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NASS, Boko Haram, corruption and the rest of us

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By Richard Ihediwa

The two chambers of the National Assembly resumed plenary on Tuesday with the committee resuming sitting on various on-going probes including those on aviation as well as administration of pension by the Senate and that of the Capital Market by the House of Representatives.
While the committees continue to unravel startling frauds in the sectors, the Farouk Lawan led House Committee investigating alleged abuses and underhand dealings in the administration of fuel subsidy submitted its report on Wednesday in which it indicted a number of top officials in the sector.
The report of the Farouk Lawan’s committee came like a thunder bolt. Those indicted included Minister of Finance, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Gombe state Governor Ibrahim Dankwanbo who was Accountant General of the Federation as well as former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),  Ahmadu Ali, who was Chairman of the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA). They were indicted alongside the Nigerians National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), PPPRA and some oil marketers.
Those indicted are to refund a total of N1.06 trillion naira which was said to have been siphoned from the coffers of government in the series of abuses that charaterised the subsidy administration.
The same Wednesday, the Senate took the bull by the horn to pass a resolution in a stormy session mandating President Goodluck Jonathan to recognise that those behind the terrorist attacks by the dreaded Boko Haram sect have declared war on the nation and as such should respond with all instruments of power at the disposal of government.
Senate’s position followed the adoption of a motion by Senator Mohammed Saleh (CPC Kaduna) and ten others who drew its attention  to the recent attacks in Kaduna and other northern states.
The resolution, which came few weeks after the military high commands directed that the security formations should consider themselves to be at war with the Boko Haram sect appears to be the killer as some senators insisted that it would be criminal to negotiate with the insurgents as recommended by some quarters.
Lawmakers passed prayer five in the motion which specifically asked the “Federal Government to recognize that these terrorists have declared war on Nigeria which is to our sovereignty, existence and economic well being and response with all instruments of national powers at its disposal”.
The landmark resolution of the Senate came on the heels of arguments by some lawmakers the insurgents may be playing the script of some forces that are working to split Nigeria in 2015.
After a long debate, the upper house asked the Federal Government to flush out the sect , insisting that the activities of the group has remain the greatest threat to the existence of Nigeria .
Saleh’s motion got senators talking and showed the extent of fears they entertain about the situation as they called for immediate and decisive action against the insurgents.
They argued that the natural thing to do when somebody or group threaten the economy or social wellbeing of a nation or its corporate existence would be the use of maximum force including military power.
Another issue that came to the fore was lawmakers perception of conspiracy of silence on that that northern leaders. Lawmakers from the south heaped blames on northern leaders, who they accused of not standing up boldly to condemn the Boko Haram problem the way the leaders from the South South and South East did to end the problems of militancy and kidnapping in the areas.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session, said the authorities must stand up and end the security problems in the country which he said was threatening the corporate existence of the nation.
Ekweremadu said; “This is moment when we need to act as a Senate, act as patriotic citizens of this nation, and I am happy that we did that. The issue of security borders on the existence of this country and if this country did not exist, then there will be no Senate, House of Representatives and there will be no governor.
“It is important that the Senate begins the initiative take the next necessary step to ensure that this thing ends as quickly as possible; we cannot watch our country go down because some irresponsible people wants it so. We need to reclaim our country,” Ekweremadu said.
However, Senate’s resolution has been seen as merely the stating of the obvious as finding the solution for the insecurity problem of the nation has been on the shoulders of the President. Nigerians are now watching to see the approach that would be adopted by the authorities to put an end not only the Boko Haram problem but the general factors that lead to deviant activities including corruption as seen in various probes in the National Assembly.

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