Abuja – The Senate on Tuesday said it would revisit calls for state police and design framework for mopping up 350 million light weapons suspected to be in circulation within Nigeria.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, made this known while welcoming senators to plenary after a three-week Eid-el-Fitr recess.
Saraki said that with the security challenges across the country, it seemed that the issues were an indication that it was time to revisit the issue of state police.
He said that the 350 million light weapons believed to be circulating around the country, had an alarming ratio of three weapons to one person.
The Senate president said the responsibility for ensuring security lay with every Nigerian.
“Issues of criminality are involved in these heinous acts, and the vigilance of community leaders and the average citizen is crucial to assist the security agencies to do their job.
“Let me use this opportunity to call for calm on all sides.
“We have called many times for unity and tolerance, and we must remind ourselves of the imperative of peace at this difficult time in our nation.
“We are resuming plenary today under a pall of national anxiety and apprehension over the state of insecurity in the country.
“We have been alarmed at so many senseless killings of Nigerians, with the high number of casualties in Plateau being among the most glaring of late,” he said.
Saraki also said that moderation was needed in speech and actions of people as responsible citizens, even in what might be deemed as provocative situations.
“We must, therefore, be careful of speech that has the potential to heat up the polity and heighten tensions.
“We implore the media also to exercise great responsibility in their reporting. Fake news can lead to dire consequences that we can ill-afford.
“Nigeria is the only country we have,” he said.
He said that internal tensions were also a reflection of the economic condition of the citizenry, and urged all stakeholders to put Economic Bills on the fast lane “in order that we may conclude them.”
“This is so that we can open the door to greater opportunities for our people. Growth and development can only serve to deepen our democracy.”
On the achievements of the 8th Senate in the last three years, Saraki said “indeed, we have come a long way and have set a new bar in the legislative history of this country.
“We have passed 213 bills in the period under review and cleared 138 petitions, surpassing in three years, the records of the entire four-year terms of every previous Senate.
“This is no mean feat. As we hit the home run, therefore, it is important we do not back-pedal or slow down.
“We must intensify efforts towards doing all that we are sworn in to do for the electorate that voted for us as their representatives.
“With the backing of Nigerians, we have been able to introduce landmark legislations that have helped boost our recovering economy.
“These include Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), which is the most significant business reform Bill in Nigeria in nearly three decades.
“As a result of the signing into law of the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act and the Credit Bureau Reporting Act, for instance, Nigeria was upgraded on the World Bank’s annual Ease-of-Doing-Business ranking.
“This has been a very welcome development for our economy and for restoring investor confidence in our business terrain.
“It was in the life of this Senate that we finally split the atom of the once intractable Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), after almost two decades in the legislative wilderness.
“We split the Bill into four manageable parts, and not only have we passed the first of those, the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).
“We have started work on the remaining three, the Administrative, Fiscal and Host Communities components of the Bill and have already taken them up to public hearing stage.
“The clock is ticking and we must ensure that we conclude work on the remaining PIB Bills as soon as possible. Nigerians deserve no less,” Saraki said.
He further said that the Not-Too-Young-To-Run-Bill, which received presidential assent on May 31, 2018, received wild jubilation around the country, due to the momentous generational shift it was expected to trigger in national leadership.
“This is in paving the way for the greater participation of youths in governance.”
Saraki called on the executive to expedite the release of funds for the 2018 budget implementation so that Nigerians could begin to see the positive impact in their lives without delay.
“The work is not done. We as the Senate must continue to exercise our oversight functions to ensure successful implementation and value for money.”
He advised that as the country inched closer to the 2019 electioneering period, senators must not lose focus.
“The divided attention of the legislature is not in the interest of the country. We must not be distracted.
“It is incumbent on us, therefore, to not allow politicking get in the way of our first duty to the Nigerian people, as senators of the Federal Republic.
“I charge us all to fasten our seatbelts and power on with the work we have been tasked to do.
“Posterity is watching, and history will vindicate us if we do the job with diligence and in truth,” the Senate president said.