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Published On: Thu, Jul 11th, 2019

Engage Shi’ite protesters to resolve grievances, Reps tell Buhari

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By Christiana Ekpa

The House of Representatives yesterday asked the Federal Government to engage the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) with the aim of resolving whatever their grievances amicably.

The Lower Chamber members said there is a need to tackle the issues leading to the detention of the leader of the Islamist group, Ibrahim El Zakzaky which has become urgent following the invasion of the National Assembly on Tuesday by armed members of the group.

According to the lawmakers, the Shi’ite issue is likely to bludgeon into another violent insurgent movement like the Boko Haram group if immediate political solution is not found.

The decision of the House followed the adoption of a motion on urgent national importance sponsored by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, who expressed concern over the Tuesday invasion of the National Assembly by members of the group that led to destruction of property and injury of several security officers.

According to Elumelu, the invasion did not only exposed National Assembly security apparatus, but put to question the essence of a key function of protecting citizens’ lives and property.

He added that the invasion of the parliament was shocking to the extent that lawmakers were left scared, the Minority noted that the security put in place to protect the legislature was overpowered by the rampaging group that on destruction spree, shooting and destroying property.

He said it has become imperative to interface with the executive on the need for maximum

While noting that the injured security officers must be taken care of as they were on the line of service when the crisis broke out, the Minority Leader emphasised the need for insurance for security officers.

“There’s is also a need to ensure the  security of the National Assembly because most times, you see strange people approaching and hassling lawmakers, Sergeant-at-Arms must be empowered to carry out their job,” he added

Debating the motion, Hon. Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) said there is a need to interface with the executive over security for the National Assembly even as he reminded his colleagues that the House had previously law for Sergeant-at-Arms to bear arms.

On his part, Chief Whip Muhammad Monguno (APC, Borno) warned that immediate solution must be sought to prevent the MIM turning into an insurgent group.

He noted that Boko Haram insurgents began much the same way IMN is unfolding when necessary action was not taken by the then government, Luke Oniofik (PDP, Akwa Ibom) said IMN issue needed serious handling, while urging President Muhammadu Buhari do whatever is necessary to solve the problem of INM Also Baba Salam (PDP Osun) said the Nigerian government should be futuristic in its approach to solving the problem and nip the brewing insurgency, “The root cause of the problem must be addressed once and for all,” he noted.

The motion which was presided over by the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila was unanimously adopted after a voice vote.

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