Reps summon Buhari over killings
• Threaten to shutdown National Assembly
• CAN calls Christians out for protest
• Presidency reacts
Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja; Job Osazuwa and Chukwudi Nweje
The House of Representatives, yesterday, summoned President Muhammadu Buhari to appear before it to explain efforts being made by government to check the endless killings in Benue State and contain security challenges in different parts of the country.
The House also resolved to shut down the National Assembly for three legislative days in solidarity with the people of Benue, Taraba and other states, who have suffered attacks in recent times.
The shut down would also serve as a protest over apparent failure by government to secure the lives of the citizens.
Following a motion by Mark Gbillah at plenary, on recent attacks on Naka community of Benue State and the seeming inability of the security agencies to contain killings by armed herdsmen, the House passed a vote of no confidence in all the service chiefs, and called for their immediate replacement.
Similarly, the House urged the government to declare armed herdsmen as terrorists and compel all cattle rearers in the country to be registered.
Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrasak Namdas said no date has been fixed for the appearance of the president.
But he said date for the commencement of the three-day shut down would be determined by the leadership.
In a swift reaction, the Presidency denied knowledge of the House summon.
“When the lawmakers communicate their decision to the president, the president will respond accordingly. There are channels of communication and he will make use of them,” the president’s media aide, Mr. Femi Adesina said.
Leading debate on the motion, Gbillah lamented that the situation in Benue has assumed a new dimension with the murder of two Catholic priests and 17 worshipers during an early morning mass.
Other lawmakers also decried the rising cases of insecurity across the country.
Edward Pwajok urged the House to take a decisive action on the security challenges, instead of lamenting endlessly. He kicked against the idea of setting up a committee to investigate recent killings in Benue, stating that results of committees on past killings were yet to be seen.
“If we compile the motions on killings, they are in volumes. There is no week that passes that motions on killings are not being passed. Are we passing them for passing sake or to inflame passion. Something has to be done, instead of lamenting endlessly. What have become of the previous committees? We need to be briefed. This matter has to be handled,” Pwajok stated.
However, Dickson Tarkighin accused security agencies of conniving and colluding with herdsmen to kill the people of Benue State.
Sunday Karimi berated President Buhari for the poor handling of the security challenges, noting that it was regrettable that the president has failed to overhaul his team in spite of the glaring shortcomings of his officials.
Karimi said since Buhari has failed to secure the country, he should leave.
“We have to take this nation back. We cannot continue with this. If he cannot resign, he should be removed,” Karimi said.
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has declared Sunday, April 29, as a national day of protest against what it termed unending killings.
This was made known, yesterday, in a statement by the president of the association, Rev. Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle.
In the statement signed by his Special Assistant, Media and Communications, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, CAN boss also dedicated same day for prayers for the freedom and liberty of Leah Sharibu, the remaining Dapchi schoolgirl and others still in captivity of the Boko Haram terrorists.
“We are already at a breaking point and a state of anomie is almost here. CAN urges Christians in Nigeria to hold peaceful protest on the set aside date, in the premises of their churches asking the Federal Government and the security agencies to stop the unending killings and bloodshed in the country. Christians are to carry placards with inscriptions meant to address issues about sustained killings, attacks and destruction of their property in Nigeria.
He said government should be called to perform their constitutional responsibility of protecting citizens.
“No excuse should be given for this wicked act again and perpetrators must be brought to book now,” he said.
Ayokunle noted that failure of government to raise an effective campaign against the killings by herdsmen was the reason they have continued to kill, while there was no visible plan to pacify the aggrieved.
He also called on the heads of the security agencies to wake up to their constitutional role of protecting lives and property across Nigeria, while preventing the country from descending into chaos and lawlessness.
Ayokunle urged Christians across the federation to obtain their voters cards which would enable them play a role in the emergence of new set of political leaders during next year’s elections, who could guarantee their security and safety.
PDP, Secondus, Mark condemn killing
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the killing as sacrilegious and callous.
The party noted that it was extremely wicked to attack innocent and defenceless citizens in their place of worship.
The opposition party said it was worried by incessant killings in Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kogi, Zamfara, Plateau, Bornu, Adamawa and other parts of the country.
“More worrisome is that the Federal Government has continued to allow these killings without any decisive steps to stem the ugly trend.
President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government must live up to its basic responsibility of protection of lives and our national territorial integrity. Indeed, our citizens cannot continue to daily fall victims of attacks by marauders while the government fails to exert itself to guarantee their safety,” the party said.
In his reaction, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus urged the Presidency to take steps to halt the endless bloodletting.
“I find it unexplainable that some group of gunmen should hold a state to ransom since January killing and maiming citizens and destroying their houses and the security operatives appear helpless.
“Where are the military operatives that carried out Python and Crocodile dances in South East and South South region respectively lately brandishing their might to less dangerous citizens?
“How can anybody expect Benue State, for instance, to contribute its own share of the $1billion security votes when the nation security architecture is not designed to protect their people?” Secondus queried.
Former Senate President, David Mark, yesterday, lent his voice to the condemnation of the killing of two Catholic priests and 17 worshippers, with a warning that the law-abiding and accommodating nature of people of Benue State should not be misconstrued for cowardice.
Mark said as evil and reprehensible as the killings were, they also raised questions on the manner of security operation in the state.
Mark, in a statement by his media aide, Paul Mumeh, Mark said: “I am saddened by this unabating carnage. The people of Benue State are accommodating and law abiding but it seems this gesture has been misconstrued to be cowardice.
“Our people are known for their bravery. We are not cowards. Something must be done to stop this carnage. Enough is enough.”
Mark said government and security agencies must work hard to restore confidence in the people by fishing out the murderers.
He charged clerics and worshippers not to be deterred but remain strong in faith and prayed that Almighty God give the bereaved families and the people of the State the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.