17th April, 2018
The Senate on Tuesday mandated its Ad hoc Committee on Review of Security Infrastructure in the Country to investigate the killings in Nasarawa state.
The upper chamber condemned the act as it observed a minute silence for those killed in the clashes.
The resolutions followed a Point-of-Order raised at plenary by Sen. Suleiman Adokwe, who represents Nasarawa South Senatorial District.
He decried ongoing crisis in the district, describing it as “unfortunate’’.
“Throughout the weekend and up to this moment, herdsmen have unleashed mayhem on the people of the senatorial district, leaving many dead bodies, numerous wounded persons and hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS).
“Their victims are largely the Tiv-speaking ethnic nationalities with a reported death toll of 32 persons.’’
Adokwe, who is Chairman, Committee on Information, said the real tragedy in the situation was not “in the well-coordinated and simultaneous carnage across Awe, Obi, Keana and Doma Local Government Areas of south senatorial district.
“The tragedy lies from the fact that for four days running, this mayhem continued unhindered, unchecked, unstopped by any arm of the law and security enforcement agencies.”
He expressed sadness that in Nigeria, with all the security forces, a whole senatorial district would go on being punished by militia and no action was taken by the government.
“This is a sad commentary. It was even with impunity that we woke up on Monday to see that the entire city of Abuja was under siege.
“This country is gradually falling into anarchy and we need to wake up to our responsibilities.
“It is no wonder that very eminent Nigerian citizens have urged Nigerians to defend themselves because their lives are in their own hands and no longer in the hands of the Nigerian security forces.
“I am very emotional on this matter and I am not one given to emotion very easily, but what I have gone through this weekend is very horrifying; it is very distressing and sad.
“It is as if we are in a lawless society where life is brutish, where there is absence of state powers. We call on the Federal Government to stop this carnage,” he said.
Seconding the point-of-order, Sen. Barnabas Gemade (APC-Benue) said “this country is becoming a state without control; it is becoming a state that is experiencing anarchy.
“It is a state in which we have seen ethnic cleansing and when statements like this are made by very senior nationalists, many people try to trivialise it.
“It is a shame that a sitting government could watch criminality go to the level that we have seen it today rather than rise up and take very decisive steps against it.
“We embark on deniability and simply shield this evil by just explaining with flimsy excuses that these are communal clashes in those communities.
“Indeed, the carnage in Nasarawa South affects mainly people of my ethnic group, who are in large population in Nasarawa.
“It is the same kind of killing that is going on Goma, Logo and Gwer West Local Government Areas in Benue.
“And, it is the same kind of killing we are witnessing in Wukari and Takum Local Governments. It is targeted at a particular ethnic nationality, which is my own people,” Gemade lamented.
He urged his colleagues to support the motion whole-heartedly with ideas on how they could deal with the issues.
The motion was unanimously adopted and the ad hoc committee was mandated to immediately investigate the killings.
In his remarks, Deputy President of the Senate, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, who presided at the plenary, said “as we have pointed out, the primary purpose of government anywhere in the world is the preservation of the lives of citizens.
“If citizens are being killed, we owe the responsibility as a parliament to give it the desired attention, and we will never stop talking about these killings.
“Unless it stops, we will never be tired of speaking about it,” Ekweremadu said.
He said it was time to seek help from other countries as some of the lawmakers had suggested.
“We should not be ashamed to ask for help. President Muhammadu Buhari met with the UK Prime Minister and she was of the opinion that Britain would help us security wise.
“We are representatives of the people. If they kill everybody, we will have nobody to represent; we will have no job. So, security is more important than any other thing that we do here.
“If it gets to a level where we have to shut down this National Assembly and sit down with the Executive for as long as it lasts to resolve the problem, we may have to do that.
“We must have a country before we can talk about elections,” Ekweremadu said.