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Published On: Fri, Nov 10th, 2017

NASS probes death of 26 Nigerians on Spanish war ship

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By Christiana Ekpa and Umar Muhammad Puma

Following the death of 26 teenage Nigerian girls who in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Italy on Sunday, the National Assembly has ordered a probe into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The senate while decrying the incident, yesterday mandated it’s committee on Diaspora, Foreign Affairs and Special Duties to investigate the circumstances leading to the murder of 26 young Nigerian girls.
This was just as the Upper Chamber blamed the federal government for the harsh economic situation in the country, which they said caused the tragedy.
The House of Representatives has also mandated its Committee on Foreign Affairs to liaise with the Ministry and Libyan Government to unravel cause of death of 26 Nigerian women at the Mediterranean Sea.
Senate quest followed a motion sponsored by Senator Rose Okoh from Cross Rivers North who brought to the attention of the Senate the reported gruesome story of the dead bodies of 26 Nigerian girls of ages fourteen to eighteen discovered in a Spanish war ship ”CANTABRIA”.
She called on the Senate to take proactive measures and go beyond mere feelings of horror to taking urgent steps towards addressing the root causes of the mass exodus of Nigerians to Europe In his contribution, Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central) who also condemned in strong term the death of the teenage girls, called on government to provide a conducive environment for development of youths in the country.
Senator Andrew Uchendu, in his contribution to the motion advised the Senate to carry out a thorough investigation of the matter as a parliament and gather enough information before taking any further steps.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who also condemned the tragedy, advised government at both federal and state levels to tackle the rising rate of unemployment in the country, and provide basic needs.
On the other hand, the House resolution was sequel to a motion under matters of urgent national importance sponsored by the Leader of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila.
Moving the motion, Gbajabiamila said the news that came in recently indicated that there were over 50 persons that were traveling in the boat.
He queried what could have led to the tragic loss of lives of 26 Nigerians.
According to him, the circumstances of the deaths made it pertinent for the House to investigate the cause to forestall future occurrence.
In his contribution Rep. Saheed Akinade-Fijabi (Oyo-APC), said the latest incident was one out of many tragic occurrences at the sea, saying that it was important to know what happened and how the women died.
Similarly, Rep. Beni Lar (Plateau-PDP) who recognized the efforts of NAPTIP at stopping human trafficking and prostitution said that more funding needed to be appropriated to the agency to improve on their activities.
Also Rep. Betty Apiafi (Rivers-PDP) said that “The rate at which Nigerians are dying on the Mediterranean Sea calls for concern’’.
The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.

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