…Senate considers constitution amendment for State Police
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has said that history will be harsh on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration if it failed to stop the mass killings of innocent Nigerians by suspected herdsmen.
Dogara said this on Tuesday at plenary while welcoming members back from the Eid- El- Fitr holiday.
He said that the killings of innocent Nigerians should be stopped immediately.
Dogara said, “History will have a harsh verdict for us as a government if we fail to live up to this responsibility and it won’t matter if we succeed in other areas.
“Unfortunately, the stark reality now is that our citizens are fast losing confidence in our security system.
“This must not be the case. Before we ebb to the realm of anarchy, we must rise up as true representatives of the Nigerian people to salvage the situation and defend our hard won democracy.”
He said that the unresolved issue of rampant killings of defenseless people, including innocent and vulnerable children and women, in various parts of the country, calls for sober reflection.
Dogara added that there must be more concerted efforts by the National Assembly to exploit all its constitutional powers and privileges to ensure the protection of lives and property in the country by security agencies.
The House, in considering a motion of urgent matter of public importance moved by Hon Istifanus Gyang from Plateau State, passed a resolution describing the murder of over 200 persons in Plateau as genocide and called on the federal government to take decisive action to stop the killings and secure communities that have been under attacks.
The lawmakers further urged the president to go beyond verbal condemnation of the attacks to taking decisive and practical steps to give effect to section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The House also resolved to immediately revisit the constitution review exercise to empower states to establish state police for effective community policing and maintenance of law and order.
Moving the motion, Hon Gyang condemned the barbaric killings which led to the sack of 52 villages and the massacre of over 200 people by suspected herdsmen.
Hon Sunday Karimi contributing to debate on the motion, said President Muhammadu Buhari has failed in his constitutional duties in providing security for Nigerians.
In another contribution, the House Majority Leader, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, said the issue on ground has gone beyond ethnicity, party affiliation and urged the House to find a lasting solution to the matter.
However his comment on whether the House should pay attention to stories circulating on social media relating to the Plateau killings which he described as “fake news” elicited a negative response from his colleagues.
Gbajabiamila advocated for the security architecture of the country to be changed and sought for a constitution amendment for the establishment of state police.
Hon Babashir Balle, who became emotional and broke down in tears, said he lost a cousin in the ugly incident. He prayed against the outbreak of religious war in the nation and called on Nigerians to put their acts together to move the country forward.
He concluded by asserting that what the country is facing at the moment is as a result of system failure.
Meanwhile, the Senate, seeking enduring solution to incessant killings in the country, has resolved to amend the constitution to make room for creation of state and community police.
After exhausting all possible options towards arresting the orgy of killings across the country , the lawmakers at plenary on Tuesday decided to commence in earnest process of amending the constitution to accommodate decentralisation of the country’s policing system.
The Senate unequivocally called for the dissolution of the present security architecture and replacement of service chiefs with more dedicated and proactive officers.
It also condemned in strong terms the various terrorist attacks, wanton killings and displacement of people as well as disruption of economic activities and occupation of farm lands.
Consequently, the Senate directed the constitution review committee to expedite actions to effect amendment of the constitution as regards the issue of state police.
The upper chamber resolved that a bill for state police, peace and reconciliation should be passed in the National Assembly within two weeks
It also agreed that there is need for the National Assembly to enact a law on peace and conflict resolution to foster harmony and unity of the country.
The Red Chamber maintained that if the policing of the country is not decentralised, there is no way insecurity would be properly tackled.
The Senators also urged the executive to quickly evolve better ways to strenghten the criminal administration system to ensure truth, fairness and justice in the country.
These resolutions followed a motion by Senator Jonah Jang (PDP, Plateau North) on the gruesome killings of persons in Barkin Ladi, Ryom and Jos South, in Plateau State recently.
Jang said he has been an advocate of state policing since he was a governor, stressing that the current central policing arrangement does not give state governors control over the police and threatens their positions as chief security officers of their states.