- Declaration of state of emergency more important –Reps
President Muhammadu Buhari has agreed to appear before the House of Representatives to address Nigerians on the worsening security situation.
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, who led a delegation of the House leadership for a meeting at the Presidential Villa, revealed this in Abuja yesterday.
Boko Haram insurgents on Saturday killed farmers in Zabarmari area of Jere local government council of Borno State.
In a video on Tuesday, Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Boko Haram sect, claimed his group was responsible for the killing and said at least, 78 farmers were killed in the incident.
The House had on Tuesday resolved to summon the president to appear before it over rising insecurity in the country, especially in the North East, in the aftermath of the killing of 43 farmers in Borno State.
The House also called on him to declare a state of emergency on security.
Gbajabiamila said the purpose of the visit was to discuss the Tuesday’s resolution of the House asking the president to appear before the members to address the situation in the country.
He said the lawmakers spoke to the president on burning issues.
“And what we basically sought is to convey the resolution of the House and to fix a date, which we did not fix out of respect for Mr. President and his very tight schedule, what date will be convenient. We have agreed on a date and he will meet with the House to address the situation.”
While noting that he would communicate the date to the media, he added: “He’s a perfect democrat. He will come and address the House in the nearest future.”
He assured that Buhari is committed to the security of lives and property of Nigerians.
Regardless, House of Representatives has said declaration of state of emergency on security is more important than the appearance of President Buhari.
Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, who was responding to the question on what the House would do should the president fail to appear before it, said the declaration of state of emergency on security would give the government the latitude to explore various measures in addressing insecurity across the country.
“Unless there is a declaration of state of emergency on security, Mr President’s hand will be tied to do what the former president, Goodluck Jonathan did, which was asking for external help and bringing in external help, the mercenaries and the rest of them to make sure we fight to clear the issue of security.
“The constitution will not allow Mr. President to act in this direction and that was why through legislative intervention, to tell you that resolutions are not dramas, they are the open doors that invite the executive to formulate policies and take positions that will help them achieve the desires of Nigerians.
“Nigerians should be proud that we have tied our resolutions with that of the northern governors who have asked that a state of emergency be declared on security and that’s the wishes of most of the northern state governors.”
The spokesman added, “We are looking at solutions, if he visits us and we interact with him, the question you will ask me is after the visit of Mr President, what next. Okay, he walks through the door and we interact with him, has that stopped the killing in the North? No.
“He will come but beyond the coming of Mr President what we’re saying today is that the House has equipped Mr. President with the mandate to declare a state of emergency on security.”
He explained that though President Buhari shunned the invitation of the eight Assembly, it was because of the frosty relationship between him and the leadership.