As senate start their annual retreat today in Uyo, the stomp point is Insecurity and general state of near anomie. UCHENNA AWOM in this diary peeps into the mind of the lawmakers.
Let me state at this point that this Senate is very mindful of the increasing security challenges facing the nation. The workers of evil have continued in the ignominious waste of lives and property through acts of terrorism and violent crimes”. These words from President of the Senate, David Mark Wednesday underscored the indignation and anger in the land over the alarming rate of killings and bombings ravaging the country, particularly in the North.
The Senate showed anger and they voiced it out and ofcourse Mark exhibiting utter anguish and apprehension reassured Nigerians that it shall be well at the end.
“I wish to, on your behalf, commiserate with Nigerians, and our international friends who have lost loved ones in this violent campaign against the peace, unity, and sovereignty of our nation. As I mentioned sometime last year, I still believe that this is a struggle between light and darkness. Let me assure Nigerians that good conscience, dialogue, understanding, tolerance and pragmatic security approaches are what we require to triumph over the forces of darkness.
“We spent yesterday(Tuesday) reviewing our current security situations and we are going to continue the discussion at Uyo next week (This week, in fact it is ongoing now). We must do everything humanly possible to restore peace and order immediately.
“Importantly, I wish to reassure Nigerians that we are not resting on our oars. In addition to our previous efforts and in response to the current realities and challenges, the Senate is dedicating its forthcoming Retreat (the ongoing) to finding lasting solutions to this carnage and unwarranted attack on the nation. While in Uyo, we will brainstorm and interact with stakeholders and experts, to chart policy directions that will arrest this rapid descent to anarchy with consequences well beyond our imagination”.
So rising from about three-hour closed door session, the Senate sounded a note of warning, saying that the recent spate of attacks on churches is aimed at plunging the country into a religious war.
They also declared that they suspect foreign dimension in conjunction with Nigerian collaborators in the spate of attacks.
Briefing newsmen after plenary, Senate spokesman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe said the senate however, have endorsed the actions of President Goodluck Jonathan in the fight against terrorism in the country.
He informed that the lawmakers had very frank discussions behind close door, but said senators did not discuss a possible state of emergency “because such request has not been presented by the executive”.
“We reviewed the security situation in Nigeria. It was a frank discussion on the state of security. You are all aware of what happened during the weekend. There are efforts been made to plunge the country into religious war. We. Know that will not happen.
“There are foreign elements to this but we must put our house in order and all hands must be on deck. some people have been arrested who are foreign nationals. Insinuations and newspapers have also pointed that something wrong as a result of civil wars in North Africa. But we don’t believe foreigners can have access in Nigeria if they don’t have people inside who aide them.”
Abaribe nonetheless, said that the decision of the Senate adopt the ‘Theme’ of its retreat as; National Assembly and National Security in Nigeria is a reflection of their deep worry adding that if need be a constitutional amendment will be done to arrest the situation.
Reacting to the spate of scandals in the national assembly, Abaribe said the Senate does not feel it has to safeguard its integrity stressing that the integrity of the national assembly is intact.
“The image of the Senate cannot be affected by the activity of one individual. The institution of the National Assembly is intact and any member who infringes on laws of the land will answer that and not the institution.”
He however, disclosed that the Senate panel investigating the management of the subsidy will soon be present its report
Last week was indeed dark and very disdainful. It was a week Nigeria came very close to plunging into the road to precipice. The happenings and particularly the coordinated bombings in about four churches sent shock waves across the country and then the reprisal attacks tensed the world. So the fear and palpable trepidation that Nigeria is about to become history. Senate said it will never be and as a result they are congregating in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital to brainstorm with other stakeholders for a possible solution, yet the beat goes on.