Senate invites Buhari to joint session over lingering insecurity
• Frowns on IGP’s absence
• Wants NNPC sanctioned for paying itself N216b
The Senate yesterday resolved to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to a joint session of the two chambers of the National Assembly after due consultations with the House of Representatives to brief it on why the state of insecurity in the country has lingered despite several interventions.
It also invited the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris to appear before it next Wednesday. It took exceptions to his absence yesterday in plenary against earlier invitation to brief the red chamber on the controversial arrest and ensuing national imbroglio involving Senator Dino Melaye.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki noted that IGP’s decision to send a representative was not good enough.
Deputy Senate leader, Bala Na’Allah, informed his colleagues that the IGP accompanied President Buhari on a state visit to Bauchi, hence his failure to show up.
Besides, some lawmakers canvassed for the declaration of a state of emergency in all the troubled states across the country.
These resolutions followed an adopted motion titled, “Continued Killings in Benue State” sponsored by Senator George Akume, representing Benue north west senatorial district.
Akume noted that the tragedy started in 2011 and have continued unabated. He said the killings, maiming and wanton destruction of lives and property in the state was particularly happening in his senatorial district covering local council areas of Logo, Kwande, Agatu and Okpokwu and that the number of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), is increasing .
Akume pointed out that despite the military presence through its exercise code-named Ayem A’Kpatuma, otherwise called cat race to curb these killings and destruction in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Kogi states, the extra-judicial killings, hitherto, has remained unabated even happening almost on daily basis.
He also affirmed that the worsening insecurity situation culminated in the Tuesday, April 24 killing of two clergymen, Reverend fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha including Catechist John Ibor and 17 others at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Ayar town of the Gwer east council area of the state.
But presiding Senate President, Bukola Saraki before hitting the gavel in approval of the resolutions said, “We all know the dimension insecurity has taken. It could lead to a serious crisis in this country. And it means that we need a drastic action. We can’t continue to say we are leaders, this is a failure and, there is no doubt about It.”
Meanwhile, the Senate has indicted the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for paying itself some N216. 9 billion as operational cost in 2017.
It called for serious sanction against the corporation for allegedly violating the constitution and financial regulation in the handling of subsidy proceeds.
This was sequel to the conclusion of investigation into alleged fraud in the operation of fuel subsidy regime ended on Thursday.
It also mandated the corporation to stop the illegal payments, even as it asked the corporation to make a formal request to the National Assembly for appropriation for any expenditure it wanted to make.
Senate resolution on the matter came after the submission of a report to that effect by its committee on Public Accounts, which was adopted by the Senate at Thursday plenary.
Presenting his report, Chairman of the committee, Matthew Urhoghide, revealed that the Federal Government spent N3.8 trillion on subsidy between 2010 and 2016.
The upper legislative chamber also asked its Committee on Appropriation as well as Public Accounts to liaise with the Executive to submit the appropriation for subsidy to be included in the 2018 budget estimates.
Furthermore, it mandated the Auditor General of the Federation to carry out an audit of NNPC’s account over the last five years.
Other recommendations of the panel adopted included the need for the Federal Government to pay oil marketers the outstanding subsidy arrears owed them prior to 2017 as well as giving local refineries maximum attention to enable them function in optimal capacity.
In another development, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has commended the decision of the National Assembly to investigate President Muhammadu Buhari for alleged constitutional violations as well as his summon to appear before a joint sitting over the daily bloodletting in the country.
In a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said that the decision is completely in consonance with the mood of the nation and the expectations of Nigerians.
According to the party, “the vote of no confidence passed on the service chiefs by federal lawmakers is a direct indictment of President Buhari, as a failed commander in chief of our armed forces, who must be held responsible for the security failures of our nation in the last three years.”
The party noted that “Nigerians are very eager to listen to President Buhari and watch him respond to them through their National Assembly members. We therefore habour no reservations in urging the federal lawmakers, as representatives of the people, not to succumb to any form of executive intimidation, blackmail and pressure to surrender their constitutional powers and duties.”
Since the matter of failed security is of paramount importance to all, we firmly demand that President Buhari take questions and address our nation in an open session of the National Assembly.