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Senators across party lines insist Buhari must sack service chiefs 

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Senators across party lines insist Buhari must sack service chiefs

The Senate Tuesday was charged as senators forgot their political differences spoke with one voice as they urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack the service chiefs and replace them with younger ones with new ideas and solutions.

It would be recalled that in July this year the Red Chamber had also asked the President to relieve the service chiefs of their positions.
Tuesday’s call for the president to sack them came after adopting a motion by Senator Kashim Shettima (APC, Borno) on the killings of 67 farmers in the state.

The Senate also called on the president to take immediate steps to restructure and remodel the country’s security architecture and provide enough state-of-the-art weapons and equipment to effectively combat the insurgents.

The Red Chamber urged the president to probe widespread allegations of corruption and leakages within the security structure and put mechanism in place to foster transparency and ensure all resources deployed for security are spent on the needs on ground.

It asked the federal  government to explore multi lateral partnerships with Nigeria’s neighbours to find a lasting solution to the insurgency, and call for the recruitment of 10,000 civilian JTF as well as massive recruitment in the military and the police.

In his lead debate, Senator Shettima said the Nigerian army, in conjunction with other security agencies, up till today have not been able to quell the insurgency affecting the north east region in spite the slogan by government officials that the insurgents have been technically defeated.

Many of the lawmakers, who contributed to the debate, said the service chiefs had outlived their usefulness and should go.

They noted that the Buhari presidency had breached section 14(1b) of the constitution which says the primary purpose of government is to provide security for the people.

Senator Ahmad Baba Kaita (APC, Katsina) said the leadership of National Assembly sit with the military and reassess their performance.

He said the statement credited to Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, that the slain farmers had no clearance to go to farm was irresponsible at a time many Nigerians were mourning the killings in Borno.

He said killing and kidnapping had continued unabated every day, and that if the government allows situation to continue, the country should be ready for another mourning. 

He prayed the National Assembly not to increase the budget of the military until it justifies the released funds.

Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) backed the submission of Baba Kaita, saying the his findings in Borno showed that soldiers at war in north east were sharing ammunitions, and that some of them were without helmet and bulletproof.

He said aside the lack of deployment of modern military equipment, there was no coordination among the security forces.

Ndume said the Senate must take a step forward on its resolutions, asking the Senate President to give President Buhari a timeline to implement the resolutions.

Senator Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi) said even though the federal government’s delegation was in Borno on Monday, the ideal thing for President Buhari to do was to visit Borno personally to condole with the families of the victims.

He said it is high time for the government to adequately care for the IDPs, noting that the humanitarian crisis in north east was deplorable.

He said Nigerian government should collaborate more with its neighbors for the country to overcome the insurgency.

Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti) said the president should allow the current service chiefs to go, noting that killings and kidnappings had become a daily routine.

He said if the president would not sack them, they, in the overriding public interest, should resign.

Senator Thomson Sekibo (PDP, Rivers) said the future is bleak, because of wanton killings of innocent Nigerians on daily basis.

“We are failing our people. We swore to protect them but we are not,” he said.

He said the civilian JTF should be absorbed into the military, given proper training, because they are familiar with the environment.

Danjuma La’ah (PDP, Kaduna) said the security situation in the country was beyond redemption, while Sam Egwu (PDP, Ebonyi) said the military is over stretched, adding that the civilian JTF should be trained and deployed to their areas.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan assured that the Red Chamber would take additional steps to ensure that its resolutions were implemented.

These are not frivolous or imaginary resolutions, they are based on the reality on the country. Implementing the resolutions would gladden the minds of Nigerians, Lawan said.

Enough of excuses, people who have little or nothing to add to the system should be shown the exit, Lawan said.

The security of Nigerians should be the priority and no investment in security is too much, because it contributes to the economy. Time has come to find a lasting solution to the insecurity, he added. 

He expressed hope that the Executive would respect and implement the resolutions.

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Legislature

Kogi Rainstorm: Senate wants NEMA to supply relief materials to affected areas

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Kogi Rainstorm: Senate wants NEMA to supply relief materials to affected areas

The Senate on Tuesday mandated its Committee on Special Duties to liaise with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to urgently supply relief and rehabilitation materials to Olamaboro communities of Kogi affected by rainstorm.
This, the upper chamber said was with a view to mitigating the sufferings of the victims.
The resolution was sequel to a Point of Order raised by Sen. Isah Jibrin (APC-Kogi) during plenary
The motion was titled “Urgent need for rehabilitation of communities affected by rainstorm in Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi”.
The upper chamber also mandated the Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Investment Programme (SIP), to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to provide minimal seed capitals for the victims in the affected communities.
This, the Senate said was to help in facilitating their various economic activities. 

Senator Jibrin while moving the motion expressed worry that with the commencement of the rains, over 200 residential buildings had been destroyed across many communities in the LGA in a rainstorm, following a heavy downpour on April 9.
“Apart from destruction of residential buildings, the devastating rainstorm also ravaged crops, farmlands, schools, worship houses, clinics and businesses in several communities in the LGA.He expressed the concern that many victims of the disaster sustained varying degrees of injury and are receiving medical attention at various health centres within the LGA and neighbouring LGAs.Hence he said, the disaster has created a serious humanitarian crisis as families are rendered homeless and their means of livelihood and properties woxth millions of naira destroyed by the rainstorm, thereby creating a situation of internal displacement.
He listed the major affected communities to inlude Ogugu Central, Ogane~0forachi, Emodida, Iyono, Emagaba No.1, Emenega, Emonoja-Aludu, Eegahimotu and Adupi Emoriko in Ogugu Dtstrict. In addition to many others within Okpo and Imane communities.

Contributing, Sen. Yakubu Oseni called on the Federal Government to provide succor to the  affected communities by coming to their aid

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Nigeria can no longer Pretend, there are firearms in wrong Hands – Senator Bamidele

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Nigeria can no longer Pretend, there are firearms in wrong Hands – Senator Bamidele

By Joseph Sunday

The chairman Joint committee on Justice and Human Rights said the committee is trying to amend the act in a way that Nigeria can have a one stop shop in the maritime sector.

Senator Opeyemi stated this during the presentation of the Exclusive Economic zone Act amendment Bill and the Fire Arms amendment Bill by stakeholders.

The chairman told journalists that Nigeria cannot pretend, it has arms and ammunition in wrong hands.
“Stiffer punishment should be served as sanction to anyone in possession of fire arms without license.”

He said section 33(4) can take care of any lacuna in the act that has to do with management and ownership of our mineral resources. He posited that an amendment Bill can alter the constitution to provide for any additional property or minerals not covered by the constitution.

In another development, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele called on state Governors and other stakeholders to do the needful in the interest of the public by granting independence to the judiciary in their states. He said “no body stands to lose anything “
The national assembly has granted the judiciary independence at the Federal level through the passage of necessary laws.

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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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