By Festus Owete
July 23, 2009 09:12AMT
Still battling threats of impeachment over the poor implementation of the budget by the House of Representatives, President Umaru Yar’Adua was yesterday asked to resign by the House, if he can no longer provide security to Nigerians.
The House made the call while considering the motion of urgent national importance brought by Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi (PDP Enugu) on the worsening security situation in the South East, a development that he claimed has grown into a frightened dimension.
Minority Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume who cited Sections 14, 33, and 34 of the 1999 Constitution, said it is the duty of the government to provide security for the people.
He therefore urged President Umaru Yar’Adua to resign from office if he can no longer provide security for Nigerians. “If the President cannot provide solution to security problem of Nigerians, he should quit,” he said.
The call follows on the heels of a resolution by the House of Representatives to summon the Inspector General of Police Mike Okiro, to brief it on the measures being taken to arrest the deteriorating security situation in the zone.
Mr. Okiro is to appear before the Joint Committee on Police and National Security of the lower legislative chamber.
The House also urged the governors of the states in the zone to design and implement a common security strategy in tackling the security situation in the zone.
Mr. Ozomgbachi, while leading the debate on the motion, said the security situation in Anambra State has become a subject matter of national and international concern.
He said that recently, there have been increasing cases of robbery, kidnapping and killings, some of which he said took place in broad daylight.
The lawmaker recalled that last week, there were robbery incidents in the state capital, Awka and some other towns during which many people were killed.
According to him, the robbers who raided banks operated for about four hours without any confrontation by the police. He said that after they operated in Anambra, they moved to a town in Enugu where they robbed other banks and burnt down a police station.
Mr. Ozomgbachi said that during one of the operations, a member of the House, Paulinus Igwe (PDP, Ebonyi) was shot and is now lying critically ill in the hospital. Four of his aides were killed.
He stated that banks are closing because the situation is dangerous.
Describing the situation as unacceptable, he noted that the House can no longer watch it without taking action, stressing: “It is our responsibility to provide security for the people. We should take a decisive action now.”
The lawmaker, therefore, prayed the House to mandate the Joint Committees on Police and National Security to invite Mr. Okiro to brief them on the measures being taken to tackle the situation.
Seconding the motion, Darlington Okeke (PDP, Ebonyi) said the poor security situation, cases of kidnapping, and killings are not limited to Anambra State pointing out that the entire South East zone is not safe. He recalled that a serving senator from Abia State was recently attacked.
He added that reports shows that there have been 512 cases of kidnapping in the country with Abia State accounting for 110, Imo 88, Delta 44, and Akwa Ibom 40.
Mr. Okeke said that because of the situation in the zone, lawmakers cannot go home but stay back in Abuja.
Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra) said the situation in Anambra State is politically-motivated and that the governor, Peter Obi should look for “politically-motivated solution”.
She added: “Nobody is sleeping in Awka. We are living in bondage and the situation is beyond the police.” According to her, banks customers are attended to through the back door.
Nnenna Ukeje (PDP, Abia) said that the situation in Abia State has assumed “endemic proportions” adding that by 7pm the state is shut down.
Overah Joyce (PDP, Delta), Mayor Eze (PDP, Imo), and another member from Akwa Ibom gave a graphic account of the situations in their states.
Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauchi), who is also the House chairman of the Committee on Police Affairs said that Nigeria is under-policed because it has only about 368,000 policemen to police 150 million Nigerians while the police budget is low compared to those of other armed forces in the country.
Proliferation of arms
Mr. Ningi also said that the situation in the South East zone is worsening because of the proliferation of arms in the nearby Niger Delta region.
Tergu Tsegba, however, said that the security situation in Anambra State has become worse because the state has the highest number of motor parks in the country.
When it was put to vote by the Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, the motion was unanimously adopted.