*Says insecurity pushing Nigeria to edge of precipice
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Baba Adamu
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has warned that Nigeria armed forces are already overstretched to almost their elastic limit, just as he expressed concerns that banditry, kidnapping, insurgency and other attacks on public facilities are currently pushing the country to the edge of precipice.
Lawan who made these worrisome remarks at the special session on the second anniversary of the Ninth Senate, said “Security challenges are currently pushing our country to the edge of the precipice.
“Insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and attacks on public facilities are occurring daily in many parts of the country with our security forces stretched almost to their elastic limit.
“To address the emergency, we passed several resolutions as part of our legislative interventions and kept engaging with the Executive in order to achieve the desired outcome.”
Referring to the 2010 Electoral Act Amendment, Lawan said the Senate will ensure the passage of the Bill before its long vacation in August, adding that though there has been remarkable progress, there are still gaps and inadequacies in the electoral process.
“Our electoral process has shown remarkable improvement in the Fourth Republic with the cycle now virtually stable. In 2023, we shall have the seventh regular cycle of general elections, the longest in the history of our nation.
“Despite the progress, gaps and inadequacies have been identified in the process. The electoral reform Bill seeks to address these gaps and we have committed ourselves to passing the Bill before the annual summer recess.
“We also promised to break the jinx on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and we are on the verge of doing this by finally passing the Bill this month after about 20 years of failed attempts.”
In addition, Lawan pointed out the commitments of the 9th Senate towards the fight against corruption, which he identified as the thrust of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He said the 9th Senate within its two years in office, passed Bills aimed at strengthening the fight against corruption and the institutions of war against corruption.
“The fight against corruption is critical to the progress of Nigeria and is a key point in the Agenda of the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari. As part of our commitment to the success of the fight, we passed the Chartered Institute of Forensic Investigative Professionals of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill 2021 to boost institutional capacity for fighting corruption in Nigeria.
“We believe that the new institute will provide the kind of services that can nip corruption in the bud in both the public and private sectors. We had earlier passed the Public Procurement Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB.109); and the Public Procurement Act, 2007 (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB.158) also to block the avenues for corruption in the procurement process by MDAs.”
Speaking also on Constitution amendment efforts of the 9th Senate, Lawan said in line with the primary duty of the parliament which is to make law for the good governance of the country, the Senate passed hundred of bills, legislation, including confirmation of appointments for Executive Arm of Government.
He said about 742 Bills were introduced during the two sessions of the Assembly, out of which 58 have been passed, while 355 Bills have gone through first reading, and 175 have gone through second reading and have been referred to the relevant committees for further legislative business.
He said future that 11 Bills referred by the House of Representatives for concurrence have also been passed, with all the Bills cutting across all the sectors and touching most areas of needs in the lives of the citizens.
He said in respect of Constitutional amendment, the Senate just concluded Public Hearings in six Geo-Political Zones of the Country from which the Committee collected Memoranda from Nigerians and listened to their views.
“The zonal hearings were followed by a national public hearing in Abuja last week. The essence of this process is to consider the major issues that Nigerians feel strongly about. We believe consensus building is essential to achieve the changes. It is gladdening, however, that Nigerians have shown enthusiasm for the process.
“It is in line with this that we have set a target to consider the report of the Committee on the Amendment of 1999 Constitution before we embark on this year’s summer break in July.”