Senate Decries Rising Cases of Killings in Rivers

  • Passes federal audit service bill, 10 others

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate ywednesay resolved to call on both the federal and Rivers State governments, to work together to develop workable strategies aimed at tackling rising cases of killings in the state.

The upper legislative chamber has also passed 11 bills, including one that made provision for the establishment of Federal Audit Service Commission and another one that changed the name of Nigeria Football Association (NFA) to Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

The lawmakers’resolution on Rivers was sequel to a motion entitled, “frightening killings in Rivers State” moved by Senator Andrew Uchendu (Rivers East).

Presenting the motion, Uchendu said the killing of innocent citizens as a result of murder, kidnapping, violence or abduction had become rampant in the state for over a decade.

According to him, the killings assumed a dangerous proportion before, during and after the 2015 general election.

He stressed that more worrisome was the trend of decapitation and or dismembering of body parts, including beheading of victims.

“There is a new twist that has been added to this sacrilegious conduct by not only killing by beheading but also by having the corpses burnt.

“At about 9.00 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, unknown gunmen invaded Isiodu Community in Emohua LGA, Rivers State and killed three young men aged between 23 and 30 and unashamedly burnt the corpses. It is worrisome that these killings spread across the length and breadth of Rivers State.

“During the last interaction between the Senate and the Acting Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu, I stated emphatically that kidnappings and killings have become a way of life in Rivers State”.

He expressed concern that the killings were going on unabated, adding that, the primary responsibility of any responsive and responsible government is the provision of security of life and property of its citizens.

He further said: “In Rivers State, life has become more brutish and worthless, since anybody can be killed, kidnapped or abducted at any time of the day. I am alarmed that no meaningful strategy has been put in place to check this unbridled development in the polity.

“It is regrettable to know that traditional rulers and community heads who are neither in control of the police, the army nor the resources, are being held responsible to check kidnapping and killings in their own community”.

Contributing, Deputy Leader of the Senate, Senator Bala Na’Allah, urged those in positions of authority to be law abiding before demanding that the people should adhere to the laws of the land.

According to him: “The signs are not too good for us but with the right leadership and patriotism we can solve the problem. We must come out of the cocoon of protecting our own when they are wrong. I am totally in agreement with the prayers in the motion”.

On his part, Senator Osinachukwu Ideozu (Rivers West), regretted the killings, noting however, that the killings in Rivers was not an isolated case.

He cited several states with similar security situation, adding that government and Nigerians should collaborate in finding lasting solutions to the problem.

He also lamented that the nation’s security architecture had not performed optimally in view of increased spate of killings across the country.

Also speaking, the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, called for a holistic approach towards solving the problem, while expressing concerns that the level of insecurity in the country had taken a worrisome dimension.

“This is a matter for concern. Criminality must be dealt with and not with political interest. When the Inspector General of Police visited the Senate last week, he promised to do something. We hope better strategies are adopted to solve the problem”.

Saraki therefore called on both federal and the state governments to work together in tackling the problem.

He cited several states with similar problem, adding that lasting solution should be sought holistically to tackle the security challenges.

Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday passed 11 bills including one that made provision for the establishment of Federal Audit Service Commission and another one that changed the name of Nigeria Football Association (NFA) to Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

The bills passed after going through second and third readings at plenary include the Nigeria Football Federation (Establishment, etc) Bill 2019; National Assembly Budget and Research Office (Est, etc) Bill 2019; Federal Audit Service Bill 2019; Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria Bill 2019; Chartered Institute of Social Work Practitioners (Est, etc) Bill 2019 and Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill 2019.

Others are Corporate Bodies (Members Emolument) Act (Repeal) Bill 2019; National Institute for Brackish Water Fisheries Research, Ngo-Andoni( Est, etc) Bill 2019; Nigeria Council for Management Development Bill 2019; Traffic Warden Service Bill 2018 and The Nigerian Road Safety Commission Bill 2019.

The Senate also passed the bill for the Establishment of Federal Audit Service Commission as part of moves to fight corruption in the country

The upper legislative chamber has therefore mandated its leadership to liaise with President Muhammadu Buhari in a legislative- executive interaction with a view to getting his assent to the Federal Audit Service Commission (Establishment, etc) Bill and the other 10 bills before the exporation of the 8th National Assembly.

The approval of the audit commission was sequel to the presentation and consideration of the Senator Matthew Urhoghide-led Senate Committee on Public Accounts on a Bill for an Act to Establish the Federal Audit Service Commission, Repeal the Public Accounts Implemenation Tribunal and for Matters
Related Thereto (SB.742).

In his presentation, Senator Urhoghide who explained that the commission will have a chairman, six commissioners from the six geo- political zones, and a representative of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation not below the rank of a Director, said there will be two persons who retired from the service and had reached the rank of a Director on grade level 17 and two persons appointed to represent the two professional accounting bodies in Nigeria.