The rising insecurity in Nigeria is giving citizens genuine cause for concern especially as the ruling political elite pay lip service to what is a dangerous trend that is already generating social upheaval.
It is on this ground that there are calls on the members of the National Assembly to take their constitutional responsibility much more seriously and show leadership in matters the affect ordinary Nigerians.
Much as we appreciate the cosmetic approach of summoning security chiefs to their chambers for briefing each time there are cases of killings and kidnapping, it is also important for the lawmakers to go beyond the rhetoric and take legislative measures to check what is becoming a national emergency and embarrassment.
The recent spate of kidnappings, killings, and violence across the country has left many Nigerians feeling unsafe and vulnerable. It is unacceptable, in our opinion, that citizens cannot go about their daily lives without fear of being attacked or abducted. The situation is dire, and the people are looking up to their representatives to provide solutions that will be meaningful on a sustained basis.
There is no gainsaying it at this point that more than ever before, the very fabric of the Nigerian society is being tested, the nation’s collective resilience strained, and its unity challenged.
It is also disturbing that the political class, in particular the lawmakers, seem to have walked themselves out of the psyche of Nigerians.
Gone are the days when Nigerians will celebrate and mention the names of many lawmakers from different parts of the country in the National Assembly. Go to the street today and ask people if they know their representatives, and one will be shocked that most Nigerians don’t know their Assembly members beyond their campaign posters and billboards.
The whole essence of government is about the welfare and wellbeing of the people. Section 14(2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 states that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.
In other words, the failure of the government in this primary purpose will give birth to failure of the government in every other purpose, because without the accomplishment of the primary purpose, nothing else matters.
We are compelled by the situation on ground to warn that it is not enough for lawmakers to get emotional on the floor of the Senate or House of Representatives and weep over the security challenges facing the country.
While it may be understandable to feel emotional about the state of affairs, shedding crocodile tears is not part of the solution. It is time to show courage and leadership, to give the people hope for today and a better tomorrow.
Lawmakers serve as protectors by establishing and enforcing laws that maintain order, prevent violence, and safeguard citizens from harm. This includes maintaining law enforcement agencies, courts, and a legal framework to ensure safety and justice. In short, in an ideal society, lawmakers contribute to the creation of public good that benefit everyone.
As representatives of the Nigerian people, lawmakers cannot continue to treat with levity the plight of the same people who elected them to office to protect their interests. They must rise to the occasion by using every available legislative instrument at their disposal to see that Nigerians, wherever they are, live their normal lives in peace and relative ease, and go about their daily legitimate businesses and activities without fear of criminal elements.
We are persuaded to urge the National Assembly, as the second arm of government, to take a more proactive approach to address the security challenges facing the country. The lawmakers need to come together to provide solutions that will protect the lives and property of Nigerians. This can be done by passing laws that will enhance the capacity of security agencies to combat crime and improve intelligence gathering.
Furthermore, the National Assembly needs to work with the executive arm of government to ensure that the security agencies are adequately equipped and motivated to perform their duties. The government must also address the root causes of insecurity, such as poverty, unemployment, and social inequality.
The rising insecurity in Nigeria is a threat to the people’s collective wellbeing. Or, perhaps, the lawmakers may not fully understand this because they have made other arrangements for their personal security by buying for themselves bulletproof-proof vehicles further reinforced by fearsome security operatives all at state expense.
As a newspaper, we feel it is the duty of the lawmakers to hold the executive accountable on behalf the people. They should demand more from public officers who are being paid with taxpayers’ money. Any public officer who cannot do the job he has been assigned or elected to do, should be sacked or impeached, or toe the path of honour and resign.
It is time to show courage and leadership by giving the people hope for today and a better tomorrow. The National Assembly must act now to restore the confidence of Nigerians in the security system or forever be blamed for the imminent crisis.