Lawan decries failure in nation’s security architecture
• Urges overhaul for better results
• Why Kalu’s seat can’t be declared vacant now, by Senate
Senate President Ahmad Lawan yesterday expressed concern over the near collapse of the country’s security architecture, which he admitted had not been working effectively. He, therefore, called for the overhauling of the security system for better results. Lawan, who spoke yesterday during an interactive session in Abuja, said the Senate would take a definite position on how security in the country should be.
According to him, the present system does not appear to give Nigerians the type of outcome that they needed.“Whether it is the federal, state or local council, even the traditional rulers or others, the most important thing is to secure the lives and property of Nigerians and we would do that.
“Apparently, the system has not been working effectively and efficiently and we have to do something and this time around, there should not be buck-passing. We have to be forthright; we have to say it as it is and we have to do it as it is required,” he said.He said the most important thing is for them as leaders to look into the issue of security that is bedevilling the country, adding:
“Apparently and obviously, hands must be on deck to ensure that we bring back the security and tranquility that we had before. “Obviously, the story is not good in many areas, you have so much happening that is destabilising even our communities, killing of people.”He reiterated the fact that the National Assembly owes Nigerians the responsibility to work together with the Executive the other arms of government, the states and even the local councils, to change the way security issues are handled.
On the recent hike in the Value Added Tax (VAT), he said that the 2.5 percent increment does not include items that ordinary Nigerians normally use, saying: “Many of the items that would now have additional 2.5 per cent are luxury items that ordinary Nigerians do not use. At this point, we need resources to provide basic social amenities that an average Nigerian needs.
Also, he said the constitution review committee would be constituted either this week or next because the time is ripe for the committee to be reconstituted to start to work immediately.
Meanwhile, the Senate has ruled out the possibility of declaring vacant the seat of former Abia State governor, Orji Kalu, who was recently convicted and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment over a N7.1 billion fraud-charge last year.Senate spokesman, Godiya Akwashiki, insisted yesterday that such suggestion was not an option before the Senate at the moment.He said such a request would only be considered after Kalu must have explored all the legal options available to him without success.
Akwashiki argued that the constitution of Nigeria does not mandate the Senate President to unilaterally declare the seat of any senator facing prosecution or convicted by a lower court vacant.He said: “The Senate has no reason to declare his seat vacant. This is not the first time that such a thing would happen.
“There is no provision in the constitution that says the seat of any senator facing prosecution or convicted at a lower court should be declared vacant.“He still has the opportunity to appeal the case.
“Even the tenure of former Governor Joshua Dariye, who had been in prison for some time now, ran its course until the end of the Eighth National Assembly. Nobody declared his seat vacant.“The Senate President cannot declare the seat of Kalu vacant. It is against the law.“Tell those who are canvassing such things that there is nothing like that, it is a non-issue.”
Meanwhile, a member of Board of Trustees (BoT) of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State, Chief (Dr.) David Onuoha Bourdex, has said that it will be presumptuous and prejudicial to declare the Abia North Senatorial seat occupied by Kalu vacant.Bourdex, who was also the APGA candidate for Abia North Senatorial seat in the 2019 general elections, enjoined politicians to avoid making moves that tend to undermine the electoral preferences of the electorate.
He noted that although the present occupant of the Senate seat is facing some challenges, the wishes of the electorate that voted for him should be respected.On the calls by some interest groups in the National Assembly to declare the Abia North Senatorial seat vacant, Bourdex contended that since Kalu has appealed against his conviction, “it is preposterous and presumptuous to make such a demand.”
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