Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu, has advised the government to tread cautiously in handling protests by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in order to avoid unnecessary loss of life.
Ekweremadu gave the caution while briefing the Senate on the reported military invasion of some parts of the South-East in the early hours of Monday and the attendant casualties on the innocent citizens.
He said it was not proper that security agencies should brutally attack civilians who were making peaceful protest within the specifications of the law.
Speaking after he raised Order 43 of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended), he said that the country had witnessed a lot of unnecessary killings arising from people’s clashes with security agencies.
He urged the Senate to condemn killings by security agencies, particularly the ones involving the youths, which he said were the hope of the country in future.
According to him, the protest by members of the ‘Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), which led to a bloody clash in Delta and Anambra states could have been handled differently.
Ekweremadu who expressed worries on the development in the South-east said since Nigeria was a democratic nation, its citizens should be allowed to speak out on issues bothering them under responsible circumstances.
He charged the security agencies to also demonstrate sense of responsibility while handling such circumstances, to avoid losing innocent lives unnecessarily.
He said, “I will like to use this opportunity under Order 43 to say that the security agencies must apply caution in trying to quell disturbances. We have had so much of blood bath in this country under different circumstances and we cannot continue to lose young men and women because the future of this country belongs to them.
“It is important that this Senate rise to condemn any act of killing in any part of this country, especially with the one that concerns the major part of our future which remains the youth.
“We are now in a democracy and people should be entitled to speak their mind to assemble under responsible circumstances. Security agencies must also be responsible in dealing with those circumstances to ensure that lives are not lost unnecessarily.
“I just wish to bring to the notice of the Senate for us to take note and possibly the states involved to set up enquiry to find out what led to these clashes and the number of killed and to ensure that this doesn’t happen in future”.
However, the motion was not subjected to debate, in line with the parliamentary tradition of the Chamber on such motion.
The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, in his response, said that although there could not be any debate on the matter, it was necessary that the matter was brought to the knowledge of the Chamber.
He said, “The Deputy Senate President brought this to my attention in line with our rules on Order 43 on this unfortunate incident that has happened and as regards our rules, there cannot be any debate on it.
“But I think that the point he has raised must all draw attention and see what necessary action will be taken in order to address this matter”.