Following the worsening security situation in the country, the Senate on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, said it will pursue immediate implementation of community policing.
Ahmad Lawan, the senate president, stated this in his speech to welcome Senators from the Christmas and New Year recess.
He reiterated that the security situation in the country required serious attention and due consideration by the Senate and indeed the National Assembly.
He said that the Senate would engage the executive arm of government to discuss the implementation of the recently launched National Security Strategy, NSS, 2019.
He added that for a long time major stakeholders in the security of the country and police authorities appeared to achieve consensus on the necessity of introduction of Community Policing in the country.
Lawan said: “Recently, the security in the country had deteriorated and the attendant loss of lives is not acceptable.
“We need to secure the lives and property of our citizens, as enshrined in our constitution.
“We all are witnesses to how our economy is also affected by the inclement security situation. Therefore, we need to speedily seek for solutions to fix the security problem bedeviling our dear country.
“There is urgent need for paradigm shift and reform of the architecture and structure of our security systems.
“Equally important is the citizen participation, and collaboration in providing security. In this regard, the Senate will engage the Executive arm of government to discuss the implementation of the recently launched National Security Strategy, NSS, 2019.
“For a long time, major stakeholders in the security of our nation and police authorities appear to achieve consensus on the necessity of introduction of Community Policing in the country.
“The Senate is going to pursue the implementation of community policing vigorously.
“To this end, the police authorities will be invited to brief and update the Senate on the progress made so far.”
Lawan stated that pursuant to the Legislative Agenda of the ninth Senate, the next six months, like the first six months, will be a busy and engaging period to address the challenges facing the oil and gas sector as well as the nation’s electoral system.
He added that the National Assembly needed to start work on the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, immediately.
“The previous attempts in the sixth, seventh and eighth assembly sessions to pass the bills failed.
“This Senate should learn from the mistakes that militated against the successful passage of the bills.
“We need to break the jinx. We must avoid the pitfalls that worked against the passage of the previous bills,” Lawan said.
According to him, the Petroleum Industry Bill when passed will encourage investments into the oil and gas sector.
He said: “The International Oil Companies, IOCs, have deferred investments in the industry largely due to two decades of fiscal uncertainties occasioned by various failed attempts to deliver on the petroleum industry legislations that practically subsisted since 1967 and disputes associated with fiscal clarity of the 1993 Production Sharing Contracts.
“It is therefore, imperative to speedily deliver on the reforms in the oil and gas sector to spur economic growth and prosperity for our people.
“It is my belief that when the Petroleum industry governance and fiscal laws are delivered, economic uncertainties will be eliminated and conducive environment for exploration and production of oil and gas will be emplaced.”
He said that it is imperative that the National Assembly starts work to effect amendments in those areas of of the nation’s electoral processes and procedures that posed some real challenges to free, fair and credible elections in previous elections.
He insisted that for elections to express the will of the electorate, “they must be free and fair.”
He said: “The Senate will consult widely with stakeholders to ensure that any legislative intervention reflects the necessary step to reforming the electoral environment.”
He recalled that before the Senate went on recess, it held roundtable discussions on the power, agriculture and solid minerals sectors with the view to identifying the challenges militating against the optimum performance by those sectors.
He said: “The reports of the discussions are ready and will be presented to the Senate by the appropriate committees.
“The reports will be debated in plenary and necessary resolutions will be taken.
“Ultimately, there will be shared responsibilities between the Legislature and the Executive on the way forward to address the various bottlenecks.”
He stated that it is an incontrovertible fact that the power sector cannot function optimally and thrive under the current circumstances.
He lamented that the anticipated outcome of improvement in effectiveness and efficiency of the privatization process has not been achieved, and doesn’t look feasible.
“Therefore, we have to take all necessary steps to salvage this indispensable sector.
“The ensuing debate on the report of the Roundtable Discussions will no doubt reveal the actions that the Federal Government will need to take,” Lawan said.
He also lamented that the solid minerals sector was neglected after the discovery of oil.
He noted that though there have been attempts to revamp the sector, “it is yet to make any meaningful contribution to our economy.”
He added: “Today, the solid minerals sector accounts for only about 0.3% of our Gross Domestic Product.
“It is obvious that we need to take a holistic look into the challenges in the sector. It has also been reported that, presently, about 80% of mining operators fall into the category of artisanal and small-scale miners.
“This deserves our attention, to ensure inclusion, effective and efficient operations by those involved.”
The Senate President also reminded his colleagues that agriculture played an important and leading role in the nation’s economy before the discovery of oil.
He said: “Prior to the discovery of oil in Nigeria, agriculture was the mainstay of our economy.
“Agriculture was then the highest earner of foreign exchange for the country and Nigeria was also largely self-sufficient in food production.
“However, with the discovery of oil, the lure of petro dollars turned the focus of the country from agriculture.
“Despite the present efforts of the Federal Government to enhance the performance of the agricultural sector, there is still much to be done to make the sector perform optimally.
“No doubt, the agricultural sector is critical for the diversification of the economy of Nigeria, as we can create jobs, create wealth, earn foreign exchange and ensure food security.
“We therefore, should ensure the restoration of the viability of this sector in order to utilize the abundant potentials and opportunities it offers.
“The challenges and work before us are enormous and indeed urgent.
“But, we have demonstrated patriotism, commitment, capacity and willingness in our previous handling of similar challenges.
“We can therefore, equally tackle these issues with the same dispatch and commitment.”
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