The Senate yesterday decried the spate of violence in the country and urged the Federal Government to deploy security agencies to Kogi to forestall alleged killing of people by suspected herdsmen.
Specifically, the upper chamber said that the security machinery should be sent to Omale and Dekina Local Government Areas in the state.
The resolution followed the adoption of a Point of Order by Sen. Atai Aidoko (Kogi-West) at plenary over alleged killing of 32 persons in the two local government areas on Wednesday.
Raising the order, Adoko said that 20 people were killed in Ogane-Enugu community in Dekina while 12 other lives were lost in Agbejukolo and Agbenema communities in Omale local government area.
He said “in spite of continued condemnation of killings in many parts of the country, perpetrators of this dastardly act have not been arrested.
“I want this Senate to urge President Muhammadu Buhari to direct security agencies to bring the situation under control by arresting the perpetrators and ensure that they are prosecuted.
“This killing is taking another dimension as the killers also amputate people’s hands.’’
In his contribution, Leader of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, said that it was time that the chamber worked closely with the Executive to enhance the effectiveness of security agencies in combating crime the country.
Noting that security agencies in the country were overstretched, Lawan expressed worry that the number of policemen guarding the communities was inadequate.
According to him, in a population of about five million, you have only 300 policemen guarding the society, and in the same situation, over 300 bandits would attack the people.
On his part, Sen. Dino Melaye urged government at all tiers to demonstrate needed capacity to combat insecurity.
“We are still treating the issue of security with kid gloves. If you see the gory pictures of people that are maimed and we cannot show capacity; do we want to continue complaining?
“It is the poor that is dying. Let us for once call on the president and the governors of these respective states who are the chief security officers to ensure the protection of lives and property of citizens.
“The Federal Government must display capacity to sincerely quell the insecurity threatening the country. “Unfortunately, since the incidents happened in Kogi, the state government has not come up with any official statement or taken an action,’’
Melaye said. Sen. James Manager blamed the situation on non-arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators. According to him, society has evolved and there is law and order; when somebody who commits a crime is caught, he should be punished to serve as deterrent to others.
“The immediate solution to this problem is to arrest and punish offenders otherwise people will continue to kill.
“We are tired of observing one minute silence for these killings; if punishment for offenders is not done, those who cannot protect the society should resign,’’
Manager said. Sen. Adamu Aliero called for the implementation of recommendations of the National Security Summit recently organised by the Senate. He said it would go a long way in addressing the security challenges confronting the country. According to him, the meeting with security agencies three weeks ago revealed that the police are overstretched and there was need to recruit more hands as well as increase the funding.
In his remark, President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, condemned the killings and said that it was unacceptable. “The Senate would work towards finding solutions to insecurity in the country. “Let us be patriotic because this situation is unacceptable,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Persons suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have unleashed terror on three communities in Kogi State, leaving 25 people dead.
Oganienugwu and Ikende communities in Dekina Local Government Area were affected; as well as Abejukolo in Omala LGA, all in the Eastern Senatorial district of the state.
As at the time of filing this report, villagers were reportedly moving out of Obakume, Idirisu, and Oji Apata to escape possible attacks.
Our correspondent gathered that 25 people were killed in the sustained attack which started on Tuesday and continued till Thursday.
A detachment of police and soldiers have been drafted to quell the violence.
Eye witness account told our correspondent that the mode of killing employed by the hoodlums was to slaughter the victims after tying them up; while those who attempted to escape alleged received machete cuts.
Similarly, Governor Samuel Ortom has called for a halt to the ceaseless bloodshed in Benue state occasioned by attacks on rural communities of the state by herdsmen lamenting that the bloodbath had become too much.
The Governor spoke yesterday during a state funeral service in honour of the 26 victims of March 5 herdsmen attacks on Omusu community, Ojigo Edumoga held at St. Bernard Primary School Ugwu-Okpoga in Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue state, amid wailings, cries and tears.
He reiterated his call for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore whom he said were the sponsors of the killings in the state based on comments credited to them and published by various media houses.
The Governor while consoling the bereaved families said “the death of the victims and many others would put an end to the massacre of Benue people.
“I will also add that the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue state has come to stay because it is the panacea to the farmers/herders crisis in this country.
“Moreover there is no land for open grazing to take place in our communities and at the same time have crop farming to go on concurrently.”
Governor Ortom who assured of his government’s quick response to every security issue in the state, disclosed that data was being gathered for the compensation of those who suffered losses and damages during herdsmen incursions in the state.
In separate remarks, his Deputy Governor, Mr. Benson Abounu Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly, Mr. James Okefe, representative of of the Otukpo Catholic Bishop Apochi, Rev. Fr. John Attah among others who commended the Governor for his support to the bereaved families urged the people of the state to remain resolute in their support for the grazing law.
On their part, the ethnic leaders of the state, represented by Mr. Amalia Amali and the representative of Movement Against Fulani Occupation, MAFO, Pastor Dave Ogbole both said they saw the attacks coming and reported same to relevant authorities but nothing was done to avert the massacre.
While expressing disappointment with the federal government over its inactions towards the killings, Pastor Ogbole called on the international community to rise up and stop a repeat of Rwanda in Nigeria, warning that the resolve by Benue people to remain law abiding should not be mistaken for cowardice.
In a sermon, Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Benue state chapter, Rev. Akpen Leva prayed God to intervene and save the state from herdsmen incursions and further bloodshed.
RSG Marks Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Day In Low Key
The Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, has said that the state government would celebrate the 63rd Independence Day of the nation in low key, as directed by the Federal Government.
Briefing the Central Planning Committee on the development in his office in Port Harcourt, yesterday, Danagogo said that the church thanksgiving service and parade events would now hold on Sunday, October 1 as against Monday, October 2 earlier slated for the parade.
He added that the venue of the parade ground would now be the Government House at 2pm.
Danagogo noted that because the anniversary was going to be observed in low key, school children and voluntary organisations would no longer participate in the parade, as earlier planned.
The SSG further confirmed that the church service would still hold at the St. Paul’s Cathedral Church by Rebisi Flyover in Diobu at 10am.
He called on all invited guests to adjust their programmes to fit into the new schedule so as to ensure successful Independence Day celebration in the state.
Danagogo noted that the state Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, would inspect the Guard of Honour at the Government House Ground.
“Please, invited guests are requested to be seated before His Excellency arrives for all the events,” the SSG advised.
Suspend Planned Strike, Senate Begs Labour Unions
As Nigeria marks her 63rd anniversary of independence, today, the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, has appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to suspend their plan to embark on an indefinite strike in the national interest.
Bamidele noted that the Federal Government and all its relevant agencies are working underground to come up with viable options in response to the demands of organised labour.
In a statement, yesterday, Bamidele congratulated Nigerians across all socio-economic and political strata on the 63rd anniversary since Nigeria became an independent nation.
Bamidele observed that Nigeria, from October 1, 1960 to date, despite her internal challenges, remained “a strong, united and indivisible nation that still provides strong leadership not only for West Africa but also the entire Africa.”
With the new government at the helm of affairs, Bamidele assured Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora that the federation would soon come out of diverse challenges undermining her progress, citing diverse development-driven reforms that the new government has initiated.
The Senate leader, therefore, urged Nigerians to team up with the new government to lead the federation out of the doldrums; implement key reforms that would create limitless opportunities for her teeming young population and rebuild global confidence in the country.
He, specifically, appealed to the leadership of the NLC and TUC not to embark on an indefinite strike in the national interest, saying such an action “will further inflict pains on Nigerians at the time the new government is working hard to address their concerns and grievances.
“At a time like this, labour unions are advised to embrace dialogue rather than consider options that will compound the sufferings of the people. At a time like this, all parties are supposed to go into negotiation with absolute trust in the new government.”
He noted that President Bola Tinubu’s economic reforms would soon begin to yield positive outcomes that would exponentially boost the standard of living among Nigerians irrespective of their socio-economic status.
The Senate leader hailed the founding fathers of Nigeria “for their unalloyed patriotism, towering nationalism, uncommon sacrifice and dogged struggle that culminated in the independence of the country on October 1, 1960.
“As Nigerians, we are under obligation to ensure that the labour of our heroes will never be in vain. I congratulate Nigerians as our nation turns 63 as a strong, united and indivisible nation that the world over is now waiting for to occupy her rightful place among nations.”
Bamidele enjoined Nigerians to maximise the opportunity inherent in their comradeship, willful togetherness and collective desire to further travel the journey ahead and make Nigeria a better place to proudly bequeath to the next generation.
He, however, reassured all stakeholders that the 10th Senate would continue to make impactful legislations for Nigeria’s common good; under the leadership of the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
NEC Pleads With Labour To Shelve Strike
The National Economic Council (NEC) has urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) not to abandon dialogue in their quest for better welfare for their members.
The Council also appealed to the unions to suspend their planned nationwide indefinite strike schedule to start on October 3.
Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State stated this while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the NEC meeting in Abuja, yesterday.
He said that the nation was at a very critical moment in its history, adding that some States took over such labour crisis when they assumed office in May.
According to him, some of such States just resolved the crisis and will be unfair for the labour to return to another industrial action.
The Plateau State governor said that the proposed industrial action would have immense effect on the economy of both the states and the Federal Government.
He said that the NEC expressed genuine concern about the situation in the country and appealed for calm and patience among Nigerians.
“The National Economic Council (NEC) deliberated on the planned indefinite strike by the National leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to proceed on an indefinite strike on Oct. 3, 2023.
“The council noted further the implications of the planned strike on the economy and the nation and thus urge members to continue to engage with the leadership of their respective states.
“It appeals to them to suspend the action and to continue on the path of dialogue with the Federal Government. This is the appeal of the council.”
Mutfwang said that the council appreciated the concerns raised by the NLC to have those issues addressed, adding that NEC also appealed for time to address the concerns of labour.
“We also believe that President Bola Tinubu will be addressing the nation on Oct. 1, and some of the concerns of labour will be appropriately addressed in the president’s speech.
“It is therefore important to note that it’s a federation issue, so whatever happens the labour is represented in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“And NEC is appealing that discussion should continue at the state levels because there will be peculiarities as to the issues to be addressed concerning the demands of labour and therefore dialogue is the way to go.
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