The House of Representatives, yesterday, re-invited President Muhammadu Buhari to appear on the floor of the chamber to address the lawmakers on what his administration was doing about the high spate of insecurity across Nigeria.
This is the second invitation by the lawmakers to the President within three weeks.
The House had on April 11, 2019, unanimously adopted a motion with the mandate to issue a query to the President, asking him to explain the reason for the spate of insecurity under his administration and what he was doing to tame the situation within 48 hours.
The lawmakers resolved to “request that the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces address the House and the entire nation within 48 hours”.
At the plenary, last Tuesday, another motion was adopted on the security crises in parts of Katsina State, making the chamber to re-invite the President.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to return home and fix the security challenges facing the country.
Disclosing this in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, the party said that Buhari’s trip to the UK is ‘completely unacceptable’, noting that he practically abandon his responsibilities as the Commander-In-Chief of the country.
The PDP equally accused Buhari of abandoning his job and letting bandits, marauders and insurgents seize the nation; maim, kidnap and kill Nigerian citizens with reckless abandon.
The statement reads thus, “President Buhari’s inattention has emboldened insurgents and bandits to continue to over-run communities, unleash mayhem and bloodletting on citizens in Borno, Zamfara, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Taraba, Kaduna, Benue, Kogi and other states of the federation, including Mr. President’s home state, Katsina.
“While President Buhari wanders abroad, bandits are having a field day, pillaging communities in Katsina State; killing several persons and abducting the District Head of his hometown, Daura, Musa Umar; the father in-law of Mr. President’s security aide.
“Within this period, marauders invaded communities in Adamawa and killed no fewer than 26 innocent Nigerians; many more have been killed in Borno, Taraba, Benue and Zamfara states, where bandits also reportedly attacked Government Girls Secondary School, Moriki, and kidnapped some school girls.
“While the Buhari administration remains virtually nonchalant, kidnappers have taken over many of our major highways, with hundreds of compatriots held in captivity in forests along Kaduna-Abuja, Taraba-Katsina-Ala and other highways in the country.
“It is clear that President Buhari has not demonstrated required capacity to control the security situation and now resorts to cheap escapism, particularly in the face of allegations in the public space that certain individuals around his administration are benefitting from the situation.
“This is in addition to allegations that some of the bandits arrested, in states such as Katsina, are not Nigerians but aliens allegedly imported by the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Niger Republic to assist it in unleashing violence and rigging the 2019 general elections.
“The PDP urges the police to investigate this alleged links. The fact remains that President Buhari has completely failed our nation.
“In fact, his dereliction to duty is a clear signal that he has been practically overwhelmed, deflated and has nothing to offer.
“The situation in Nigeria today signposts the terrible condition our nation will face if the Presidential mandate is not retrieved at the tribunal to enable competent and uncompromised hands to run the affairs of our country.
“The PDP, therefore, calls on President Buhari to immediately return home and use the remaining part of his tenure to seek help instead of wandering abroad under the guise of private visits”, the PDP added.
In another development, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress and Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday held a marathon meeting with newly elected members behind closed doors.
Gbajabiamila, in the middle of the meeting, led the members-elect to address journalists, where the outgoing Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr. Omofiok Luke, who spoke on their behalf, said the incoming representatives had endorsed the Majority Leader for Speaker in the 9th National Assembly.
The members-elect were said to be 178, drawn from various political parties.
Luke said, “I am the Speaker of Akwa Ibom State and here with me are newly-elected members of the House of Representatives, and this is a conglomeration of people of different parties.
“I am of the PDP. We have members of the APC here. We have members of APGA, we have people from AA, we have people from ACP and we have people from ADC. It’s a multi-party arrangement.
“We decided to convene ourselves as newly-elected members of the House of Representatives to look at the emergence of the next leadership of the 9th Assembly and in doing so, we looked through the antecedents and credentials of those who are aspiring to lead the National Assembly.
“We acknowledge the fact that this country today, with the challenges that we have, that we need a bipartisan approach to solve the problem of Nigeria.
“And the person and the man that has shown that credibility, capacity; that has what it takes even as reflected in his manifesto, to carry the entire parties along in resolving and solving the issues of Nigeria;
the man who will not mortgage the independence of the legislature but at the same time would not engage the executive in unnecessary fisticuffs; a man who will build a good relationship between the executive and the legislature, between the legislature and the judiciary; a man who will care about the welfare of Nigerians; a man who will put the interest of Nigeria above his personal interest; and a man who will put the interest of Nigeria above the party.
“We have resolved today, to have come from our different states, from our different constituencies, and we have found as newly-elected members, having looked through the credentials and the CV; we have found Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as a man who has the capacity to lead the 9th National Assembly as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“We know that he is not going to let Nigerians down and we know and believe that he is not going to let us down and we know and believe that he is not going to let God down.”
Soon after the address, the members-elect returned to their closed-door meeting at about 6pm.
Some of those in attendance were seen each with a pack of Tecno F1 phone, which some of them gave to their orderlies and aides to hold.
RSHA: Amaewhule-Led Lawmakers Defy Court Order, Elect New Leaders
The crisis rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly took a new twist on Wednesday as lawmakers loyal to the former Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, sat under tight security in the complex.
This is contrary to the court order asking the two factions of the State House of Assembly to maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit filed by the Edison Ehie faction.
Recall that Ehie faction had obtained a court order that parties should maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit seeking to sack Amaewhule as the House Speaker.
The Rivers Assembly had become factionalised following an unsuccessful move to impeach Governor Siminialayi Fubara.
The Amaewhule-led lawmakers are believed to be loyal to Fubara’s predecessor and political godfather, Nyesom Wike.
It was learnt that ahead of Wednesday’s sitting, cleaners had on Tuesday been deployed to clean up the Assembly complex, which had been under locks, since October 29, following an explosion in the complex the night before.
One of the cleaners said they were instructed to tidy up the complex ahead of a sitting on Wednesday.
It was gathered that the Wednesday sitting was held for about two hours as a team of riot policemen and security vans were stationed in front of the House to prevent any breaches.
It was gathered that the lawmakers elected a former Chief Whip as the new Majority Leader of the Assembly.
The member, representing Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency 1, Frankline Nwabochi, was named the new Chief Whip.
An unsigned statement sent to the Assembly Press Corps obtained by The Tide said the two new principal officers accordingly took their oath of office.
Amaewhule congratulated them, charging them to be committed to their new responsibilities.
According to the statement, the lawmakers also passed the first reading of a Bill seeking to amend the Rivers State Local Government Law, No. 5 of 2018.
They also debated on the Rivers State House of Assembly Funds Management (Financial Autonomy) Bill, 2023, which passed second reading on Wednesday.
Amaewhule who described the Bill as important, expressed his conviction that Governor Fubara would assent to it after the lawmakers finally pass it.
He hinted that the governor had withheld funds meant for the Assembly for the month of November.
He said the lawmakers were determined to perform their constitutional duties despite the distractions.
He thereafter referred the Bill to the House Committee on Public Accounts for public hearing and further legislative scrutiny.
The other faction of the Assembly led by Ehie, and loyal to Fubara, had yet to react to the Wednesday development as of the time of filing this report.
Ogoni Group Mulls Recall Of Lawmakers Over Foiled Fubara’s Impeachment
An Advocacy group in Rivers State, Ogoni Development Drive (ODD), says it has begun the process to recall four Ogoni lawmakers from the Rivers House of Assembly over their alleged roles in the botched impeachment of Governor Similanayi Fubara.
The lawmakers are Dumle Maol (PDP, Gokana constituency), Barile Nwakoh (PDP, Khana), Aforji Igwe (PDP, Eleme) and Bernard Ngba (PDP, Tai).
The group’s Convener, Comrade Solomon Lenu, made this known at a news conference in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Recall that Fubara survived an alleged impeachment plot on October 30.
ODD said it had on November 10 issued a seven-day ultimatum to the four Ogoni lawmakers who partook in the plot that attempted to serve an impeachment notice to Governor Fubara.
The four lawmakers, now suspended, were asked to apologise to the Ogoni people whom they represent and to Gov. Fubara for denigrating his exalted office or risk being recalled.
“Instead of heeding this advice and embracing the olive branch extended to them, they rather embarked on an egocentric escapade,” the group said.
Lenu further said the lawmakers rather than heed to the advice by ODD, engaged in various meetings that purportedly plotted to unseat the governor.
“Governor Fubara was collectively voted for by the entire Rivers people, and as such, the action by the lawmakers has not gone well with all men and women of conscience.
“It is illogical for the erring assembly members to think it is right to impeach an innocent governor for no just cause but wrong to recall them for erring against their constituents.
“The suspended lawmakers called a bluff of ODD ultimatum, and so, we have decided to carry out this recall process in earnest, to put our democracy aright,” he said.
Lenu said the group had already reached an advanced level in sensitising and mobilising the lawmaker’s constituents to recall them.
He said that ODD had also obtained the comprehensive voters’ register of all voters in the four local government areas and constituencies.
According to him, an electronic capture form has also been created to make the petition process easier for students at various tertiary school campuses and those on holiday to sign the petition.
“So far, the response from the aggrieved constituents has been very impressive, and we shall in a few weeks’ time complete the compilation of the required signatures.
“The signatures are required for INEC to call for a referendum, which shall be carried out in branches with strict security guidance, to abort any sinister counterplot against democracy.
“We know this process is not going to be easy, but we are ready to go all the way, to create a sense of responsibility in our elected leaders,” he said.
Lenu said instilling a sense of responsibility in politicians and elected leaders would further entrench democratic tenets in the country.
The ODD convener called on the people of Ogoni to come forward and sign the petition, to end political “jamboree and illicit godfatherism” in the state.
The Tide reports that 26 lawmakers on Oct. 30 proceeded to impeach Fubara but were stopped by four pro-Fubara lawmakers led by Ehie Edison (PDP-Ahoada East II).
Mr Martins Amaewhule (Obio Akpor constituency), a close ally of a former governor, was later ousted as Speaker and Ehie sworn in as the new Speaker.
However, Amaewhule insists that he is still the Speaker of the House of Assembly, resulting in some form of confusion over the office of the Speaker.
FRSC Commander Faces Sanction Over Unauthorised Comments
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), yesterday, disowned the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, over his recent statement on Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services.
Ibrahim was quoted to have said that VIO officials did not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
But Deputy Corps Marshal, Bisi Kazeem, in a statement, yesterday, said Ibrahim’s comment was not the position of the Corps.
Kazeem added that the concerned official had been recalled to the national headquarters for necessary disciplinary action.
The statement read, “The Federal Road Safety Corps wishes to make a pertinent clarification regarding the pronouncement by the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, that Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services, do not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
“The general public is advised to disregard the statement as it had no approval of the Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu, and does not in anyway reflect the corporate or general position of the Corps.
“It is important for the public know that the laws establishing VIOs/State Traffic Management Agencies give them the statutory mandate to make arrests on different offences depending on the state within which they operate. As such, the agencies should be given the maximum cooperation for the enhancement of safety on our roads.
“On this note and in line with sustaining the Corps’ resolve that road safety is a collective responsibility, and in acknowledgement of the roles the State Traffic Management Agencies like the Vehicle Inspection Officers play in complementing the statutory responsibilities of the FRSC through enforcement of traffic laws, the Corps Marshal has ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Unit Commander to the national headquarters for necessary administrative and disciplinary actions.
“The public is admonished to always comply with all established traffic regulations and cooperate with security agencies deployed to maintain law and order on the highways, irrespective of their corporate mandate.”
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