• As Akeredolu’s order divides lawmakers
The menace of farmers-herdsmen clash, banditry and killings took the front burner in the Senate, on Wednesday. A motion sponsored by 106 senators decried the pervasive insecurity across the country.
Senator representing Ondo North and Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Borofice, who was the lead sponsor of the motion, “General Insecurity in Nigeria,” expressed concern that the security challenges have led to “issuance of and counter issuance of eviction notices by some ethnic entrepreneurs and groups posing as ethnic nationalists and champions.”
Majority of the senators asked the Federal Government to take firm steps to halt the activities of herders destroying lives and properties across the country.
In unison, they specifically asked President Muhammadu Buhari to proclaim Executive Orders to flush out criminals, masquerading as herders from our forest reserves.
In his contribution, Senator representing Kogi West, Smart Adeyemi, asked the Federal Government to be courageous enough to seek help from foreign nations.
Alleging international conspiracy against Nigeria, Senator Adeyemi who declared that a lot of Nigerians have been victims of the menace of herders advised President Buhari to place the challenge of Insecurity above the fight against the pandemic, Coronavirus.
His words: “With the rate at which the security situation is going in the country, it will not be out of place for Federal Government to look for foreign support if we can no longer maintain law and order. This is where international support to fight the security challenges comes in.”
Former Nasarawa State governor and Senator representing Nasarawa West, Adamu Abdullahi, however, accused the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, of infringing on the nation’s constitution by allegedly asking people from a certain section of the country to leave his state.
“I find it difficult to believe that in 21st century that a governor of a state who has taken an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, protect the rights of residents, will come openly to ask people who are not indigenes of the state to leave.
“We see in the social media houses of people being burnt who are not from the states where the burning is taking place. We have to commend the Governor of Edo State who came out to say he will protect anybody, any Nigerian who is in the State. I believe very strongly that we will make better sense if we set up a committee to find out the truth or otherwise allegations of killings by state governments,” Abdullahi said.
His submission was however countered by Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who argued that criminals in forest reserves, not Nigerians doing legitimate businesses were being asked to leave forest reserves in Ondo state.
He said: “Ordinarily I didn’t want to say anything until I heard certain things on this floor. I am an Ibo man and our people say when the traditional healer is making medicine for the herb you don’t find pepper nearby because any pepper that goes into the herbs it means that medicine would not work.
“I want to talk specifically on the matter whether people were being sent away. No Nigerian is being sent away from anywhere, criminals are being sent away from the forest reserves where they are. So when we now come here and say some people are sending people away, you send the wrong message.
“The message is simple, the Police IG has told us these are criminal elements coming from outside Nigeria and what we should ask ourselves is that if somebody is a criminal and he is in the forest what is he doing inside the forest. “We want to differ over matters of this nature to please whatever. What I want to say is simple: we either solve this problem and in order to solve the problem the desire is that all criminal elements that are coming into this country from wherever they are must be flushed out.”
Senator representing Ekiti Central, Opeyemi Bamidele, spoke in a similar vein as he submitted that the position of the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu was not an infringement on the national constitution.
He appealed to his colleagues to play down on primordial sentiment, show patriotism to save Nigeria which he noted was drifting.
“My call is that Patriot that lives in every one of us, this is the time for it to lead us. Section 43 of our Constitution which gives the right to every Nigerian allows you to live, but ownership of land is properly addressed by the Land Use Act. Even though I have a right to live in every part of the country, I don’t have a right to trespass on lands. It isn’t the right of anyone to trespass on land that belongs to another person.
“The Governors of Enugu, Oyo and other affected states must take charge of security in their States. Criminals must be called their proper names.”
Senator Biodun Olujimi asked for a national emergency to address the security challenge in the same manner the health scourge, COVID-19 was being given attention by the federal government.
She said: “We are living in denial on the state of insecurity in the country. And I think that it is necessary we declare a state of emergency on the country’s security like we did with the COVID-19 because insecurity has more casualty figures in Nigeria than COVID-19.
“We are part of the system, we must do something drastic, we must declare insecurity as a national emergency so that everybody can work on it as we are working on COVID. The deaths figures that are coming out of insecurity are higher than the figures that are coming out of COVID. So why are we just pretending this thing is not there.? Like I said before, posterity will not forgive us if we don’t do the right thing.”
Senator representing Ogun West, Tolulope Odebiyi (Ogun West), accused the Federal Government of indifference to the plight of Nigerians at the mercy of herders.
“President Buhari should sign Executive Order banning open grazing. The nation is in great danger and the President has done nothing.”
He said that it was a serious indictment on the leadership of the nation for foreigners to invade the country to cause havoc, adding, “President Buhari should sign Executive Order banning open grazing. The nation is in great danger and the President has done nothing.”
The Senate in its resolutions urged the Executive to among others, implement the national livestock transformation plan which it said is a modern scheme designed to eliminate trans-humane in order to prevent-herder conflicts and activate highly productive livestock sector in Nigeria.
It equally urged the Federal Government to immediately embark on an operation to checkmate proliferation of firearms and enforce the laws against illegal possession of firearms by arresting, disarming and punishing anyone in illegal possession of arms.
The Senate urged “the Federal Government to resuscitate and inaugurate the National Task Force (Commission) to combat the proliferation of Light Weapons, Small Arms and Ammunition.
*Urge the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR to direct the National Security Adviser and the Newly nominated Service Chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police to device a proposal to rejig the nation’s security architecture and disposition of forces for more effective countermeasures against the current security challenges, particularly in the rural areas;
*Urge the State Governors to re-invigorate rural governance and convene state-wide intercommunal conclaves and dialogues to promote local conflict resolution and inter-ethnic harmony;
*Urge the Security Agencies to actively deploy drones and helicopters to monitor forests and ungoverned areas in Nigeria, to identify illegal camps of armed bandits;
*Urge the Federal Government to adequately equip the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to police and monitor our borders using technology to check illegal immigrants, and checkmate smuggling of firearms and light weapon.”