The federal government has no excuse for the frightening reign of terror that has since engulfed the country, leading recently to the death of more than 100 school children in Buni Yadi village in Yobe State.
This was the verdict of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, at a valedictory session held in honour of the slain kids in Abuja yesterday.
Invoking the provision of Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution, Tambuwal insisted that the government and people of Nigeria have an onerous task of routing the insurgents, bringing them to book and ending the scary details of the daily occurrence of death and destructions in the North-east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
The Speaker regretted that even the security operatives were not spared in the unceasing brigandage that had made life nightmarish for both armed forces personnel and civilians alike.
â€œWe wake up to the disturbing news of daring and dastardly attacks on our military establishments resulting in the dissipation of our military infrastructure and the destruction of the lives of the heroic Nigerians who have committed their lives to the defence of our territorial integrity,â€ Tambuwal said.
Painting a graphic detail of the massacre of the school kids in Yobe and the anguish it caused the people, government and parents in the state and the country at large, the Speaker added that: â€œin Maiduguri for instance, expensive military aircraft and equipment and whole military barracks have been lost in addition to the loss of men and women of our military and other law enforcement agencies.â€
He was disturbed, and equally moved his colleagues to tears and palpable sympathy with his speech, noting that: â€œWe wake up to the chilling news of the total annihilation of innocent, law abiding families and entire communities in the most callous,
reprehensible and bizarre fashion. This cannot continue. We must rise up collectively and decisively to stop this orgy of deaths, destruction and waste.â€
Having made these observations, Tambuwal said: â€œWe no longer have any excuse for our inability to protect our innocent defenseless children from gratuitous violence.â€
â€œThe Nigerian government must rise to the occasion. And by government, I do not mean only the executive. We in the legislature are also part of government. And we cannot therefore merely join in the chorus of lamentations. Our duty is to act swiftly and decisively in the protection of the citizenry.â€
Condemning the act of terrorism in its entirety, the Speaker suggested that a new approach must be evolved to end the crisis, taking into consideration the fact that despite the existence of a second phase of an emergency rule in the affected states, the problem still persists.
Urging all stakeholders to be part of the fight against the insurgency, he outlined that a new intelligence gathering system must be put in place, taking into consideration the invaluable significance a broad spectrum of Nigerians.
Cataloguing the efforts that the legislators had made to help in combating terrorism, the Speaker said over 20 resolutions had been passed on the issue of national security, insisting that: â€œWe must in the interim adopt definite measures to ensure that the security agencies have all the support they need to put an end to this long-running orgy of bloodbath so, that Nigerians can sleep with both eyes closed. That is the most basic service citizens expect from their government.â€
He mulled the idea of a â€˜Marshall Planâ€™, in which the private sector is expected to play a huge role, â€œto effectively address the economic circumstances of the affected regions, check youth restiveness, unemployment and mass poverty,â€ he said.
Pointing out that the country was still polarised along ethnic and religious divides, with mutual suspicion still looming large on the horizon, Tambuwal harped on the need for unity.
â€œAs a people we are known to be our brothersâ€™ keeper. Terror has never been in our character and with God on our side we shall surely defeat this minority tribe of violence. Let us therefore arise with a single-minded resolve that the Buni Yadi massacre is one massacre too many and we shall tolerate no more,â€ he offered.