The House of Representatives yesterday called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on Nigeria’s security sector.
The decision followed a motion of Urgent Public Importance moved by the Chief Whip of the house, Rep. Mohammed Monguno, during plenary presided over by the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila.
The motion was tagged “Recent Attack by the Boko Harem Insurgents at Auno Village, Borno State”.
Monguno, who presented the motion, said commuters on the Damaturu-Maiduguri road were compelled to suspend their journeys once it was 6 p.m due to security challenges in the northeast.
“Auno village is one of the spots where the Nigerian Army instructed the commuters on the Damaturu-Maiduguri road to spend the night before proceeding on their journeys the next morning.
“On Sunday, February 9, 2020, while commuters in their hundreds were waiting in the Auno village, the military men left them to their fate or at best abandoned them,” he said.
Monguno also expressed concern that while the commuters were waiting to spend the night, Boko Haram insurgents attacked, kidnapped and burnt some of their vehicles.
“The occupants of two Hummer buses and one sharon bus were kidnapped, 18 vehicles bumt and 30 people killed, including an infant,’’ he said.
The lawmaker said that the non-existence of a “Super Military Camp” on the Damaturu-Maiduguri road was exposing commuters to dangers of being “killed, maimed or kidnaped”.
He added that keeping commuters waiting at night was dangerous in view of the security challenges in Nigeria, especially the northeast.
The Minority Leader of the house, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta), who also supported the motion, reiterated the call for the removal of security chiefs.
The house, however, urged the military authority “to henceforth stop the keeping of commuters overnight at a particular period on the Damaturu-Maiduguri road and allow them proceed on their journeys after 6 p.m.”
The lawmakers directed the house committees on Army, National Security and Intelligence to investigate the remote causes of the attack.
The green chamber also directed the Committee on Army to look into the setting up of super camps in Auno, and the withdrawal of the military from checkpoints.
Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.
With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.
The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″ according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.
The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.
” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.
“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.
” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.
He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.
In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.
The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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