SENATORS were talking tough again yesterday.
They raised the alarm over alleged occupation of parts of Nigeria by foreign militia men who kill, maim and abduct Nigerians for ransom.
The lawmakers came short of pushing for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly looking the other way while Nigerians are being killed by marauders invaders.
The session came on the heels of Tuesday’s 14-day ultimatum for Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris to fish out the perpetrators of the New Year’s Day massacre in Benue State.
Over 70 people killed in the mayhem were buried in a mass grave in the state capital, Makurdi, last week.
At the end of the debate, the upper chamber resolved to suspend plenary for two days next week to convoke a security summit to enable stakeholders to dissect the worrisome situation and a way forward.
The debate followed a motion of urgent national importance raised by Senator Shuiabu Lau on the gory state of affairs in Taraba State.
Lau, who represents Taraba North, said over 70 people have died in the conflict, which started in Numan, Adamawa State.
The situation, he said, portends a grave danger to national security.
Hardly had Lau concluded his narrative when Senator Ben Murray-Bruce said that the country appear to have become lawless.
The Bayelsa East lawmaker said it was disgusting that everyday someone either get killed, kidnapped, or raped without those charged with the protection of lives and property doing anything.
He noted that it was not in doubt that the country is being occupied by trained militia who kill at will.
Murray-Bruce insisted that it was not “acceptable for the country to be invaded by foreign mercenaries and all we do is have conversations; enough is enough.”
He noted that if the executive arm of the government wanted the Senate to do its work, Senate President Bukola Saraki should immediately be appointed President so that he could deal with issues decisively.
He added that Saraki seemed to be the only person concerned about the worsening security situation.
Senator Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara Central) told his colleagues that Zamfara State was being occupied by a militia.
Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West) cautioned that it was wrong for senators to hide under legislative immunity to attack others.
Adamu said that it was wrong to lump all the actions of the government and paint them black.
He vowed that he was going to be the lone voice in defence of the government, he was prepared to bear his father’s name.
The former Nasarawa State governor, however, added that his caution against sweeping abuse of the government did not mean that the country was not facing security challenges.
Murray-Bruce said: “It seems to me that Nigeria is becoming a lawless country. A country with no rules and regulation, a country where laws are not adhered to. A country where there is no consequence for bad behaviour. We have a government, security agents, or we don’t. These are the fundamental issues at stake today because every day since we got here someone has got killed, raped, throat slit, killed at gun point and every day we have resolutions and nothing is done.
“It is time the Federal Government of Nigeria act because they have been voted into office; they have an executive function to protect the lives and properties of Nigeria. This is one of many examples that we have been accosted with since we have been in this hollow chambers. I am disgusted by what I am hearing.
“It is disgusting to find pregnant women their stomach slit, unborn babies removed and if these herdsmen are allowed to continue to rampage then frankly speaking, they are a terrorist organisation and a terrorist organisation must be dealt with decisively by the military.
”It is no longer a situation where we call on police men who do not have the arms or training to face folks with AK 47, well trained militia, those who now occupy lands that belong to Nigeria. If we can fight Boko Haram we can fight the herdsmen. If the security agencies cannot do their job then the leadership must be fired.
“There must be consequence for bad behaviour. You are either in control or you are not. The ministers in charge should resign Nigerians involved should be fired or resign otherwise they should be impeached. Nigerians to be killed like cattle, it is not acceptable for the country to be invaded by foreign mercenaries and all we do is have conversations, enough is enough. I am urging the Federal Government of Nigeria to wake up.
”It is as if the Senate is now the executive arm of government. I am just sorry for my colleague. Senator Marafa in a closed door session told us what is happening in Zamfara State but he didn’t say it in open house. What he said here frightened everyone. Zamfara State is being occupied by foreign mercenaries.
”That is a fact of life. If that is the case, what are we doing about it. If the people responsible for the protection of lives and propriety in Nigeria cannot do their job, what happens in civilised countries, they are fired.
”Senator Shehu Sani on Television today (yesterday) explained it eloquently and he was dead on point. If the FG wants to run a red chamber to become the executive in Nigeria, then let us appoint the Senate President to be the President of Nigeria. Let us do the job of the executive because it doesn’t make any sense. Every day we deal with all these issues. Babies are being brought into this world with no future. As soon as they grow up they pick up AK 47 and start killing fellow human beings. All we do is talk, talk, talk, talk.
“The minister of defence should tell us what he is doing; If the cabinet is incompetent then we should fire them. You don’t understand this. Maybe cameras should go and see these dead bodies. May NBC should change its laws and go and see these bodies as if we are in Liberia or Cameroun. We are becoming a barbaric nation with no respect for life. The executive should speak today and explain to Nigerians what is happening in this country.
”If Saraki is the only one interested, let him become the president of Nigeria and that solves the problem. We cannot continue like this. We either fix this problem or everybody should shut up and resign from public office.”
Marafa said: “Mr President, also permit me to say that while we were discussing this yesterday, I received a call this morning from my home town that some people were kidnapped.
“Zamfara State is now under the control of the militia and the most sad thing (sic) Mr. President, is that the governor knows these people, the deputy governor knows these people. I want to say it again and again that the governor knows the perpetrators of this crime. They move around freely with their arms. I said it yesterday I was home during the fuel crisis.
“In my own town, they are the ones that judge between people. The people no longer go to the local authorities, that is, the emirs and chiefs, they don’t go to police, if there is a problem they go to the bush and tell these people that ‘I have a problem with somebody’. This is a national emergency. In all the local governments, this is the truth of the matter. “
Senator Isah Hamman Misau (Bauchi Central) said: “When we were on holiday, so many people were going behind that they should try and remove the Senate President. During this holiday, a minister was spearheading the plot. What is the reason? They said that the Senate President would leave APC, that they should create problems for him. What kind of country is this? Everything is about religion, about tribe.
“It is high time for us to do something. If it is about talking here or holding conference, it will not solve this problem. We should look at the security, who and who are holding offices; are they appointed by merit?
“So many appointments in this government are not on merit. Some people have taken over the government as if they are even above the President. We say we are fighting corruption, Babachir David Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation) that the Vice-President’s committee indicted, they are pursuing other people. Why can’t they take Babachir to court and all of us are here keeping quiet? People who have not done anything are always in court.
“This Attorney-General is becoming a nuisance, going to court to stop Maina (probe) and we are still here talking.”