Gbajabiamila tasks Nigerians on political solution to socio-economic, security threats

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila on Wednesday tasked Nigerians and various interest groups on the need to articulate a political, economic, military and policing strategy to address emerging socio-economic and security threats in the country.

Hon Gbajabiamila who gave the charge while delivering a welcome address on resumption from the 2021 annual legislative recess of the House of Representatives, reiterated the 9th Assembly’s resolve towards providing necessary legislative support in achieving the feat.

“Let the joint effort required when we took up the cause of police reform in our country and passed the Police Act 2020 inspire us to do the same with the Police Service Commission (Repeal and Reenactment) Bill. So that we can finally, using the instrument of legislative power, enact a statutory framework for holding swiftly and fairly to account those officers of the Nigeria Police Force who choose to abuse the authority of the state against the citizens they are commissioned to serve and to protect.

“Insecurity remains an overwhelming threat to all our nation’s people and a hindrance that further delays the attainment of the critical development objectives necessary to put our country on the path to peaceful prosperity. Therefore, the 9th House of Representatives will continue to take action as required to address statutory deficiencies that limit the ability of our national security apparatus to respond effectively to the myriad manifestations of insecurity in our country.

“In our last session, we convened a National Security Summit to deliberate on the issue and articulate recommendations for executive and legislative action.

“The leadership of the House of Representatives presented the report of that Summit to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, and we received assurances that the recommendations will be duly considered and implemented. We will follow through to ensure that commitment is met.

“At the same time, we have begun to take legislative action to implement the Summit’s recommendations on statutory reform, amendments and the enactment of new legislation.

“Several such Bills have already passed the second reading and now await action in the respective Committees. I urge the Chairmen and members of those Committees to act quickly and conscientiously to bring those bills to the floor as soon as is practicable.

“In this parliamentary session, we will prioritise national security Bills that seek to implement the recommendations of the Summit. This is not to suggest that we will abdicate action on other matters of national concern. We only reaffirm our commitment to do all that we can to defeat those who have made it their cause to impose on our country an unending orgy of carnage and inflict our people with devastating grief.

“Let it be apparent to those who have made themselves enemies of Nigeria that this 9th House of Representatives will respond to the audacity of their evil with every tool and resource at our disposal, and we will not be deterred.

“Thus far, we have rightly focused our national security concerns on the machinations of extremist insurgents who seek to remake our world in the image of their discredited theocracy and bandits who maraud and terrorise whole regions for profit.

“We must now add to these concerns an emerging threat that presents the same clear and present danger. In the South of Nigeria, East and West, miscreants and criminals masquerading as separationist activists have emerged to wreak havoc, take lives and commit economic sabotage against fellow Nigerians and against the state.

“These people, in their inclination for devastating violence against fellow citizens, their appetite for the destruction of private property, their disruption of academic activities, commerce, and industry, their propensity for defiling institutions of the state, society and community, their refusal to engage in debate, or to consider the possibility of dissenting opinions and alternative viewpoints, are no different from Boko Haram and ISWAP. Given space and time, they will take our nation down the same path of destruction.

We know from experience that neither appeasement nor overwhelming violence alone will work. We have been down this road before; we know what the consequences of inaction can be. We also know that we cannot afford to be reactionary in our approach.

“This is the time to convene our best efforts to articulate a political, economic, military and policing strategy to address both the manifestations and root causes of this emerging threat. Let nobody be under the impression that there is a political opportunity in exploiting this moment. This is a time for statesmen to act beyond the petty considerations of politics, to do the hard things and achieve greatness.”

While reacting to the controversy trailing the Electoral bill, 2021 which was laid before the House embarked on two-month annual recess, Hon. Gbajabiamila noted that” “For two days, members engaged in intense and impassioned debates inspired by our varied understandings of the ideal, yet motivated by our shared desire to deliver for our country an electoral system that reflects the best aspirations of our people. This is our duty for which there is no alternative and from which we cannot deviate.

“Inevitably, as is always the case, the final count of votes disappointed some. This is democracy in practice, and the democratic process rarely makes for universally accepted outcomes. Therefore, honourable colleagues, I urge as many as are disappointed to set aside their disappointments in the sure knowledge that as the work of parliament never ends, what is done can be revisited until perfection is attained from repeated efforts over time. Let us remember the things we have done well and that we can and still must do well together.

“In this 9th Assembly, we have considered and passed the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), the Finance Act 2020, the Petroleum Industry Act, the Deep Offshore & Inland Basin PSC (Amendment) Act, amongst other such legislation focused on the economy.

“Each of these Bills includes in their provisions critical reforms of the way we do business in Nigeria. Taken together, they represent a wholesale and long-awaited legislative intervention to improve ease of doing business, encourage investment and drive economic growth,” he noted.

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