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Published On: Wed, Apr 18th, 2018

Senate threatens shutdown to protest rampant killings

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senate-chamber• As gunmen kill fresh 32 in Nasarawa

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, yesterday said that the lawmakers are ready to shutdown the parliament until the Executive acts to ensure that rampant killings across the country are brought to an end in Nigeria.
Also in a related development, gunmen yesterday allegedly killed fresh 32 persons in the Southern Senatorial district of Nasarawa state.
Senator Suleiman Adokwe, who represents the district in the Senate made this revelation through a motion he brought before the red chamber.
Ekwerenmadu, who made the threat in his remarks during debate on Nasarawa killings in which lawmakers took turns to lament the rising insecurity in the country, said the government must rise up to the challenge.
This was following a point of order raised by Senator Suleiman Adokwe (PDP, Nasawara South), on the alleged killing and displacement of natives in Southern part of the state.
The Deputy Senate President said that Senate will not stop talking about the killings in Nigeria, and North Central in particular, until it stops.
He said, there is no doubt that Nigeria should seek for help from the international community, adding that there is no reason to be ashamed of seeking external help by any country. He pointed out that Nigeria cannot be calling investors to the country when there is insecurity.
“If it is necessary to shutdown the parliament until the killings are resolved we are prepared to do it. People cannot be talking about elections when there is insecurity and people are dying. There must be a country before anybody can talk about politics”, he said.
Earlier, moving the motion to call the attention of the Senate to the alleged killing of 32 persons in Nasarawa, Adokwe said: “I like to draw the attention of the Senate to the ongoing crisis in the Southern Senatorial District of Nasarawa State.
“Throughout the weekend, and up to the moment that I am speaking, gunmen have unleashed terrorist mayhem on the people of the senatorial district, leaving many dead bodies, numerous wounded persons and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons. Their victims are largely the Tiv speaking ethnic nationalities with a reported dead toll of 32 persons; and we are still counting.
“The real tragedy is not in the well coordinated and simultaneous carnage across Awe, Obi, Keana and Doma local government areas of Southern senatorial district but the tragedy lies from the fact that for four days running, this mayhem continues unhindered, unchecked, unstopped by any arm of the law and security enforcement agencies.
“Indeed, right under the noses of the armed forces and the police, this killing is sustained unabated by sheer negligence or refusal to act by the security agencies. It is very sad that in Nigeria, with all the security forces, a whole senatorial district will go on being punished by militia and no action coming from government. This is a sad commentary.
“As I speak to you now, the Southern senatorial district has been completely emptied by the militia; and they are occupying all the houses and villages of the Tiv people across all local government, up to five of them, and they are just within 30 minutes drive from the state capital, Lafia.
“It was even with impunity that we woke up yesterday to see that the entire city of Abuja was under siege. This country is gradually falling into anarchy; and we need to wake up to our responsibilities. It is very sad that corpses are being littered everywhere,” he said.
Speaking also, Senator Barnabas Gemade (APC, Benue), said Nigeria is becoming a state without control, experiencing anarchy, adding that the country is presently witnessing ethnic cleansing, hence senior nationalists make self defence comments.
“It is a shame that a sitting government could watch criminality go to the level that we have seen it today; rather than rise up and take very decisive steps against it, we embark on denials and simply shield this evil by just explaining with flimsy excuses that these are communal clashes in those communities.
“Indeed, the carnage in Nasarawa South affects mainly people of my ethnic group, who are in large population in Nasarawa South. It is the same kind of killing that is going on in Goma local government, Logo local government and Gwer West local government in Benue State. And it is the same kind of killing we are witnessing in Wukari and Takum local government. It is targeted at a particular ethnic nationality, which is my own people.”
Also speaking, Senator Marafa said it is not right to call the killers Fulani herdsmen, as that is not helpful in resolving the issues. He said there are killings in Zamfara with half of the population being Hausa and the other being Fulani.
He said giving the killings an ethnic coloration is not solving the problem but compounding it; just as he lamented that government spends billions of dollars on security facilities but the police on the streets claim they do not have enough logistic capacity to deal with the insecurity.
He said there are people who are not Muslims or Fulani but are involved in the cattle rearing, warning that government should know that to defeat the criminals who are united in their crimes, the leaders of the country should also unite in the fight against the criminals, irrespective of religion or ethnic group.
Similarly, James Manager, argued that ascribing ethnicity or religion to the killings is missing the point, because in Zamfara where a lot of people are being killed is a Fulani dominated community, adding that the issue of self defence is natural because that is the first action in any attack.

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