- Queries return of fuel subsidy, scarcity even with increase in pump price
- Charges colleagues not to shun legislative duties as political activities begin
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has said there are no sanctuaries anywhere in the country for killers and other hardened criminals who feed on the blood of people, adding that the solution to the mindless killings and bloodletting lies in the ability to shun buck passing, while the government lives up to its responsibility of providing security for the lives of every Nigerian, irrespective of where they live.
Reacting to the killings in Rivers State, Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Zamfara, Adamawa, Edo and other States, he said during his opening remarks at the resumption of the House of Representatives from its Christmas break that that there are no sanctuaries anywhere in the country for killers and other hardened criminals who feed on the blood of other people.
Going further, he stressed that as leaders, they cannot afford to fold their hands and pretend that all is well with the country, saying , “We have a responsibility to all Nigerians regardless of creed or ethnicity in line with the constitutionally stated primary purpose of the government we serve in, which is securing the welfare including the lives and property of our people. This we must do by ensuring that every law abiding Nigerian is protected where ever he choses to live in the country and every one who is up in arms against our citizens is quickly brought to justice where ever they are in the country. That there are no sanctuaries anywhere in the country for killers and other hardened criminals who feed on the blood of our people.”
“We are all painfully aware of the wave of murders of innocent Nigerians that has been sweeping through the nation. From the senseless killings in Rivers State, to the killing rampages in Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Zamfara, Adamawa, Edo and other States; our dear country is now being painted red with the blood of the innocents on account of unremitting bedlam callously promoted by cold hearted merchants of death.
“On behalf of the House of Representatives, I wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to the governments, people, and especially families of those who have lost loved ones in these primitive, mindless and despicable rounds of bloodletting across our dear country.
At these moments of intense outpouring of grief across the nation, it is important that we shun buck passing and accept responsibility for these wanton killings without which we will never find a solution to this evil. We cannot afford to fold our hands and pretend that all is well with our country. We cannot throw up our hands in defeat. We have a responsibility to all Nigerians regardless of creed or ethnicity in line with the constitutionally stated primary purpose of the government we serve in, which is securing the welfare including the lives and property of our people. This we must do by ensuring that every law abiding Nigerian is protected where ever he choses to live in the country and every one who is up in arms against our citizens is quickly brought to justice where ever they are in the country. That there are no sanctuaries anywhere in the country for killers and other hardened criminals who feed on the blood of our people.”
He added that no one or group should be allowed to foist the reign of tragedy and group polarisation on Nigeria, while noting that while violence does not result in victories, democratic ways of addressing conflicts through compromise and consensus should be adopted for their effectiveness.
“Those who pride themselves in violence must be reminded of the self defeating nature of violence: the fact that violence only begets violence and that true victory has never been won by violence. It was Mahatma Gandhi who delivered a timeless rebuke to the fools who worship brute force by reminding them that, “victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat for it is momentary”.
We have to preach this message to our people who must not only accept the inevitability of conflict as well as the necessity for tolerance but must learn not to pursue conflict violently but democratically, in ways that result in compromise and consensus as the culture of democracy demands.”
While expressing condolence to the government, people and victims of the attacks, he disclosed that himself and the Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki, were briefed by President Muhammadu Buhari on measures been taken to contain killer herdsmen and other criminals who kill with impunity across national flash points, saying if implemented as planned, it will put an end to the sad incidents.
On the issue of the alleged reintroduction of fuel subsidy and scarcity of the product, the Speaker charged the relevant committees of the House to unravel the causes and claims, saying except the Executive adduces compelling reasons why the reverse is the case, it will amount to a betrayal to still pay subsidies after they had been assured that it had been ended.
“We expected that with the legislative cooperation given to the Executive arm, to effect an increase in the fuel price from N87 per litre to N145, and based on their assurances, incidents of fuel scarcity would be a thing of the past. We were also assured that fuel subsidy had come to an end. From recent developments on this subject, except the Executive adduces compelling reasons why the reverse is the case, we will be justified in feeling betrayed.
“As a parliament, we must unravel the causes of this scarcity and the alleged re-introduction of fuel subsidy. I charge our relevant Committees to get to the root of these issues through the instrumentality of oversight to enable the House take an informed position on this totally undeserving precarious situation that our already overburdened citizens are subjected to. This has to be done with minimal delay.”
Hon Dogara charges his colleagues to finish all work on the 2018 budget proposal expeditiously and ensure that their legislative duties so not suffer as political activities pick up.
“We must however remember that we were elected to represent the people for a four year term. The work is not finished. This is the time to conclude many outstanding legislative measures pending before us.
“The economy must remain the central focus of our legislative activities in 2018, in order to consolidate Nigeria’s exit from economic recession. To this end, we must prioritise high economic impact Bills and pass them before the onset of political activities. The Committee on Rules and Business is hereby charged to schedule the consideration of these Bills at the earliest possible time.
“The Electoral Act Amendment process must be speedily concluded, this first quarter. Same with Constitutional alteration process, especially those on electoral matters. The Rules of the game must be clear to the actors early enough before the game begins. This is absolutely necessary in order to improve on the standards we set in the last general elections.
“Furthermore, the practice of divesting various Ad-Hoc and Standing Committees with jurisdiction over referrals that have refused or neglected to submit their Reports on various Bills and Resolutions would continue in the new year. We would strengthen the Rules and Business Committee of the House, which is the secretariat of the Committee of Whole, to consider the Reports divested from various Committees. Indeed, all Ad-Hoc Committees that have not submitted their Reports within the time frame given to them, and without getting an extension of time from the House would be divested of jurisdiction and that without further notice.”