By Onyedi Ojiabor, Abuja

 


The Senate yesterday held a three-hour closed session on the security situation in the country.

Senate President Mark

It declared after the session that far-reaching decisions on how to address insecurity in the country had been taken.

But its spokesman Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe did not disclose the decision when he spoke to reporters after the session.

He also said the Senate had not received any request for the declaration of state of emergency in Kaduna and Yobe States.

Abaribe said the tensed meeting was dominated by discussion on the increasing state of insecurity in the country especially the Sunday suicide attacks on three churches in Kaduna and Zaria and the subsequent reprisal attack.

As the meeting lasted, it was speculated that the Senate might be considering the option of imposition of a state of emergency on Kaduna and Yobe States as a means to contain increasing violent activities.

But Abaribe said the Senate could only consider imposition of a state of emergency if it was requested by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Senate President David Mark, before adjourning plenary session, reported that the Senate in closed session, discussed issues of national interest and took “very robust decisions to ensure that increasing insecurity in the country is halted.”

Abaribe said: “You are all aware of what happened over the weekend and the fact that effort is being made to plunge this country into a religious war.

“But we know that such will not happen. The Senate agreed that it (Kaduna , Zaria mayhem) was an effort to pitch Nigerians against one another and the Senate urges Nigerians not to fall for this odious attempt.

“Secondly, the Senate supports all the actions being taken now by the Federal Government.”

The Senate, he said, is taking very seriously, the issue of national security “because we know that one cannot have development without peace.”

“You cannot have any amount of infrastructure without having those who will enjoy that infrastructure.

“You cannot in any way say you can open your economic indices without people there and we understand that if you want to have development in the country, you have to first deal with your internal security and therefore, that is why we are doing that in our retreat.

“We will look at every side and if there is anything we are going to do, be it an amendment of the constitution, we will go ahead and do it to make sure that Nigeria remains one, indivisible country.

“The Senate also noted that there may be some foreign dimensions to this but the Senate acknowledges that we must put our house in order.

“The Senate is in full agreement that all hands must be on deck and that every Nigerian, no matter the level, has a duty to continue to preserve the unity and the structure of Nigeria as it is today.”

On House of Reps members Farouk Lawan’s bribery scandal, he said, “The Senate does not think it has to protect its own image because it does not think that the image of the National Assembly is in any way affected by the action of an individual within the National Assembly.”

The Senate, he said, “believes that the institution of National Assembly is intact and any member who has infringed on the law of the land will answer for it.”

He said the Senate is “very worried about the state of the nation, if not, we would not have spent a whole day today in a closed section.”

He said the reason for closed session was so that “we can speak frankly; the reason for closed session is that when they have camera on them, they will play to the gallery. So, we are so worried that we have to spend three to four hours in a closed session just to get to what is going on and it was productive.”

 

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