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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Killings: House summon President Buhari, ask him to declare Fulani herdsmen terrorists


The House of Representatives on Wednesday resolved to summon President Muhammadu Buhari over the spate of killings in Benue State and other parts of the country.

The decision was unanimously adopted by overwhelming majority of members after a Kano lawmaker, Baballe Bashir (APC, Kano) moved for the amendment of a motion moved by Mark Gbilah (APC, Benue).

The House, while adopting a motion by Mr Gbilah on the attack by army personnel on residents of Naka in Gwer-West LGA of Benue State and the inability of the army and other security agencies to quell the crises, the lawmakers also passed a vote of no confidence on the service chiefs and called for their immediate removal.

The House also resolved to suspend its plenary for three days (one week) in solidarity with victims of attacks across the country.

Contributing to the debate, another APC lawmaker from Benue, Dickson Takhigir, alleged that the killers connived with security agencies to perpetrate the act.

“Benue is under siege and if we don’t take the necessary actions, it will amount to abdicating the responsibility of government to protect lives and property of its citizens,” he said.

“It appears there is no moral will to tackle the matter because continuous complaints about the killings seem to fall on deaf ears.”

He said the provision of the law allows self-defence and called on Nigerians ”to do the needful”.

PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday reported how suspected herdsmen killed about 19 persons including two priests in a church in Ukpor-Mbalom, a community in Gwer West Local Government Area.

Terver Akase, a spokesperson to Governor Samuel Ortom, said the attackers also burnt 50 houses and sacked the entire community.

The Catholic Diocese of Makurdi later confirmed two of its priests, Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, both reverend fathers, were killed in the attack.

The attack came barely a week after the murder of 10 persons by herdsmen in the same area, which has been one of the major scenes of carnage by suspects herdsmen since January 1.

It also comes barely a few days after Nigerian soldiers stormed Naka town in Gwer West Local Government Area of the state and set dozens of houses on fire.

The soldiers said hoodlums in the community killed one of their colleagues. At least one man was burnt to death in the reprisal attack.

In addition to the resolution to summon the president, the House also called on the Federal Government to declare killer herdsmen terrorists, while cattle rearers should be registered.

The invitation of the president is an unprecedented move by the lower chamber of the National Assembly. However the lawmakers have constitutional powers to summon all government appointees.

The House had recently invited the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo who doubles as the board chairman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to explain his role in the suspension of six officials as well as other scandals rocking the agency.

The Vice President however sent a representative instead of appearing.

Lawyers recently told PREMIUM TIMES that neither the president nor the vice president is constitutionally exempted from summons.

A lawyer, Simon Ameh, told PREMIUM TIMES that an occupier of the office of the President or Vice President is not exempted from summons by the parliament.

He added that the Constitution gives the legislature power to oversight the Executive, hence the National Assembly has powers to invite ”any occupier of an executive position”.

Another lawyer, Ola Adeosun said the National Assembly is empowered under Section 88 of the Constitution to summon any government official, including the president.

Premium Times

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