Insecurity: Senate Asks FG to Mop up Arms in Circulation

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*Probes delay in completion of Aba – Ikot Ekpene road

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate has called on the Federal Government to ensure that all security agencies mop up all small arms and light weapons in circulation with a view to addressing the rising wave of insecurity in the country.

It also urged the executive to take proactive measures to curtail insecurity and malicious killings ravaging parts of the country.

Adopting a motion entitled “Urgent need for the Senate’s intervention on the militia attack on Okokolo in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State”, sponsored by Senator Abba Moro (Benue South) and four others, the Senate equally charged relevant security agencies to be proactive in order to forestall future occurrence of such ugly situation.

While condemning the attacks in Agatu communities, the upper chamber directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to immediately intervene to provide relief materials to the affected people.

Presenting the motion, Senator Moro said the June 30 attack occurred at a church in Okokolo town and led to the death of over 25 persons, adding that “this has created fears, anxieties, and agonies among the settlers leading them to desert their homes”.
According to him, the illegal proliferation of small arms and light weapons has contributed in no small measure to the attacks on the town.

He regretted that “this dastardly acts are being perpetrated against innocent persons of the Benue South senatorial district despite several peace agreements/accords entered into by the parties”.

On his part, Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, stressed the need for government to beam its searchlight on the para-military agencies in charge of the nation’s borders so as to properly monitor immigrants into the country, pointing out that “80 percent of the people we see around are not Nigerians”.

In his remarks, Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, said the Ninth Assembly would work with the executive arm of government in order to address the rising level of insecurity in the country.

He particularly said the parliament might review some of the security laws with a view to improving on the security situation.
Meanwhile, the Senate also Tuesday resolved to investigate the delay in the construction of the Ikot Ekpene -Aba road, which was awarded to Nigercat Construction Company since 2008.

It similarly directed the Federal Ministry of Works to commence construction of the Aba-lkot Ekpene road as a lasting solution, and possibly make it a dual carriage road, as well as mandating the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to expedite actions on intervention measures to salvage the road from total collapse.

The upper legislative chamber further urged security agencies, especially the Police to deploy their personnel to grey spots, “where hoodlums have found solace and made it their habitable abode mostly at odd hours”.

These resolutions were sequel to a motion moved by Senator Stephen Ekpenyong (Akwa-Ibom North West) and 34 others during plenary.

Senator Ekpenyong, while presenting the motion, said “the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene road was first constructed in the early 60s shortly after Nigeria’s Independence, and since then subsequent governments have not done significant developments on the road in terms of expansion and even routine maintenance”.

According to him, the two states have tried within their limited resources to keep the road motorable by carrying out temporal maintenance work which to a large extent does not stand the test of time.

Senator Ekpenyong said the situation of the roads are worst during raining seasons, especially the Umuahia-lkot Ekpene road.

“As a matter of fact, the road presently is not passable. Most of the broken portions have become rivers and water logs. It’s now a safe haven for hoodlums as they have taken advantage of these bad sections to operate freely especially at nights”, he lamented.

President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks, urged the Federal Ministry of Works and FERMA to expedite action on the roads, assuring that the National Assembly would use its powers to ensure that no section of the country lacks good roads.