Killings: Senate summons Buhari as herdsmen attack another Benue church


The Nigerian Senate

…The President will respond officially — Presidency

*APC, APGA Senators call for State of Emergency in Benue

*Weak laws have weak interpretation – Taraba Senator

*Emergency call put down by Saraki

The Senate, on Thursday, agreed with the House of Representatives on its summon of President Muhammadu Buhari to appear before a joint session of the National Assembly to address it on the spate of killings in the country.

This came on a day some gunmen made a fresh invasion of African Church, Mbamondo Ukemberagya in Logo Local Government Area of Benue State, killing seven persons, who were taking refuge in the church after being displaced by the raging crisis in the area.

The Senate resolution was upon the outpouring of emotions at the latest killings in Benue State in the last three days.

Responding to the NASS summon Thursday, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said it was democracy in action and that the President would respond to the summons officially.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who presided at the session, said the Senate leadership would meet with its House counterpart to fix an appropriate date and time for the President to appear and intimate the National Assembly on the security challenges in the country, even as a minute silence was observed by the Senate in honour of the those that died Thursday.

The Senate summons on President Buhari came in the wake of a motion moved by Senator George Akume (APC, Benue North-West), in reaction to the killings.

Arguments for the declaration of a state of emergency in Benue State was put down by Saraki who urged canvassers of such to await the briefing by the President.

Akume’s motion on killings

In his presentation, Akume expressed concern that despite military presence in the state, killings and destruction of properties continued unabated.

He said: “In the morning of Tuesday, April 24, while some Christian faithful were gathered at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Ayar town in Gwer East Local Government Area, they were ambushed by gunmen.

“They opened fire indiscriminately on the worshippers, resulting in the death of two reverend fathers, a catechist, and 17 others.

“This latest attack on a worship centre, which is unprecedented, has grave implications for the security and unity of our dear nation.

“The monumental refugee situation, now estimated at over 200,000, is being faced by the entire state.”

APC, APGA Senators call for State of Emergency in Benue

In his contribution, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (APC, Taraba Central), said:  “If you have weak laws, you will have weak interpretations.”

On his part, Senator Gbolahan Dada (APC, Ogun West), who called for a state of emergency in the troubled state, said: “I rise with a saddened heart where senseless killings of over 2,000 Nigerians have occurred across the nation. I request the Senate to pay visits to states affected, with Benue State as the first.”

Senator Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano North), said: “I am in pains knowing that killings across the country are aimed at destabilizing the country. Unfortunately, the security agencies are not doing enough to put an end to the killings across the country.”

Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso (APC, Kano Central), said: “This is the time to look into the killings in so many states. This shows that our security agencies need to work very hard to put an end to the senseless killings.”

Senator Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP, Abia North), who supported the declaration of a state of emergency in Benue State, said: “We need to declare state of emergency for the military to go in and put an end to these killings of human beings.”

On his part, Senator Isa Hamman Misau (APC, Bauchi Central), said:  “We are running short of ideas to solve this problem. We need fresh minds with fresh ideas to fix this.”

Senator Victor Umeh (APGA, Anambra  Central), who supported the call for a state of emergency, said that “killings like these cause the country to become polarized. The Tuesday killings call for more drastic action. The military should be directed to go to Benue and find those killers.”

Senator Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi) said: “What happened in Benue, Nasarawa, Zamfara, and even Taraba can happen anywhere. We should not only pass motions but also make sure action is taken.

“The killing of these religious leaders could cause a religious crisis in the country and must be tackled. These killers have no religion.”

Contributing, Senator Binta Masi Garba, APC, Adamawa, said: “We should not be sentimental when it comes to such situations. We must take a holistic approach to this issue. Many states in Nigeria are border states. We need to find out what the Immigration is doing about this matter in these states. We all have a responsibility to tackle this, irrespective of our geo-political zones.”

Senator Jeremiah Useni (PDP, Plateau) said: “The way we are handling this matter will not bring an end to it. It is high time a specific time period is given for security agencies to start doing their jobs. Anyone found doing otherwise should be dismissed.”

Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo East) who also supported the declaration of state of emergency said: “It is important to engage service chiefs in the killings of these innocent people. I want to believe that some people are gaining from this herdsmen issue across the country. It is a fragile situation.”

For Senator Obinna Ogba (PDP, Ebonyi), he said:  “Whatever the President says is what we should take as the final say. We cannot continue like this. More protection laws need to be passed.”

Rounding up the debate, Senator Saraki said: “We all know that the dimension it is taking can lead to a serious crisis in this country. It means that we need drastic action. We must say “No.” These daily killings have to stop.”

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