The Senate on Thursday summoned the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Solomon Arase, over the incessant spate of kidnappings in different parts of the country.
The upper chamber condemned the menace in strong terms and commiserated with those who had lost their loved ones to the crime.
The parliament which also resolved to make frantic efforts to review the extant laws on kidnapping with the intention to impose stiffer penalties on culprits, urged traditional institutions, religious authorities and all Nigerians to be more vigilant and participate more actively in the security challenges facing Nigeria.
The resolution was the aftermath of a motion moved by Senator Andy Uba (Anambra South) who drew the attention of the Senate to this prevalent crime in Nigeria, regretting that the crime had assumed dangerous dimensions and was spreading to virtually all parts of the country.
Citing Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution which stipulates that security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government, Uba said the rising spate of insecurity in Nigeria was worrisome and consequently undermining the success recorded in the battle against terrorism.
According to him, while insurgency is prevalent in the North-eastern part of the country, kidnap, armed robbery and murder have become rampant in the South.
While noting the effort of Nigeria Police and other security agencies in the effort to free hostages of kidnap, “Uba noted that these vices are beginning to assume the toga of legitimate business for unemployed youths, politically aggrieved persons and other equally greedy individuals.”
He also said the payment being made for ransom by families of victims of kidnap has emboldened perpetrators to sustain the crime as he emphasised the need by the Nigeria Police to “rise to the occasion and see kidnaping as akin to terrorism.”
Uba also advocated the need to equip the security agencies notably the Nigeria Police with effective tools and modern policing equipment as he expressed concern that there was no visible effort being made to address the problem of unemployment with a view to creating an egalitarian society with free opportunities for all.
Also yesterday, the Senate expressed concern over what it called illegal plundering of the nation’s solid minerals by local and foreign miners which it said was recently confirmed by the permanent secretary of the federal Ministry of Solid Minerals while briefing President Muhammadu Buhari.
The sponsor of the motion, Senator Duro Faseyi (Ekiti North), said illegal mining in Nigeria robs the nation of whopping N8 trillion every two years.
He blamed the menace on weak legislation and poor enforcement of existing laws adding that the situation militates against diversification of the economy from dependence on oil to exploration of solid minerals especially in the face of dwindling oil price in the global market.
While lamenting that the federal government seems helpless over the matter, Faseyi said illegal mining had devastated the nation’s economy, polluted the environment and resulting in the death of many Nigerians.
The Senate therefore directed security agencies especially the IG to address the activities of miners. It also urged the executive bodies at the federal, state and local government levels to take concrete steps towards ending illegal mining in Nigeria.
Also yesterday, the Senate urged the federal government to convene a stakeholders’ meeting with the aim of securing the lasting solution to recurrent disasters in some parts of the country.
The legislative institution also advised the federal Ministry of Water Resources to revisit the proposed construction of Dasin Hausa Dam and any other dam and as well address the the release of water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroun.
The mover of the motion, Senator Stella Oduah (Anambra North), blamed flooding in Nigeria on the release of water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroun which she said had led to the loss of many lives in several communities in the Niger-Benue river troughs.
According to Oduah, flooding has resulted in colossal loss of lives and property with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) putting the value of loss to flood in 2012 flood alone at N2.6 trillion.
She observed that the trend had worsened the situation of internally displaced persons, damaged environments and simultaneously destroyed arable land nationwide and resulted to illnesses and diseases among citizens.