As Reps mull public hearing on killings
By Umar Muhammad Puma
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has said there are no sanctuaries anywhere in the country for killers and other hardened criminals who feed on the blood of people, adding that the solution to the mindless killings and bloodletting lies in the ability to shun buck passing, while the government lives up to its responsibility of providing security for the lives of every Nigerian, irrespective of where they live.
“We are all painfully aware of the wave of murders of innocent Nigerians that has been sweeping through the nation. From the senseless killings in Rivers State, to the killing rampages in Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Zamfara, Adamawa, Edo and other States; our dear country is now being painted red with the blood of the innocents on account of unremitting bedlam callously promoted by cold hearted merchants of death.”
Dogara made the declaration while reacting to the killings in Rivers State, Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Zamfara, Adamawa, Edo and other States, during his opening remarks at the resumption of the House of Representatives from its Christmas break.
Going further, he stressed that as leaders, they cannot afford to fold their hands and pretend that all is well with the country, saying, “We have a responsibility to all Nigerians regardless of creed or ethnicity in line with the constitutionally stated primary purpose of the government we serve in, which is securing the welfare including the lives and property of our people.
“This we must do by ensuring that every law abiding Nigerian is protected where ever he chooses to live in the country and everyone who is up in arms against our citizens is quickly brought to justice where ever they are in the country. That there are no sanctuaries anywhere in the country for killers and other hardened criminals who feed on the blood of our people.”
“At these moments of intense outpouring of grief across the nation, it is important that we shun buck passing and accept responsibility for these wanton killings without which we will never find a solution to this evil. We cannot afford to fold our hands and pretend that all is well with our country. We cannot throw up our hands in defeat.
“We have a responsibility to all Nigerians regardless of creed or ethnicity in line with the constitutionally stated primary purpose of the government we serve in, which is securing the welfare including the lives and property of our people. This we must do by ensuring that every law abiding Nigerian is protected where ever he chooses to live in the country and everyone who is up in arms against our citizens is quickly brought to justice where ever they are in the country. That there are no sanctuaries anywhere in the country for killers and other hardened criminals who feed on the blood of our people.”
While expressing condolence to the government, people and victims of the attacks, he disclosed that he and the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, were briefed by President Muhammadu Buhari on measures been taken to contain killer herdsmen and other criminals who kill with impunity across national flash points, saying if implemented as planned, it will put an end to the sad incidents.
The House of Representatives has also resolved to set up a committee to interface with stakeholders through public hearing to discuss and proffer solutions to the killings in te country by suspected herdsmen.
The lawmakers further condemned the killings in all ramifications, calling on the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the crisis.
These resolutions followed a motion moved by Rep. Babatunde Kolawale during plenary.
Moving the motion, Kolawale noted that the recent attacks on farmers and farming communities across the country and Benue in particular, violates section 33(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which gurantees right to life to every citizen.
He further noted that the incessant attacks on farmers and framing communities will ultimately result in food shortage, artificial scarcity and hampering of the drive of the federal government to diversify the nation’s economy through Agriculture.
Also reacting to the motion, Rep. Wale Raji stated that it was unfortunate that the security agencies have failed to protect the lives of people in the country.
“In other societies, the officers concerned should not be occupying their positions as at now,” he said.
Rep. Afe Olowokere also speaking said: “The President has not helped matters. The president has not even uttered a word. We will failing in our duty if nothing is done. We call on federal government to put an end to this, and identify their causes,” he said.
Speaking further, Sadiq Ibrahim (Adamawa) said: “The herdsmen need our protection, their lives are completely attached to the animal they rear.
“We cannot make laws to ban open grazing while we have not provided alternatives for the herdsmen. We have to make sacrifices. The history of mankind is the history of migration; we have to build grazing reserves,” he said.
Contributing, Rep. John Dyegh condemmed the herdsmen’s refusal to ranches, saying, “It Is not right for herdsmen to enter our land, destroy our crops and we all are watching. We have asked these herdsmen to come and buy lands, but they have refused. Rearing of Cow is business. So why can’t they buy lands for their business?”
Rep. Hassan Sale said: “What we are seeing is a failure from the president down to even the National Assembly. We are expected to do more – even the President needs to seat up.
“We were with the President recently and our take home was nothing. Nobody is a cow. You cannot continue to use other people’s land for your own business, and at the end kill them.
“This administration has failed the Benue people and the sanctity of human life. That is why our president choose to commission projects instead of coming to commiserate with Benue people. The solution is ranching.
The Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, while condemning the killings said: “Under no circumstances should the killings be justified. Let me fully condemn what happened. The borders are porous. We need to put an end to these killings,” he added.