Lawmakers consider bills to reform National Security

By Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

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The Nigerian House of Representatives is to begin consideration of Bills aimed at reforming the country’s National Security.

The Speaker,  Femi Gbajabiamila stated this while addressing the lawmakers after a two weeks break that allowed members participated in the recent Zonal Public Hearing on the review of the constitution.

Gbajabiamila said the Bills are the first, related to national security contained in the recommendations of the recent National Security Summit convene by the House as part of its legislative interventions.

The proposed legislation was to address the issues of overlapping mandates resulting in inter-agency rivalry and lack of cooperation amongst the security agencies.

Community Policing
They are also to make community policing operational to ensure cordiality between the security agencies and the communities to protect citizens across the country.

Speaker Gbajabiamila while expressing concern over the recent security challenges, stressed the urgent need for coordinated action to address this menace and save our nation.

“We are seeking through legislation to address the issues of overlapping mandates resulting in inter-agency rivalry and lack of cooperation amongst the security agencies. We are seeking to make community policing operational so that communities and the police can work together to protect our people across the country.

We intend to change the way the Armed Forces conduct operations so that the three arms of our military can work more effectively together to overcome shared challenges. And we want to change the nature of interactions between the civilian population and the military so that the conflicts that breed resentment and undermine national security can be eliminated once and forevermore.

These Bills are only the first of the legislative interventions relating to national security that we will be considering. Also, the final report of the Summit, including the recommendations for legislative action will shortly be presented to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.

I have his assurance that the painstaking recommendations made by the House will receive his full attention and accelerated action.” Mr. Gbajabiamila explained.

Government suspension of Twitter
On the government’s decision to suspend the operations of Twitter in Nigeria, Mr. Gbajabiamila said the House would make sure that regulatory and enforcement actions by the government are in accordance with the laws of the land.

The House therefore mandated its committees on Communication, Justice, Information and Culture, and National Security and Intelligence to immediately commence an investigation into the matter.

The Speaker said the Committee “Is to determine:

  1. The circumstances of the decision by the Federal Government of Nigeria to suspend the operations of Twitter in Nigeria; and
  2. The legal authority for the ban on the operations of Twitter in Nigeria.

The Committees are additionally mandated to Invite the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to brief the House of Representatives on the objectives, intent, and duration of the suspension on the operations of Twitter in Nigeria, and to report to the House within ten (10) days.

The report of the Committees will guide further action by the House of Representatives on this matter. Therefore, I urge the Committees to act with speed and sound judgment to address this issue that has animated our national conversations over the last few days.”

Constitutional Amendment
On the on-going constitutional amendment, Speaker Gbajabiamila re-emphasised the National Assembly’s commitment to produce a legal document that would guarantee the future of a united Nigeria.

“Let me re-emphasise that we will not restrict ourselves to tinkering around the edges of the constitution or be subject to redlines that mitigate against optimal outcomes. We have it now in our power to deliver a truly democratic constitution that allows us to overcome the challenges of today and puts us in good stead for the future. Honourable colleagues, bearing in mind our history, and cognizant of our present circumstances, it is all too clear that the future is all we have. Let us do the work necessary to ensure that our tomorrow is better than all our yesterdays.” The Speaker argued.

Meanwhile the House received two communications from President Muhammadu Buhari on a Bill extending the retirement age for Judiciary as well as confirmation of Major General Faruk Yahaya as Chief of Army Staff.

Confidence Okwuchi

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