WITH teary eyes, delegates, yesterday, condemned in strong terms, bomb explosions at Nyanya bus terminal in Abuja, the nation’s capital, by members of the Boko Haram sect in which about 100 people were feared dead and several others injured.
The delegates, who observed one minute silence for the victims, also condemned past and similar mayhem in other parts of the county. They called on the Federal Government and stakeholders to, as a matter of urgency, implement all actionable recommendations made to it by various committees such as the Gaji Galtimari, Kabiru T. Turaki and Borno/Yobe Elders among others, which recommended prosecution of some politicians found to be financing and empowering members of Boko Haram.
To heal the wounds inflicted on Nigerians and families affected in these massive killings and wanton destruction of property almost on a daily basis, they advised the Federal Government to immediately commence a process of reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affected areas.
The Kawu, 19 others insecurity motion
The delegates’ positions followed a motion by Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, who is representing the Nigeria Guild of Editors and titled, “Motion of urgent Public importance over the security situation in the North, pursuant to Order V11 Rule (1) V of the Rules of Procedure.”
The motion was co- sponsored by 19 other delegates. They were Mrs. Hannatu Ibrahim, Prof. Jerry Gana, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu, Dr. Magdalene Dura, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Hon. Mohammed Kumalia, Senator Adamu Aliero, Prof. Auwalu Yadudu, Amb. Ibrahim Mai Sule, Prof. Iyorchia Ayu, Senator Jack Tilley Gyado, Gen. Jerry Useni, Senator Ibrahim Ida, Hon. Terseer Tsumba, Arch. Ibrahim Bunu, Major General Ike Nwachukwu, Chief Olu Falae, Chief Edwin Clark and Brig. General Geoffrey Ejiga.
The motion read in part: “The conference condemns the activities of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. The Conference is concerned about the continuous deterioration of the security situation and calls upon the Federal Government to take urgently, drastic and concrete steps to arrest and immediately bring an end to these atrocities.”
They urged that all necessary measures be put in place to use proportional and non- excessive force to deal with the situation and safeguard the life, property and well- being of innocent civilian population in all areas affected. Leading a robust debate on the motion, Modibbo Kawu lamented that despite the declaration of state of emergency in three North East states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, the insecurity in those states has continued to escalate.
He said: “Whereas the Rules of Procedure has provided in Order V11 Rule (1) that matters of urgent public importance ( if) any may be tabled for discussion; whereas the security situation in the country has been deteriorating in the last 5-6 years; whereas the preponderance of the security breaches have been in the North
although security is a National issue; whereas in the last two months the security breaches have escalated in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa stares where over 20 villages have been completely razed down and thousands of people killed including school children in spite of the state of emergency which has been in existence for almost one year;
”Whereas in the North East the problem is Boko Haram, in the North West, it is armed banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping of young women more particularly in Zamfara, Jigawa, Katsina and Kaduna states.
”Whereas in the North Central we have ethno- religious and herdsmen and farmers conflicts, which have led to
the sacking of several villages, destruction of property, displacement of people and killing of thousands of people in Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa states; whereas the Conference notes that Nigerian security forces have made a lot of efforts to bring the insurgency, armed conflict and banditry under control; in spite of the efforts of the security forces the situation has continued to escalate.”
Nwanyanwu, Ozekhome’s motion
Prior to Kawu’s motion, National Chairman of the Labour Party, LP, Dan Nwanyanwu who is representing LP at the conference ,had moved a motion condemning the killings. The motion was seconded by a Federal Government delegate, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who argued that the wave of killings in the country is increasing in wavelength.
According to him, the killings have become endless as perpetrators of such acts no longer discriminate between Christians and Moslems or northerners and southerners in their crusade and called on the House to urge the authorities to re-strategise and come up with effective measures to address the problem of insecurity in the country.
However, former Inspector General of Police, IGP, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie, representing the North West geo- political zone punctured the motion, saying that the North was ready with a prepared motion to be read on the insecurity situation in the North and sought the permission of Conference Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi and the sponsor, Kawu, was then called to move it.
Attempts to scuttle motion
Speaking on the motion, Chief Sergeant Awuse, a South-South delegate almost scuttled the motion raising Order 8 arguing that the conference cannot entertain such motion because delegates were not served with the motion paper ahead of time, adding, “If a motion paper has been served on those at the table, delegates deserve to be served copies.
“While I sympathise with what is happening in the country, we must not add to the problem, but we must go by the rules and we should not create any problem for ourselves.”
However, Femi Falana (SAN), representing the Civil Society Organisation, cited Order 1 rule (2) and countered Awuse’s point of order, saying no formality was required on this issue because what happened yesterday where people were killed was an emergency situation and an issue of urgent National importance. He noted that the Galtimari’s report had covered these issues and urged the government to implement the report and those of similar panels.
These killers are not Nigerians –Abdullahi
Commenting, Amb. Yerima Abdullahi representing the Elder Statesmen category said: “We have been scratching the surface of this issue of Boko Haram. Some of these undertakers are not Nigerians. It may have started with Nigerians but these people are not Nigerians. Security may have better information. They have roots in Cameroon, Niger, Chad, etc. We have a very big problem. Security forces should show more interest. The earlier the authorities woke up to this situation, the better.”
Nigeria is under siege – Clark
Contributing to the motion, a former Federal Commissioner for Information and Ijaw leader, and a delegate on the platform of Elder Statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, noted that what was happening at the moment with people being killed was not a matter of the North or South but requires a collective action because Nigeria was under siege.
His words: “The issue of my son that was kidnapped is no longer an issue compared to what has happened. What is happening now is a national issue. It is not a North or South issue. Wherever it is happening, Nigerians are being killed and Nigerians are under siege.
”We have a duty to look at this issue and not to play politics with it. Security is doing its job. They need the support of every one of us; soldiers alone cannot fight this war. I think it has come to a stage where all must be involved. When my son was kidnapped, all of you rallied together. He is not dead. Everyday we sit down here deliberating. What are we debating about? Will Nigeria be eradicated before we know it is here with us?
”This conference must do something about it. This conference must send a message to the authorities that something must be strongly done about it. Instead of me going to eat at 2 pm, monetise it and send it to those who are dying fighting this scourge. The time has come for all of us to do something.”
We need holistic approach —Anka
On his part, a delegate representing the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, Hassan Salihu Anka, who condemned the act, however, called for a holistic approach involving all stakeholders to solve the problem.