The House of Representatives at its plenary sitting yesterday declared “a day of mourning” in honour of the 59 innocent students of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, who were murdered in their sleep.
The House is to observe the day in honour of other victims of violence in the country.
In his address at a special session of the House to remember the students and other victims of terrorism in Nigeria, Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who described the actions of the terrorists to target the innocent and defenceless as cowardice, declared that the agents of terror, who murdered sleep on Tuesday, February 25, would no longer sleep.
His words “When innocent, harmless and defenceless women and children become the targets of these heartless murderous bandits; when the lives of sleeping children are so callously snuffed out, it becomes clear that these agents of terror have murdered sleep, and they henceforth deserve none.
“Whatever grievances the terrorists harbour against the government of Nigeria, Nigeria’s innocent children have nothing to do with it. Nigeria’s children bear no responsibility for either policy making or policy implementation in Nigeria. It is, therefore, an act of cowardice worthy of ringing condemnation to target the children, to strike at those who are not only innocent, but are also unable to strike back or defend themselves.
“There can be no reason, no justification and no acceptable excuse for this act of mindless brutality. Whatever message the terrorists set out to send to the Nigerian government has been drowned out by the cries for justice by the blood of these innocent martyrs.
“It is to remember these innocent children and other victims of violence in this country that the House has declared today ‘a day of mourning’ to express our collective outrage on these killings that have gone on for far too long,” Tambuwal said.
The speaker roundly condemned the gruesome murder of the defenceless children, describing the terrorist attack as one which will live very long in the memory of families, as he recalled the attack on the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State on February 29 night where about 59 students were murdered in cold blood.
“Nigeria suffered a horrendous terrorist attack that struck a fatal blow at the heart and soul of the Nigerian nation, and desecrated values that decent peoples of all nations hold dear. On that night, about 59 students of Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, were killed in the most heinous manner. Some of our future national leaders were mowed down in gruesome circumstances in their sleep. Some were shot dead, while many were burnt beyond recognition. That day was a day that will live in infamy in the history of this nation,” Tambuwal lamented.
Citing Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution, which provides that the security and welfare of Nigerians is the primary purpose of government, the speaker charged the three arms of government to rise to the occasion.
His words, “In making this provision, the Constitution places a duty on all of us here and everyone else entrusted with the mandate of governance and representation to place a high premium on the security of lives and property of Nigerians.
By this parameter, the 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.”
According to the speaker, the House had passed over 20 resolutions on the issue of national security, amended the Anti-Terrorism Act 2011, to strengthen the security agencies and also ensured that huge sums are appropriated for the security agencies.
He also noted that, “only recently on January 30, 2014, the House, in making its recommendations for constitutional amendment, voted to include the National Security Agencies and the Nigerian Police on the first line charge for the purpose of ensuring their financial independence and timely release of funds when appropriated.”
Both chambers of the National Assembly on resumption, yesterday, again adjourned till next Tuesday to enable its committees finalize work on the 2014 budget defence and submit their reports to the committees on appropriation.
Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday deferred the consideration of the report on the Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Bill to March 18.
The consideration of the report was deferred to enable the Senate Sub-Committees on Appropriation complete work on the 2014 budget defence by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The report was prepared by the Joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Women Affairs and Youth Development.
The bill seeks to repeal the 2003 Act and enact a new Act to provide for more comprehensive legal and institutional measures aimed at eradicating trafficking in persons.
The Chairman of the Joint Committee, Sen. Umaru Dahiru (PDP-Sokoto), said the bill was designed to respond to the challenges encountered in the last 10 years in the fight against trafficking in Nigeria.
Earlier, the senators were divided over a clause in the draft law which seeks to regulate the actions of law enforcement agents with respect to civility in the discharge of their functions.
Clause 6 (b) empowers law enforcement agents to “enter into any premises or property without warrant for the purpose of conducting searches in furtherance of their functions under this Act or under any law’’.
Some senators faulted the clause, saying it gives too much power to the law enforcement agencies which could lead to breach on the privacy and rights of the people.
Others argued that such provisions had been in existence to enhance prompt and effective action on the part of the law enforcement agencies.
The Senate Leader, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, said the clause was ‘critical’ to enable law enforcement agencies take quick action on cases of human trafficking.
He noted that the provision had been in existence for a long time, adding that it was intended to give special attention to the victims who were mostly children and women.
Sen. James Manager (PDP-Delta) observed that the absence of such a provision would impede law enforcement agencies from doing their work.
But, Sen. Kabiru Marafa (APC-Zamfara), said that the clause should be expunged from the proposed law, saying it would give law enforcement agencies overbearing powers.
The Senate President, Sen. David Mark, put the question to a voice vote and those in support for retention of the clause carried the day.
Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
LG Boss Uncovers Bloodstained Army Uniform At ‘Cocaine Village’
The newly inaugurated Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Obarilormate Ollor, has gone to ‘Cocaine village’ at Eleme Trailer Park to execute Governor Nyesom Wike’s quit order on residents of the illegal settlement when he made a shock discovery in one of the rooms.
Ollor had visited the area notorious for drugs and crimes, last Sunday, along with some security personnel to serve the quit notice on residents but met the area deserted—an indication that someone had alerted them about the visit.
Out of curiosity, the chairman opened one of the rooms in the ghetto-like settlement, and found the bloodstained uniform of a soldier, his knife and ATM card.
The chairman and his entourage had expressed suspicion that criminals in the area had killed the owner of the uniform and robbed him.
Ollor said, “Remember that a week ago, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, gave a directive that all illegal structures be removed. As the chief security officer of the local government, I am under that obligation.
“What we are doing here today is to inform them in advance and to remind them that the ultimatum still holds. So, on or before June 26, they should move out.
“What we have here is a mixed population of criminals, armed robbers, drug dealers, and even those who allegedly trade in human parts. Right now, we just found the uniform of an Army man who probably may have been killed. His blood all over the room and uniform, his knife and ATM card, which we have given to the police.”
The Rivers State Police Command has reportedly swung into action to unravel the perpetrators of the alleged crime.
Spokesman of the police, SP Nnamdi Omoni, said that the command had received reports about criminal activities in the area, including the alleged killing of a soldier.
Omoni said, “We have gotten complaints and reports of drug traffickers, criminal elements, human organ dealers, kidnappers and more from there.
“Though we have been carrying out investigation into all of the reports but thank God, we now have a good lead and evidence.
“We have been mandated by the state government to carry out massive arrest within the environs to ensure we arrest and prosecute all those persons involved.”
Residents said that the ‘Cocaine village’ is a haven for drug dealers and users, adding that security operatives also patronize the area.
An aide of the Eleme LG chairman, who spoke off-the-record said, “The governor received an intelligence report that the slum harbours criminals and drug addicts who carry out series of crimes, human organ trafficking, abductions and many other criminal acts in the LGA and state at large.
“We learnt also that some security men troop in there off and on to buy drugs and indulge in one crime or the other.
“The military uniform stained with blood, knife and motorcycle discovered were found in one of the rooms we opened.
“The badge of the military uniform was removed and there were heavy blood stains on the uniform.
“We went there with some police men as assigned to us by the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Eboka Friday”, he added.
Insecurity Hasn’t Hindered Projects’ Execution In Rivers, Wike Affirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike says that his administration has fearlessly tackled insecurity headlong and created an enabling climate for smooth delivery of quality development projects.
Wike made the assertion at the inauguration of 16.2-kilometre long Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi Road project in Omuma Local Government Area of the state, yesterday.
The governor noted that while other states of the country were still struggling with issues of insecurity, Rivers State was witnessing harvest of development projects with the non-stop inauguration and flag-off ceremonies to their amazement.
“Don’t fight anybody that God has blessed. Don’t fight the state that God has blessed. People are talking about insecurity. We are talking about commissioning and flagging-off of projects. Is it easy? If it is easy, let them try it.”
Wike asserted that it is only states controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) like Rivers that has created a peaceful climate for the citizens while the government delivers democratic dividends.
“Those who say they don’t like what PDP is doing, they have no choice but to like it. You can see what the party (PDP) is doing. We are flagging-off and commissioning projects. Whether they like it or not, we are in charge.”
The governor said it is obvious that Rivers State is no longer on the same level with states that cannot provide dividend of democracy to their people.
Wike said the performance of his administration has restored confidence in Rivers people and they can walk with their heads raised high.
“Rivers people, are you not proud of your state? If you’re a Rivers man, anywhere you go, raise your shoulder high and say that you’re a Rivers man and woman. “They (other parties) can only jealous us, but they cannot do anything. We are of different class. We are not on the same level with them.”
Speaking further, Wike commended the member representing Omuma State Constituency, Hon. KelechiNwogufor his loyalty to PDP.
He also extolled him for his commitment to the welfare of Omuma people and being a trusted ally to him.
At the behest of Nwogu, Wike promised Omuma people that his administration would reconstruct the Umuakali-Eberi Road in appreciation of their support to the PDP.
Inaugurating the project, former President of the Senate, Senator Adolphus Wabara, noted how Wike has redefined governance and broken the jinx of non-performance associated with second tenure governors.
According to him, the approach to development that the governor has adopted stands him out as a much sought-after leader who should be consulted in solving critical national issues related to governance.
“With my experience in elective politics, second terms of most governors are dull; some governors will just go to sleep because they don’t have anything to offer. But you are still commissioning projects, as if you’re not even going to leave.
“Your developmental approach, your developmental plans, and formula should make you an international consultant to the failing government. Because, quite frankly, the magic, I mean, nobody knows except you. You do it with ease, you do it with happiness.”
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, EllokaTasie-Amadi said the Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi link road in Omuma Local Government Area was another genuine efforts of the Wike administration to ease the transportation difficulties experienced by rural dwellers in the Omuma.
“Many of these rural projects go unsung probably because the residents are not social media savvy, as in the case of Omuma, who are predominantly farmers, or probably because SM activities are not a part of their past times as it is with city dwellers.
“It may shock you to know that for every kilometre of road we have built in the city we have built 12kms or more in the rural areas. This is a conservative estimate I would like you to ponder upon when you get home.”
He further stated, “This project is a 16.2km long, 10.3m wide road project which has 4.3km of drains. The roads are marked and have a total of 27 road signs to aid driving and enhance public safety.”
Wike Flags Off Abonnema/ Obonoma Sandfilling Project, Today
All is now set for the flag-off of the Abonnema/Obonoma Sandfilling project in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, said that, “the project will sandfill 42 hectares of land that will help expand Abonnema and Obonoma Towns.
“It is in fulfilment of the promise made by Governor Nyesom Wike during the commissioning of the Abonnema Ring Road”.
The statement further added that, “The rich culture and tradition of the Kalabaris will be fully on display at the event.
“Please, note that all Covid-19 protocols will be observed at the event”, it stressed.
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