The House of Representatives, Thursday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to grant licence to officers in the Sergeant-at-arms of the National Assembly to use firearms.
This follows the August 7, 2018, invasion of the National Assembly by hooded men of the Department of State Services, DSS.
The House also urged the federal government and relevant security agencies in the country to trace the whereabouts of all missing persons in Nigeria, including Major-General Idris Alkali, retd, and Capt Davou Gyang who were affected by the recent crisis in Jos, Plateau State capital.
The decisions came on the heels of two separate motions sponsored by Nicholas Ossai Nicholas from Delta State and Edward Pajouk from Plateau State under matters of urgent public importance at yesterday’s plenary.
In his motion, entitled “Urgent Need to Address the Desecration and Security challenges on the Invasion of the National Assembly by Security Operatives”, Ossai recalled that “security operatives laid siege on the entire National Assembly complex for more that six hours, barricaded all its entrance and deprived senators, members of the House of Representatives, National Assembly staff, including the Clerk, journalists and other stakeholders from entering the complex” on August 7, 2018.
He also recalled the reported incident on April 18, 2018, when unknown persons in broad day light, invaded the Senate chamber and carried away the Mace as well as the early morning invasion of the residences of the two presiding officers of the Senate on July 24,2018, by security operatives.
Nicholas said “these brazen operations on legislative institutions were a gross violation of constitutional order, rule of law, doctrine of separation of powers and a breach of national security.”
While calling for an establishment of a full fledged training academy for the officers in the sergeant at arms, the lawmaker also asked the House to amend its Standing Rules to include the decision, saying it would ensure the protection of legislators, the national assembly premises and its precincts.
When subjected to voice vote by the speaker, Yakubu Dogara, the motion was overwhelming accepted, prompting the House to mandate its committees on Police and Legislative Compliance to liaise with the Presidency and report back to the House within four weeks for further inputs.
Similarly, the House also tasked the federal government and security agencies on the whereabouts of all missing persons in the country.
In the motion co-sponsored by Edward Pajouk and Istifanus Gyang, the House also called for the immediate release of all those who are under detention, particularly civilians detained in military barracks.
The movers of the motion, while condemning the crisis, expressed worries that the tragedy had engulfed Northern zone of Plateau State, spreading to Bassa, Jos North, Jos South, Jos East, Barkin Ladi and Riyom local government areas, leading to loss of lives, properties, forceful occupation of ancestral lands and displacement of thousands of citizens.
They were particularly disturbed that General Alkali, who was the immediate past Chief of Administration of the Nigerian Army, was yet to be seen since September 3, 2018.
Ruling on the motion after securing a positive voice vote, Dogara mandated the House Committees on Army, Defence, Police and Human Rights to ensure compliance of the decisions and report back to the House within two weeks.
In a related development, the House also directed authorities of Nigeria Customs Service to return thousands of bags of rice recently carted away at Kofar Ruwa and Singh’s markets in Kano State to their owners.
This followed a motion, titled “Illegal seizure of Rice and Brazen Abuse of law by men and officers of Nigeria Customs Service at Kano Markets” by Aliyu Madaki.
Madaki, in his motion, had said that the operations of the men and officers of the Customs had the capacity to affect the growth of businesses in Kano and by implication, Nigeria’s economy.
The motion was adopted by the members of the House through a voice vote.