Troubled Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, does not appear to be happy with the way the obviously undisturbed President Muhammadu Buhari is handling the worsening security situation in Nigeria.
Lawan wants Buhari to wake up from his perceived long slumber and take charge of the situation. According to him, President Buhari ‘’must act now’’ on the worrisome security situation in the country.
Lawan’s wake-up call is coming as Kano and Zamfara state governments have already shut down their schools due to the menace of the seeming out of control bandits.
Kano State Health Commissioner, Muhammad Kiru, in a statement said all schools in the state have been shut with immediate effect, adding, “parents whose children are in boarding schools are to also arrange and convey their children/wards back home from Wednesday. All inconveniences are regretted.”
Zamfara’s Education Commissioner, Ibrahim Abdullahi, has also announced the immediate closure of 10 secondary schools believed to be vulnerable to bandits’ attacks.
According to him, “we have received the approval of Governor Bello Matawalle to close all the schools located along our borders with our neighbouring states of Katsina and Kaduna. This is following the recent abduction of over 300 secondary school students at the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.
“Kankara shares borders with Zamfara and that attack is also a threat to our students which was why we suggested to the governor of the pressing need to close down these schools for the safety of our students. All the seven boarding schools and one day school along the state’s borders with Katsina as well as two-day schools along the borders with Kaduna are affected by the closure.’’
He is urging parents to continue to pray for peace in the state noting, “we are confident that with continuous prayers, Allah will see us to the end of this problem.”
The affected schools are Girls Secondary School (GSS), Zurmi; GSS Birnin-Magaji; GSS, Shinkafi; GSS Tsafe and GSSS Bukkuyum, GGCSS Moriki and GDSS Gurbin-Bore, all sharing borders with Katsina State, while the remaining two, GDSS Nasarawan Mailayi and GDSS Gusami are along the Zamfara/Kaduna borders.
The Senate president however, said the National Assembly would continue to engage the Executive arm of government until appropriate action is taken to address the growing insecurity in parts of the country.
Lawan stated this in his concluding remark on a motion considered during plenary on Tuesday into the recent kidnapping of students at the Government Science School, Kankara, Katsina State.
“There’s nothing more important for government to do than securing the lives of citizens of this country, and at all times. As a parliament, we should never get tired of talking about issues that affect our people. We have our own limitations because of the structure of how governance must be carried out, but we must never get tired of reporting what is happening to our people.
“I believe that we should think outside the box. What are those new things that we need to say to bring everybody to the table for the kind of action we believe in the Senate and, indeed the National Assembly that should be taken.
“We are part of government, but we have a specialized function, and all these things that we appear to be worried about that nothing has been done is because of the function that we have been appropriated to by the Constitution. But it doesn’t mean we are wasting our time.
“We should continue to engage with the Executive arm of government until the appropriate actions are taken, because that is what we are expected to do as a Parliament,” the Senate President said.
Coming under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules earlier, Senator Bello Mandiya (APC – Katsina South) noted with sadness the recent terrorist attack and abduction of students at Government Science School, Kankara, Katsina State by gunmen on Friday, December 11, as widely reported in both local and international media.
“Further notes that according to reports by media organisation including Aljazeera, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Premium Times and the Daily Trust newspapers of December13, more than 300 school boys are still missing following the attack;
“Recalls that media reports about the dastardly incident indicate that the attackers stormed the school premises and engaged government security agents in a fierce gun battle, forcing hundreds of students to flee and hide in the surrounding forest while others were reportedly abducted by gunmen;
“Further recalls that the Katsina Governor, Aminu Masari was reported to have confirmed that before the incident, the school which operates as a boarding school had a total student population of 884 students but after the attack, the whereabouts of 333 students is yet to be ascertained;
“Aware that section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended stipulates that the welfare and security of citizens shall be the primary responsibility of government; those government at all levels owe the people the duty to provide adequate security;
“Aware that the recent attack and abduction of school children at Government Science School, Kankara, Katsina is coming on the heels of yet to be resolved abduction of 270 girls which took place at Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State in 2014, and abduction of about 100 school girls at Government Science and Technical School, Dapchi, Yobe State in 2018;
“Concerned that like the other incidents of school children abduction that took place in Chibok and Dapchi, several years back, if no immediate action is taken to rescue the Kankara School boys, their fate may be sealed in the hands of terrorists.”
Contributing to the debate, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa (APC – Niger East) said, “everyday, people are dying and nothing is happening, and we continue to talk, we continue to go and console them. We can’t bring those lives back.”
“We can’t continue to be leaders, when the people we are leading are being killed everyday. What are the police doing?
“Yesterday, armed bandits were roaming the streets of tekina going to buy bread and geisha (canned fish), and nobody is saying anything to them. And then we will continue to live here and think we are at peace with ourselves?
“Mr. President, there’s need for this chamber to draw the attention of Mr. President that enough is enough, these Service Chiefs Should go. We should give impetus to new blood.
“There are people that have new ideas. Technology is taking over everything today. We don’t have the army, we don’t have the police, why don’t we deploy the technology?
“Just recently, someone said we should bring mercenaries to Nigeria, why should we bring mercenaries to Nigeria when we have vibrant youths that are ready to stand for this country.
“I’m not emotional. I’m being honest and talking from the heart. Enough of this thing.
“Mr. President, I wish the National Assembly will take a drastic action on this. We have the powers to appropriate; we have been appropriating. Where are these funds going to? Are these Service Chiefs the only people that can defend the territorial integrity of this country?”, Senator Sani queried.
Another lawmaker, Kabiru Barkiya (APC – Katsina Central), while describing the kankara kidnapping as a “sad incident”, advised the National Assembly to take urgent steps towards curbing the increasing spate of insecurity in the country.
Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP – Abia South), in a rather short statement, demanded President Buhari to “Bring back our boys.”
Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC – Nasarawa West) on his part, while identifying the limitations of the National Assembly to intervene, advised that a Committee made up of Senators belonging to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) be constituted to brainstorm on possible solutions to the security problems bedeviling the nation.
“There’s nothing we haven’t said in this chamber or other fora that was floated by the National Assembly to address national security, but our fortune has not changed, if anything, it has become worse.
“The solution to the problem is not despair; the solution to the problem is not fault finding. The National Assembly is part of this government.
“I want to emphasize that this problem requires some solution, but our misfortune or limitation is the fact that we can only legislate and oversight. We have limitations because we cannot go beyond the law we make and oversight.
“It is common knowledge, that where you don’t have the power of hiring, you don’t have the power of firing. Let’s not deceive ourselves with this.
“I think Nigerians who are fair minded, will testify to our concern of what is going on in the situation of our insecurity. But, we must take the step of partnership with the leadership of this country, because each one of use here belong to the leadership of this country. Where there is failure, the failure is our failure”, the lawmaker said.
Accordingly, Senate in its resolutions condemned in very strong terms the attack on Government Science School, Kankara, Katsina State which led to the abduction and disappearance of over 300 students.
The Senate is urging President Buhari to consider and implement the recommendations of the Senate Adhoc Committee on Nigeria Security Challenges dated March, 17th 2020 and Senate Resolutions therefrom, as a holistic response to the mounting security challenges across the country.
Sequel to the motion, the Senate has summoned Defence Minister, service chiefs, and heads of the Nigerian Police and the Department of State Service (DSS) over the unending insecurity situation in the country.
While senators also want President Buhari to implement the report of the Senate Committee on Security challenges without further delay, in their various contributions to the motion, they passed a vote of no confidence in the various heads of security agencies in the country over their inability to prevent the abduction of the innocent children.
Senators equally expressed deep frustration that Buhari has consistently ignored all resolutions passed by the Red Chamber on the issue of insecurity in the country, insisting that the country’s chief security officer should sack the service chiefs without further delay.