hon Ibrahim Abagwu at the Community Grammar School, Ojoku.

Hon Rabiu who was in high spirits promised to replicate the gesture in all the schools across Ankpa II constituency.
He advised the people to be optimistic about the government of the day, led by Governor Yahaya Bello adding that the dividend of democray will trickle down to every part of the State.

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Ban on open Grazing gains more ground as Southern Speakers promise legislative backing

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The recent resolution by the Southern State Governors Forum that banned open grazing in their respective domains is gaining more ground as Speakers of their States’ Assembly’s have thrown their weight behind them

The speakers at the weekend declared their support for the resolutions that banned open grazing, called for national dialogue and restructuring of the Federation amongst other demands.

The Speakers, in their own resolution that was signed by speaker Delta State House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwori, in Asaba, lauded the Southern Governors for the unity of purpose that brought them together to speak with one voice.
They reiterated the fact that the resolutions of the Southern Governors were key to resolving the problems facing the country.
They said: “We, the Speakers of State Legislatures in Southern Nigeria commend the Governors of the Southern States for their patriotism and firm belief in the unity of the country.
“We salute the Governors for their initiative and restate our support for the positions of the Governors. We wish to state unequivocally that the issues canvassed in the communique are neither new nor strange, rather they require swift response from the Federal Government.

“The country is currently undergoing very challenging times and requires bold and audacious measures to stop it from sliding into abyss.
“We maintain that the positions of the Governors as contained in the communique issued on the 11th of May, 2021 in Asaba are sacrosanct and a guarantee for justice, fairness and equity in the country.
“We adopt all the positions in the communique and reiterated the call for the ban on open grazing of cattle in the South.

“We support the call for the restructuring of the country to enthrone true federalism and therefore the convocation of a National Dialogue is inevitable.
“That this will afford stakeholders from all parts of the country to table their prejudices and together work out a sustainable relationship as one indivisible country.
“We pledge to deploy our legislative powers to strengthen the positions canvassed by the Governors.
“We also urge the Governors to send bills to the Legislature where necessary to address some of the issues in the communique.

“Finally, we thank His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Governor of Delta State for providing the platform for the meeting of the Governors”.
At the meeting were Sheriff F.O Oborevwori Deputy National Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria and Mr Aniekan Bassey, Vice Chairman South- South, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria.
Other were: Francis O.Nwifuru, Vice chairman South East, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria and Prince Olakunle Taiwo Oluomo, Vice Chairman South West, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria.

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Legislature

Communal Clashes: Senators Sue for Peace in Benue, Ebonyi

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Worried by the lingering communal Clashes among people of some communities in their States , Senators Abba Moro ( PDP Benue South) and Sam Egwu ( PDP Ebonyi North) , have sued for peace.

The two senators at a joint press conference on Wednesday in Abuja , said the warring communities across the two states should cease fire by allowing the National Boundary Commission to wage in as far as appropriate demarcation of territories are concerned .

The jointly signed press statenent by the Senators reads : ” As the Senators representing Ebonyi North Senatorial District and Benue South Senatorial District, we are here to brief you on recent security concerns that have substantially threatened the peace and development of the people of Ohaukwu and Ado LGAs in our Senatorial Districts.

“On Monday the 12th day of April, 2021, alleged herdsmen invaded Umuogudu Akpu Community, Ngbo, in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State and gruesomely killed over 12 innocent indigenes, burnt/destroyed over 56 houses and kidnapped 5 persons.

” While we were mourning our people and trying to identify the extent of damage, we were surprisingly greeted with a statement by the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, without any form of investigation, that the attack was carried out by Agila people, and not Fulani herdsmen.

” This claim, which has the potential of heightening the tension between the two communities has long been refuted and denied by the Chairman of Ado LGA and the Government of Benue State. The people of Ado LGA who have been victims of herdsmen attacks in recent times couldn’t have hired the same people to carry out an attack on their behalf.

“There have been sustained efforts on our part to finally settle the land dispute and restore lasting peace between Ngbo people in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State and the Agila people in Ado LGA of Benue State, which have lingered over the years. Motions have been raised on the floor of the Senate, resolutions passed by the Senate and efforts sustained at the State and Federal levels to ensure that lasting peace is restored between the two communities.

“We urge security operatives to move into the affected communities and secure lives and property of the people. We know that both communities have embraced the proposed rebeaconing and delimitation exercise by the National Boundary Commission.

” We therefore urge that the exercise should be carried out with dispatch to finally put to an end all the boundary-related crises in our Senatorial Districts”.

The two federal lawmakers also proffered similar solutions for the Ezza/ Effium crisis .

They said : ” On the Ezza/Effium crisis, which started in Effium community in Ebonyi state and spilled into Ado LGA in Benue State because of the presence of Ezzas/Effiumites in Ado LGA, it is regrettable that the crisis is yet to be contained, leading to the relocation of some Efium and Ezza people to neighboring communities both in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State and Ado LGA of Benue State, thereby creating apprehension in those neighboring communities.

“The alleged abduction of Five Elders from Odum Community of Ulayi District, Ado LGA before Easter Sunday has heightened the tension between the affected communities. However, the timely intervention of the government to contain the situation has prevented any form of retaliation or reprisal attack. It was resolved that the Traditional Council of Ado Local Government should reach out to the elders and traditional leaders of Ohaukwu LGA to broker more peaceful negotiations and resolution of the matter.

“We therefore call on the Governments of Benue and Ebonyi States to put in greater efforts and in collaboration with relevant Federal Government Agencies to take immediate practical steps to ensure immediate of all adopted persons and restoration of lasting peace between the affected communities.

“We urge our people in the affected communities to please apply restraint, avoid all forms of violence, maintain peaceful coexistence and rest assured that we will do everything within our power and influence to ensure the restoration of lasting peace in the affected communities” .

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