Nigerian Senators stage ‘Buhari must go’ protest over Insecurity
Heightened by worsening insecurity in the country, Senators, across political parties, yesterday, gave President Muhammadu Buhari an ultimatum of six weeks to properly address the situation or face immediate impeachment.
Attempts to raise the motion to that effect on the Senate floor by the Minority Leader, Senator Philip Aduda, was turned down by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan earlier, after resuming plenary on Wednesday.
Even after a closed-door meeting, where the Senators agreed to issue the ultimatum publicly, Lawan was reluctant to buy in and make the decision public; hence, Aduda led others in the walk-out on a protest march to address the media.
The Senate was unusually silent on Tuesday, when it kept mum on the issue amid glaring danger lurking in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the recent threats by terrorists to abduct President Muhammadu Buhari, the Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai and lawmakers in the country.
The silence, The Guardian gathered, was due to Lawan’s overbearing influence and his quest for the legislature to be seen as loyal to the Executive.
Aduda and other senators who staged the walk out from the chamber, yesterday, chanted: ‘All we are saying, Buhari must go’.
The Minority Leader, while addressing newsmen, said they went into a closed-door session, where they deliberated on various security issues.
“We agreed that we will give the President an ultimatum, failing which we will move to give an impeachment notice.
“This was our agreement at the executive session, but when we came out, the Senate President refused to inform the public of our resolution. Since that didn’t happen, we had come here in protest to let Nigerians know that we are with them. Insecurity in Nigeria is out of hand and urgent steps needed to be taken so that the issues are addressed immediately.”
Prominent senators, who joined the protest include President Buhari’s senator, Ahmmad Babba Kaita; Adamu Bulkachuwa (Bauchi North, APC), Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA, Abia South), Ibrahim Shekarau (NNPP, Kano Central) and Francis Onyewuchi (Labour Party, Imo East).
On whether the six weeks is not too long, they said they have to start from somewhere. Senator Smart Adeyemi, representing Kogi East, said it was the decision of the Senate, saying it is wrong to say opposition senators gave the ultimatum.
“It was a collective decision of the Senate to give ultimatum. We are giving the President six weeks. On the impeachment notice, after six weeks, we will sit down and start discussion. The opposition said we must give notice of impeachment, but we insisted it had to be six weeks ultimatum. They said after six weeks what happens, we said they should wait till after six weeks first.”
In a closing remark before the upper chamber adjourned for its yearly recess, Lawan told security agencies in the country to be alert and do more to stop the spate of insecurity across the country.
He assured that the National Assembly would provide the needed support to the military to ensure the restoration of security to affected parts of the country.
The Senate President informed lawmakers that they might be called upon during recess to attend to national emergencies should the need arise. Lawan fixed September 20 as resumption from the yearly vacation.
THE Federal Government, on Wednesday, described as laughable propaganda, the threat issued by the Abuja-Kaduna train terrorists to abduct President Buhari and el-Rufai. Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, spoke while briefing newsmen after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Following the Senate resolution on the impeachment of the President if nothing was done in the next six weeks to deal with the issue, Mohammed noted that President Buhari is not unaware of the security challenges in the country, but stated that efforts were on to bring the situation under control.
He said: “Most of the questions have to do with the security situation. I want to assure you that the President is aware of all these and as a matter of fact, I think tomorrow, there’s going to be another Security Council meeting.
“So, it’s not a matter the President is taking lightly and like I’ll always, say some of the measures we’re going to take are not measures that you can discuss openly here, but we’re as concerned as you are, we’re not going to abandon our responsibility.
“As to those who have issued threats to Mr. President, I think it’s more of propaganda than anything. It’s laughable,” he said.
MEANWHILE, the Federal Capital Territory Authority has directed the closure of all private schools in Abuja. The directive comes amid threats of attacks in the capital city.
Earlier, the Federal Ministry of Education had ordered the immediate closure of one of its Unity Colleges, the Federal Government College Kwali, located in Kwali Area Council of the FCT.
However, in a statement signed by the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools in Nigeria, Abuja, it was gathered that the directive to shut down schools came from the FCT Education secretariat.
The message reads: “Dear school educators, instruction reaching me now from the Ag. Director DQA is that the FCT Education secretariat has directed that schools are to make sure all examinations going on should be ended by Wednesday, July 27, and all students including those in boarding should be allowed to go home for the holiday.
“Those writing external examinations and schools that have planned their end of year speech and prize giving day beyond Wednesday, could go ahead as planned but must put adequate security in place to safeguard both students and staff of their schools, you are addressed strictly to the above instructions.”
Confirming the authenticity of the statement, the publicity secretary, NAPPS, Abuja, Peter Edoh, said, “Yes. It is very true.”
AS aftermath of terrorists’ attack on Kuje prison in the Abuja leaving residents apprehensive and agitated, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have raised the alarm over possible occupation of Abuja by terrorists.
The Country Director, Global Rights Nigeria, Biodun Bayeiwu, said if terrorists could ambush Brigade of Guards on Bwari-Kubwa Road while on routine patrol, residents are at the mercy of the terrorists who have such bravery.
Bayeiwu said: “If the attack on the Brigade of Guards is anything to go by, then we are not at a good place. It is going to take a doubling of efforts and strategy to contain them.
“It is time for government to declare a red alert for Abuja. It is clear that the terrorists are spoiling for a showdown.”
The Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC), Ariyo-Dare Atoye, described the security situation as wrong signal to the entire country and the international community.
Atoye said: “The security situation in the nation’s capital territory has deteriorated to an embarrassing level, but not beyond the knowledge of the government in power, which has refused to act to the full extent of our law enforcement powers.
“It is becoming evident to Nigerians that terrorists and their sympathisers have infiltrated our security architecture, making intelligence gathering a shit-show.
“It is now difficult to dismiss insinuations that there could be an inherent plot to allow insecurity to fester to truncate the 2023 elections with the declaration of a state of emergency.
“Unfortunately, in all of this, President Buhari has continued to appear calm and aloof from the reality of the dangerous storms that have made landfall on our shores.”
He added: “If the President is unwilling to act decisively, the National Assembly should be willing to empower Nigerians to bear arms and defend themselves.”
THE Governing Board of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), led by its Chairperson, Ambassador Fatima Balla Abubakar, on Wednesday, appealed to the Nigerian Army to deploy more soldiers for the protection of NYSC orientations camps spread across the 36 states of the country and Abuja in view of the security situation in the country.
Speaking when the board paid a visit to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya, at Army headquarters in Abuja, Abubakar said: “The NYSC has orientation camps, which houses a minimum of 1,500 corps members in all the states and given the incidences of insecurity in the country, we are concerned about the safety of the young men and women under our care.
“We are not unaware of the security situation in the country and the many areas that require the attention of the Nigerian Army. However, we have come to you for more support, bearing in mind that the NYSC is the baby of the Nigerian Army.”
Responding, the Chief of Army Staff assured the NYSC board that the army would continue to ensure the protection of NYSC orientation camps and corps members.
FORMER Chairman of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, has, however, described the President as a “lazy and uncaring Commander-in-Chief.” The human rights lawyer disclosed this while speaking on the state of insecurity on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme yesterday.
He berated him for jetting out of the country a few hours after operatives of the Guard Brigade were ambushed and gunned down by terrorists in Abuja.
Odinkalu said it was more frustrating that the President travelled to Liberia to speak on security while leaving an insecure country behind. He countered the argument that state governors should also be blamed for the security challenges faced by the country, insisting that: “Security cannot be outsourced to the state, all the security services have only one operational chief and that is the President.
“If you are talking about the police, the army, the navy, the SSS, the NIA, the Directorate of Military Intelligence, National Security Adviser, everyone reports through one channel to one person. The President is not just a Commander-in-Chief, he is the operational head of all of these agencies, they report to him.
“A president who is present will contain that security damage. The tragedy of our current crisis is that President Buhari is neither present nor capable of providing leadership. Even worst, he does not care.”
The lawyer also warned that elections may not take place in many parts of Nigeria in 2023 unless something is done urgently to tackle insecurity.