NIGERIA’S NINTH SENATE, WOKE UP to reality, after prevaricating on the issue of armed banditry, that it is time to toe the part of honour and duty, and to unite with Nigerians in the war against armed bandits in the country. Banditry and massive kidnapping, especially, school children have engulfed Nigeria’s north-western region.
Wednesday, the Senate at plenary passed a “Resolution” calling on Nigeria’s government of President Buhari, to categorize armed bandits, rampaging and unleashing unrestrained terror in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and other areas in the northwest as terrorists; declare all the known leaders of the bandits want, track them wherever they are for arrest and prosecution.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, was also requested by the Senate, to direct the Armed Forces, to wage total war against the criminals, including bombing all their locations, to annihilate and eliminate them
Analysts and security experts, see the Senate’s resolutions as a welcome development, and said the action has been overdue. Nigeria’s present ninth Senate has earned for itself the notoriety of being described as “rubber stamp Senate”. A term used to describe the Senate as an appendage to Buhari’s executive arm of government.
This has made relations between Nigerians and the ninth National Assembly – Senate and House of Representatives very cold. Security experts, also said declaring the bandits terrorists, must be followed by the security agencies synergizing and mapping out strategic plans for the war against the bandits.
ANALYSTS SAID GOOD NAME, the Nigerian ninth Senate must accept, is better than prevaricating, politicking, foot-dragging and dinning with Buhari’s government, generally known to be “insensitive” to the plights, yearnings, demands and aspirations of Nigerians. President Buhari’s government has been treating the issue of the rampaging bandits with kid gloves.
The trouble with Nigeria’s ninth Senate started, when its President Ahmad Lawan, openly, at different occasions, acknowledged that he will accept responsibility of the Senate being described as “rubber stamp”. He has repeatedly, stated in public that whatever Buhari presents to the Senate, will get expeditious action by the lawmakers, in what he claimed, would be in the “best interest” of Nigeria and Nigerians.
Buhari’s government and the National Assembly lawmakers have, also, watched helplessly, while Sheki Ahmad Gumi, an Islamic Cleric, assigned himself “self-appointed mediator” and “negotiator” between terrorists, bandits and some northern governors. Nigeria’s security agencies, also, watched helplessly, as Gumi traversed the northern forests negotiating “amnesty” for bandits.
Gumi came under fire from Nigerians who view his unsolicited role of “mediator” and “negotiator” on behalf of the bandits as an affront to national security. Gumi began his engagement with the bandits early this year, and has been seen hanging out in photographs with murderous militias in the forest, and defended their action and compared it with the Niger Delta militant agitation.
NIGERIA’S NATIONAL ASSEMBLY resolutions, are seen as mere “advisory”, by the executive, and not bound by it for actions. Will President Buhari act on the present Senate resolution to declare the bandits as terrorists, or continue with his inaction against the bandits?
The questions have always been – who determines what is in the “best interest” of Nigeria and Nigerians? President Buhari, National Assembly lawmakers or Nigerians? Nigerian elites and citizens are unanimous that Ahmad Lawan’s ninth Senate has not represented public interest but interest of Buhari’s government.
Will this present Senate resolution strengthen the relationship between Nigerians and the ninth Senate? The stand-off between Nigerians and the National Assembly – Senate and House of Representatives, has been inevitable, because of several unpopular decisions taken by the lawmakers in support of Buhari’s executive against national interest.
Also, will the relations between the ninth Senate and Nigerians change with the present resolution to declare the bandits as terrorists? If President Buhari, continuous to hedge, as usual, and regard the present resolution as “advisory”; what next Nigerian Senate?