By Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, Monday bemoaned the deteriorating security situation in the country.
He has therefore canvassed for the complete overhaul of the nation’s security apparatus with a view to achieving better result.
Speaking at an interactive session with newsmen ahead of the resumption of Senate plenary Tuesday, Lawan expressed deep concern over the current security challenges facing the country.
According to him, the Senate will definitely take a definite step on the urgent need to overhaul the security apparatus by engaging the Executive arm in this regard.
He said: “First and most importantly is to look into the issue of security that is now bedevilling this country.
Apparently and obviously, all hands must be on deck to ensure that we bring back a better security situation that we had before. Presently, the story is not good. In many areas we have so much happening that is destabilizing our communities and killing of people.
“We believe that we owe Nigerians the responsibility to intervene and work together with the executive arm of government, actually to work together with other tiers of government – the states and even the local governments – to ensure that we change the way we approach the security issues in this country.
“Apparently, the system has not been working efficiently and effectively and we have to do something. This time around, there should not be buck passing, we have to be forthright. We have to say it as it is and we have to do it as it is required.”
He added that the legislative arm will also be interested to know why the security challenges continue to bedevil the nation despite the several steps taken in the recent past to stem the tide.
This, Lawan said, informed the need for the Senate to involve the security agencies so as to know where the problem really lies.
“We should engage with the security agencies to find why the deterioration in security in many parts of the country. We have had series of engagement before but the escalation now has made it mandatory that we have to have a definite position as a government because we just cannot play politics with security issues. Lives are stake.
“Therefore the Senate will take a position on how security in the country should be. We believe that the security architecture should be restructured. The present system does not give us the type of outcome that we need. Whether it is the federal, state or local government; even the traditional rulers or others, the most important thing is to secure the lives and property of Nigerians and we would do that,” he said.
Lawan also spoke on the Senate Ad hoc Committee on Constitution Review and gave an assurance that the committee, which will be constituted before next week, will be headed by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
“The committee will be constituted very soon, either this week or next week by the grace of God because the time is ripe for us to reconstitute the committee so that the members could start work immediately. We have referred some bills to them already. Traditionally, everybody knows that since 1999 when the constitution review committee was formed in the National Assembly, in the Senate, the Deputy President of the Senate usually heads the committee, while the Deputy Speaker is usually the chairman of the committee. We are going to maintain the tradition in the 9th Senate. We have a Deputy Senate President who is a vast, erudite lawyer who played an important and significant role in the eighth Assembly as a member of the Committee on INEC and Constitution Review. So, we are good to go by the grace of God,” the Senate President explained.
On the recent hike by the federal government in Value Added Tax ((VAT) payable on luxury goods from five per cent to 7.5 per cent, Lawan emphasised that the hike will not affect the average Nigerian.
According to him, “The 2.5 per cent increment in VAT does not include items that ordinary Nigerians normally use. Many of the items that would now have additional 2.5 per cent are luxury items that ordinary Nigerians don’t use. At this point, we need resources to provide basic social amenities that an average Nigerian need.”