The House of Representatives on Wednesday lamented the rising spate of insecurity in Nigeria.
It condemned the kidnapping of judges in different parts of the country and called for better security around judicial officers.
Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Mr Onofiok Luke, moved a motion on the matter at the plenary on Wednesday, which was unanimously adopted.
The motion was titled, “Urgent Need for Security Agencies to Ensure the Release of Hon Justice Chioma Nwosu and Increase Security and Protection Around Judicial Officers Across Nigeria.’
Moving the motion, Luke noted that judicial officers were charged with the fundamental responsibility of interpreting laws, adjudicating and resolving disputes, as well as conflicts and controversies between persons, natural or artificial.
He added that the responsibility involved presiding over serious criminal matters and politically charged cases, convicting and passing sentences on hard criminals, including drug dealers, kidnappers and murderers.
According to him, the exercise of this responsibility by judicial officers helps to maintain and preserve stability, peace and equipoise in the polity, and protect and safeguard the rights of citizens.
Luke said, “The House is conscious of the risks associated with performance of judicial responsibility on the lives of judicial officers and their families, and the necessity for judicial officers to be provided a safe, comfortable and conducive environment to operate; disturbed that judicial officers are becoming preys in the hands of criminals and the security of their lives and that of their family is under serious threat.
“Some weeks ago, Justice Abdul Dogo of the Federal High Court, Akure Division, was kidnapped on his way to discharge his official functions, and was later released after spending some days in kidnappers’ den. Just a few days after the release of Justice Dogo, Justice Chioma Nwosu of the Court of Appeal, Benin Judicial Division, was kidnapped in brutal circumstances. His lordship’s orderly was shot dead.”
The lawmaker said the House appreciated the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies for general security of judicial officers, particularly for securing the release of Dogo.
The House, therefore, unanimously resolved to urge the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies “to ensure the immediate release of Hon. Justice Chioma Nwosu and the apprehension and prosecution of her kidnappers.”
The lawmakers also urged the police to “increase protection and security around judicial officers and their families across the country.”
Assembly, executive collaborating to end insecurity – Lawan
Also on Wednesday, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the National Assembly and the executive arm of government were collaborating on the best ways to tackle insecurity and kidnapping in the country.
Lawan stated this following a motion on the “Urgent need for Security Agencies to intervene in the increasing rate of kidnapping in the riverine areas of Ogun East Senatorial District and Securing the Waterways.” The motion was sponsored by Senator Lekan Mustapha.
Lawan said there was an ongoing collaboration between the National Assembly and the security agencies to seek alternative ways of finding a permanent solution to the lingering situation of kidnapping and insecurity across the country.
Lawan identified funding as a major setback in the fight against insecurity.
He said the legislature with the support of the executive arm of government would explore the possibility of sourcing for funds separately from what was budgeted for security agencies in the 2020 budget.
He said the National Assembly had requested the National Security Adviser, Babagana Munguno, to come up with a proposal for the acquisition of drones that would be deployed across the country to facilitate the arrest of kidnappers.
He said the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, had also received the nod to devise a means of tracking kidnappers through active mobile numbers used in the course of negotiations.
The Senate President disclosed plans by the Federal Government to launch a National Emergency Call Centre.
He said an emergency phone number was already activated for the purpose of contacting the various security agencies in times of distress.
He said, “In the last one month, I’ve been holding regular meetings with security agencies, including the Ministers of Communications and the Federal Capital Territory.
“What we are trying to do is to get a better and result-oriented approach to fighting kidnapping and insecurity.
“We have insisted that no amount of resources will be too much because we need to protect our people and secure the country.
“It will remain a pipe dream if we continue to ask investors to come to Nigeria; even those in Nigeria will not invest properly if the security situation remains very dicey.
“This is something that the National Assembly will have to do together with the executive arm of government. We have to look for something out of the ordinary for funding.
“We have to go out of our way to look for resources outside the national budget. If we can release seven billion naira to Distribution Companies (Discos) or Generation Companies (Gencos), nothing stops us from looking for such money to address the security situation of the country.
“We have already given a request for the NSA to come up with the different designs and models of drones.
“We hope there should be drones properly deployed to ensure kidnappers are arrested.
“We have to find a way to be able to track kidnappers through phones. We should have launched the National Emergency Call Centre with a specific number about two weeks ago.
“We have tried to reconcile all security agencies to have one specific number instead of separate and different ones. We want the emergency call centres to be established across the country. At the moment we have only two major ones.”
Senator laments kidnapping in Ogun Waterside
Mustapha had condemned the recent increase in the activities of criminal syndicates who specialize in kidnapping and militant activities in and around riverine communities in Ogun East Senatorial District.
Governor Udom Emmanuel Loses Father
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel has lost his Father, the Late Elder Gabriel Emmanuel Nkanang.
The sad event occurred on Sunday, December 1st 2019. He was aged Ninety (90years.)
According to a family source, after due clearance from the Head of the Family, Pastor Edo Ekim ( the Father of the celebrity Nollywood actress, Ini Edo) , the first Son of the departed Patriarch, Mr. Gabriel Nkanang (Jr.) was authorized to make public the demise of the late Patriarch.
Burial arrangement according to family sources will be announced in due course.
Border Drill: Benin Republic unrepentant — FG
The Federal Government has accused the Republic of Benin of being recalcitrant in its importation of prohibited goods for ultimate dumping in to Nigeria’s market in spite the partial border closure order.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the accusation when he featured on a “TV Continental”, live Programme, monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
“Regrettably, the signs out there are not positive in the sense that in the last few weeks, the amount of seizures that have been made do not show that our neighbours are in a hurry to comply with Nigeria.
“As we speak today, there are three ships heading toward Benin Republic laden with about 105,000 metric tons of rice.
“This is a country of about 12 million people. That rice is meant for ultimate consumption of Nigerians.
“In addition, Benin Republic just negotiated with Japan to receive rice worth 30 million dollars.
“It is clear that the ultimate destination of the rice will be Nigeria and that is why we are appealing to our neighbours.
“First preservation is the first law of survival, we are doing this to preserve our economy and the security of our country,” he said.
The minister who disclosed that the border drill will be in place as long as necessary, noted that Nigeria could no longer continue to play the big brother at the expense of its economy and national security.
“The facts at our disposal reveal that 10,000 vehicles are imported every month into the Cotonou seaport.
“For a population of about 12 million people to be importing 120,000 vehicles in a year means that the vehicles are going to Nigeria with sufficient market.
“As I have said, there is no gain without pain, there will be discomfort at the beginning ultimately we believe it is going to be to the ultimate interest of Nigeria,” he said.
The minister reiterated that both Benin Republic and Niger Republic were hurting Nigeria’s economy and security because of their non compliance with the ECOWAS Protocol on Transit Goods and State of Origin.
“We have been on this dialogue since 2015 and the truth of the matter is that there has never been any legitimate transit trade between us and the two countries
“This is hurting our economy, affecting our security and no country will fold its arms when the overall interest of its people is being jeopardise,” he said.
The minister said that government decided to prohibit sale of fuel in filling stations less than 20km away from the borders because of the high level of smuggling of the product to neighbouring countries.
He said no fewer than 160 filling stations were affected by the directive and they were in such a large number because they primarily engage in smuggling.
“These are stations that when you drive into them in the day time, they will not be dispensing fuel until late in the night when they will smuggle the product across the border,” he said.
Mohammed disclosed that a very sizable proportion of the subsidised imported petrol into the country was finding its way to Benin Republic, Niger Republic and some other West African countries.
“What we find out is that we are actually subsidising the product not just for Nigerians but for many West African countries.
“For instance, if the landing cost of pms is about N200 today, in order to cushion the effect on the people, government sells at N140 per liter.
“Meaning that for every liter of fuel bought, the government is paying N60. If you consume one million litres a day, the government is paying N60 million a day.
“You can imagine that from what the government pays, it is the neighboring countries that benefit about 50 per cent of it,” he said.
Mohammed said that it had been provenly established that 95 per cent of illicit drugs , arms and ammunition came into the country through the land borders with attendant effect on increase in terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other crimes.
He said with the border drill directive, there had been drastic reduction smuggling of drugs and arms into the country, thereby reducing rate of crimes.
The minister said that government was aware of the effects of the border drill on the citizens, particularly the spike in the price of rice, but the people must bear the temporary pains to reap the benefits.
NAN reports that most of the viewers that called in to the programme supported the government on the partial border closure directive.
They contended that Nigeria had been reduced to a dumping ground for decades.
Some of them gave the examples of China that closed its borders for decades to achieve its vision of self reliance and becoming a nation to reckon with globally