At the security summit organised by the House of Representatives in Abuja, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan stated that Nigeria’s corporate existence is under threat.
In his remarks at the summit, Senate President Ahmed Lawan said that the incidences of kidnappings, banditry, and insurgency were threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria.
“Let me start by commending the leadership of the House for organizing this very special summit on national security. I want to say here that Nigeria is at crossroads today. The very essence of the existence of this country is under serious threat. What started as the insurgency in 2009 or so in the northwestern part of Yobe has now snowballed into a full-scale insurgency in the entire northeast. What was not known to us in the northwest is now today the home of banditry and kidnapping.
“The north-central as we all know is not safe. It suffers the clashes between the herders and our farmers. And the recent introduction in the southeast is another serious threat to the existence of this country. Where government institutions are targeted, our police and security agencies personnel are being killed on a daily basis. Our institutions, buildings are burnt. I believe that these are threats not only to those areas but to the entire nation. And our armed forces are doing their best.
“I must commend our armed forces and other security agencies for doing so much with the little we are able to give them. The National Assembly has always been on the side of giving the kind of support, either legislative or the kind of financial support that our armed forces and indeed all other security agencies require, even though we have our limits.
“The essence of this summit I am sure is to look for ways and means of improving the performance of our armed forces and other security agencies. This summit is essential because we are tested as a country. We are tested as a people. Criminals everywhere have found probably comfort in doing what they do. This is the time for the legislature and executive arm of government to come even closer in finding solutions. I want to take this opportunity to appeal and ask the executive arm of government to implement whatever would be the outcome of this summit.
There were previous summits by NASS. I recall we had a similar summit in the 8th Assembly and I believe that the legislative perspective is essential in finding solutions to the myriad of security issues affecting our country today.
I want to also appeal to all Nigerians for their continued support for the administration and for our armed forces and our security agencies. All hands must be on deck.
“A criminal has only one name and that is criminal. No criminal should have comfort in his ethnic enclave.
“Whoever, where that person is, once he is a criminal, he is simply a criminal and must be dealt with in the appropriate manner regardless of where he or she is coming from. It is also important that we provide resources more resources for our security agencies to enable them better tackle the criminal activities across the country.
“And our armed forces can do that. But the fact remains that we have not enabled them enough. Today in this country, there is no better investment than investing in the security of our people.
“We must ensure that we protect the lives and the property of our people. This is the essence of government. So while the NASS should work hard as it always does to provide more resources, I also want to say we must review procurement processes by the security agencies.
“While we are not going to open up how they do these things to the public, but as parliamentarians, those who approve the funding, we must understand how these procurement processes are undertaken.
“If the processes require that we change the way, we do that, because of inefficiencies, we should go ahead and do so. Because it is not enough to just put in more resources but how the resources are deployed with the economy, with prudence and efficiency.
“I want to once again appeal to us in the National Assembly. The security agencies we know are doing their best, but I think it is high time that we work with the executive arm of government to look at the architecture of our security system for better performance.
“And when I mention architecture, I also want to mention that all levels of government are responsible for securing the lives and property of Nigerians. The federal, state, and local governments. And of course, it is a well-known fact that the local governments do not function.
“The local government system does not function and that takes away a lot from our efforts at providing security for lives and property of people. And when I mention the local government system not functioning, our traditional rulers, who had played major roles in protecting us today have no function more or less. It is only when there are problems, we look for them.
“In the northern part of the country and I daresay all parts of Nigeria, our traditional rulers had played key roles in ensuring security in their domains. Why can’t we look at the possibility of providing an official function for them, even if it is in advisory capacity in the constitution.”