WITH clear unanimity, delegates, yesterday, decried the increasing rate of insecurity and corruption in the country, noting that unless these two problems were adequately tackled, the country’s search for peace might remain elusive.
Almost all the delegates who spoke at the first session of the resumed debate on President Goodluck Jonathan’s inaugural speech toed this line of thought and appealed to the Federal Government and security agencies to put mechanism in place to arrest the situation.
The delegates’ emphasis on security in particular, came following the latest killings of people in Zamfara State coupled with last Thursday’s abduction of the son of Elder statesman and one of the delegates to the conference, Chief Edwin Clark.
Shortly after resumption of plenary, Dr Bello Haliru Mohammed, from Kebbi State, raised a motion calling the attention of delegates to the abduction of Chief Clark’s son and the weekend’s killings of people in Zamfara by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
Bello, a former chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who is at the conference under the platform of elder statesmen, called on the conference to send an emissary to felicitate with Chief Clark over the ugly incident.
The former Defence Minister, while moving the motion began: “We were seated here last week when we heard that the son of Chief Edwin Clark, one of our own elder statesmen in this conference, was kidnapped… Fortunately during the weekend, we received the news that Egbekeme Clark has been released safe and sound. It was good news to us all, but I will like to move that this house sends a message of felicitation to Chief Edwin Clark.”
He said: “These kidnappers are not spirits. Boko Haram are not spirits. They live with us. I am happy that the son of Chief Clark has been released without paying a dime. I use this opportunity to say that the FG should do more on security. We should address it more than we are doing. Our lives at are not safe… I want to appeal to government at all levels and security agencies to do something urgent and drastic to address this loss of lives which has become persistent in this country.”
While seconding the motion, Senator Adefemi Kila, representing the Nigerian Society of Engineers, said, “The security matter is very serious and germane in this country,” and decried what he referred to as “government’s current approach to arresting insecurity in the country.”
After listening to both delegates, the conference chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi (rtd) subjected the motion to a voice vote and it was unanimously supported.
Following this, Justice Kutigi, then directed that a letter of felicitation be written to Chief Clark over his son’s release.
But his directive was challenged by some delegates who requested the conference to also send a letter of commiseration to the government and people of Zamfara State. But he ruled them out of order.
Jonathan should be courageous to implement report –Jumari
As the debate continued, Prof. Mohammed Jumari an elder statesman from Sokoto, urged the president to be courageous to implement the outcome of the report that will be submitted.
He also suggested that a committee of judges should visit prisons and review the cases of inmates that have been unlawfully detained.
We need LG autonomy –Junju
On his part, Barrister Ibrahim Junju, a delegate representing the Federal Government, thanked the president for his speech, saying the President “placed responsibility on us and we must not fail the people.”
He called for autonomy for local governments, noting that Nigeria’s problems were becoming worse because according to him, local governments were not working.
Speaking also, Chairman, Trade Union Congress, TUC, Comrade Bala Kaigama, who suggested that trade unions and civil societies be placed on exclusive list, aligned with the president’s speech but noted that the “president omitted that we should apologise to youths below the age of 18 because of our injustice to them.”
“We should apologise to Nigerians below voting age because of our misdeeds. We have over 80 million youths in this country and our misdeeds have placed this country in the situation we are today,” he said.
We must see Nigeria as ours –Kawu
A newspaper columnist, Ishaq Modibo Kawu, in his submission, tasked Nigerians to see the country as theirs just as he regretted that those who found themselves in public arena have transferred public assets into private hands.
“Most crises we have in Nigeria today are as a result of the people of 60 and above years wanting to impose their colonial mentality on the people. There are governors who have ruled Nigeria and are now richer than the country.”
Governors have ruined LGs –Khalil
Ibrahim Khalil, National President of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, and a delegate representing organized labour, called for strengthening of local government areas in the country just as he regretted that state governors have rendered the councils impotent.
Akinyemi breaks rules, says I’m inexperienced
Yesterday’s plenary session ended on a jocular note with the Deputy Chairman of the Conference, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, who moderated the last lap of the proceedings forgetting to observe protocols and rules of the house.
This came after two “Points of Order” by Madam Ankio Briggs, a Federal Government delegate and Senator Adolphus Wabara, an Abia State delegate were separately taken.
Briggs had raised the order to call the attention of the conference to empty seats in the audience. She submitted that it was against the rules for delegates to desert their seats without prior notice to the leadership.
On his part, Wabara told the conference that it would be wise to send a delegation of the conference to Bauchi State to commiserate with the family of late Mamman Misau, a delegate, who died one week into the four weeks old conference.
Conscious of the closing time, tAkinyemi, who upheld the points of order announced that the time left to adjourn plenary for the day could only accommodate one speaker. He then proceeded to call on the former governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Lodoja whose turn it was to speak. It was already 6pm when Ladoja rounded off his speech.
By HENRY UMORU, JOSEPH ERUNKE & LEVINUS NWABUGHIOGU