By Queenesther Iroanusi
The Senate on Tuesday resolved to direct its constitutional review committee to put in place a machinery to amend the constitution to allow for the creation of state police.
It also resolved to call on security agencies to stop involving themselves in the politics of the nation.
These resolutions, were, however, preceded by heated arguments among the lawmakers as most of them contributed to a point of order raised by Jonah Jang (PDP, Plateau North).
Mr Jang had led the debate on the killings across the nation and in Plateau State as he called on the federal government to take proactive measures to prevent further re-occurrence.
He also appreciated the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the leadership of the Senate for their visit to the state as well as their support to displaced victims.
Among the many contributors was Isa Misau (APC, Bauchi Central) who blamed the happenings on the incompetence of security agencies as well as the executive arm of government.
Mr Misau expressed disappointment at President Muhammadu Buhari for his continuous refusal to sack “incompetent people” in authoritative positions.
He also said the president is paying more attention to corruption than to injustice.
“The solution is on the table of the president. Since he has admitted that there are incompetent people in power, he should remove them and if he won’t, he should tell us why they are still maintaining their seats,” he said.
He mocked the federal government for deploying troops to the Eagle Square during the APC convention and “ignored” ares that needed security the most.
“They said we are against the government, we will continue to talk until the right thing is done,” he added.
On his part, Kabiru Marafa (APC, Zamfara), expressed disappointment at Nigerians who judge the killings based on religion.
Senator Kabiru Marafa Photo: Daily Trust
He said religious leaders who are giving the killings a religious colouration, are hypocrites.
“Plateau State is predominantly a Christian state so if people are killed in Plateau, Christians will be killed. But we sit down and say ‘Christians are being eliminated’, ‘it is genocide’ and so on. This is hypocrisy! We ought to give this thing the name it deserves.
“There are killings in Zamfara and those arrested are not all foreigners or Fulanis. I make bold to say that the killings in Plateau State are happening in conjunction with indigenes of that state because it is a business. But every day, we either give it an ethnic or religious colouration without minding the fact that these things are being done and we are the losers.
“The Christian and Muslim clerics that are giving these killings a religious colouration are all hypocrites because we all know where they belong to. It is not limited to one religion but at the end of the day, the problem remains,” he said.
He further said what is happening in Nigeria today is a serious business and those behind it need to be fished out. He also suggested that the Senate call for a penalty for those found guilty.
Reacting to the deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu’s call for state police, Mr Marafa said, “Now that these things are stepping up, suddenly, we are bringing the issue of creating state police. I have never heard a chief executive of a state that gave the commissioner of police of that state or military head an instruction and he disobeyed.
Ike Ekweremadu, PDP, Deputy Senate President
“This only reinforces my belief that these things are been invented by some people so that they can have their constitutional amendment to have state police. Their intents do not serve the interest of our people.
“This is a grand agenda by you people (lawmakers) that want state police.”
His last statement was followed by noise and rowdiness as lawmakers protested and asked him to withdraw his statement.
It took a little while for Mr Saraki to calm the raging lawmakers and call Mr Marafa to order.
Mr Ekweremadu, thereafter, quickly raised a point of order as he tried to caution his colleague (Mr Marafa) and demand that he withdraw his statement.
“There are certain things we say here that we may not understand the implication. Senator Marafa is saying that those who are pushing for state police are the ones behind the killings so that they can have their way.
“Our rules say no one should input improper motive to any other senator. I am saying this because I don’t want to go out of this place and somebody will arrest me that I sponsored the killings. He has to withdraw that statement,” he said.
Mr Marafa then withdrew his comment and then called for the legalisation of gun control.
“My point is, people cannot be slaughtered in their houses helplessly. Maybe what we need to do is to liberalise gun control. Let everybody own a gun so that when you are coming to my house, you will know that I have my own gun while you are coming with yours.
“The only advantage these people killing others have is because they are carrying a gun. He also called for the imposition of a state of emergency where there are killings,” he said.
Again, the lawmakers began to argue loudly.
The senate president, thereafter, condemned the killings in totality – whether the killings were initial acts of aggression or reprisal attacks.
He also explained that these are acts of criminality that should not be encouraged by anyone.
He disclosed that the leadership of the national assembly has spoken on many platforms and made suggestions to the executive on the fact that there is a need for an urgent review of the security architecture of the nation.
“The debate in the British house of lords also raises this point: “How do we think this would affect our economy and investments if we continue to have this kind of security climate?” We must see this issue of insecurity not only from the point of view that there is danger and insecurity, but there is also a danger to our economy — especially if we want to grow our economy.
“We as the Senate must come up with our own actions. We do not need to flog the issue. We have told the Executive what to do. We have told them privately and we have told them publicly. However, on our own part, we must decide on what we need to do. Let us play our own part to address the issues that we have control over,” he said.
Other resolutions made by the Senate are to “condemn the terrorist attacks, mass killings and displacement of the people and occupation of their central homes and farmlands;
“Urge the executive to overhaul the security architecture of the country and to put in place a better security action plan and decisively tackle violent terror attacks threatening the continuous existence of communities in the North Central geopolitical zone and indeed Nigeria and;
“Urge the executive arm of the government to undertake the rehabilitation of displaced persons and reconstruction of communities in Plateau North, South and Central Senatorial Districts so they can return to their homes and farmlands.”
It also resolved to urge the executive arm of government to apprehend and persecute all perpetrators and sponsors of violence, no matter how highly placed they are.
Also included was to “Fast-track the passage of the Peace and Reconciliation Bill” as well as “mandate that the Peace and Reconciliation Bill, Police Reform Bill be passed within the next two weeks and (that) the constitution review committee, within the next two weeks, should bring forward the amendment for State and Community Policing.”