Abuja, Kaduna — President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, yesterday gave the armed forces a pass mark in battling insecurity, notwithstanding the challenges facing them.
He said their efforts are paying off as the security crisis confronting the country is gradually being reversed.
He spoke on a day a northern group, under the aegis of Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to step up efforts to end the siege of Boko Haram, bandits and kidnappers in the region.
Lawan, while hosting a delegation from Adamawa State that came to thank the National Assembly for converting the Modibbo Adama University, Yola, into a conventional university that can run medical programmes alongside social and management sciences said recent developments showed an improvement in efforts by the armed forces in combating insecurity.
The delegation was led by Senator Aishatu Ahmed and the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Abdullahi Tukur.
Lawan, in his welcome speech, said the conversion of the university was the outcome of a collaborative effort between the legislature and the executive arms of government.
On the security and economic challenges facing Nigeria, Lawan said: "Those of us in the position of leadership today are probably more challenged than any other set of leaders. We need to pray, but we also need to act, work hard and apply ourselves fully and work with a commitment to ensure that we serve Nigerians.
"Nothing is impossible; this situation of insecurity gradually is being reversed. I am particularly happy with recent developments by our armed forces. They are doing better than they were doing before.
"I'm sure that the economy will also start to improve and we will get out of the recession that we entered last month."
According to him, with the implementation of the capital budget 2020 up till the end of March, and the start of the implementation of the 2021 budget, the economy will receive a boost.
He also stated that the National Assembly would be judged fairly by Nigerians for its pro-people legislations in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, which slowed down development.
Lawan lauded Buhari for assenting to the bill on the conversion of the university, describing the development as cooperative governance.
"We work with the executive to ensure that the Nigerian people benefit from democracy.
"We have set our eyes on our target of making Nigeria better and making Nigerians safer. What matters to us is what we are able to achieve at the end of the day.
"History will judge us very fairly, and without sounding immodest, I'll like to take this opportunity to congratulate the ninth National Assembly," he added.
He said the National Assembly has achieved so much between 2019 till date despite the pandemic.
"We have achieved unity amongst ourselves in the National Assembly environment, between the Senate and the House; and of course, we have achieved harmony in work between the National Assembly and the executive; and that's the essence of governance, anyway.
"When we disagree, we will do so; but if we have no reason to disagree, we will not do that because we want to please anybody," he said.
Northern Group Charge Buhari to End Siege by Bandits, Others
A Northern group has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to step up efforts to end the siege of Boko Haram, bandits and kidnappers in the region.
It called on the president to device new approach in restoring peace in the troubled areas.
This is coming as bandits, suspected to be kidnappers, have killed four persons and abducted Professor Aliyu Mohammed in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The group noted that the criminal elements have grounded educational, economic and socio-political activities in the region.
It said it will take over 100 years to recover from the destruction, killings and trauma associated with insecurity in the region if the development was not brought under control now.
The group, Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development, in a statement yesterday by its National Coordinator, Mr. Zana Goni, said it was time for Buhari to replace the nation's security heads and try new hands to combat insecurity.
It also appealed to Buhari to restructure the country's security architecture so as to give the war against insurgence a boost.
The statement added that the North is still under the siege from Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping and other forms of criminality, insisting that the ugly security situation has been under reported.
"We are concerned over this poor media coverage by the media. The inability of the service chiefs to change the game against terrorists, bandits and kidnappers threatening the continued existence of the region despite the heavy investment made by the president so far to ensure restoration of peace, is no doubt worrisome to us.
"We believe wholeheartedly too that this development is a source of great concern to all patriotic Nigerians out there.
"From what is on ground, it would take the North-east more than 100 years to recover even if the war stops today.
"As we write this to present our plight to the public, there is no school opened to academic activities in the region, except perhaps in Maiduguri metropolis of Borno State," it explained.
It noted that farmers can't go to farms anymore, especially in the North-east, raising concerns of severe famine if the situation is not immediately addressed.
The statement stated that economic activities have been disrupted as a result of the activities of terrorists, bandits and kidnappers.
"There is equally no social activities anymore in the region as people preferably stay in their various houses now to avert being prowled on by the adversaries," it added.
The group also hailed the appointment of Brigadier Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) as the Chairman of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) by Buhari.
"We must confess that it is the right step in the right direction because drug abuse is one of the major banes of security in the North. We know his pedigree and we are sure he would deliver on his mandate," it said.
Bandits Kill Four, Abduct Professor in Kaduna
Bandits have killed four persons and abducted Professor Aliyu Mohammed in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, confirmed the incident in a statement yesterday.
He explained that the bandits invaded the residence of the professor who also holds the title of Wazirin Wusasa in the night and kidnapped him and killed his son. His nephew, Mr. Abba Kabiru, was injured during the attack.
Two members of a local vigilante group in the Giwa Local Government Area were also killed by bandits in another attack.
He said: "Bandits on motorcycles swarmed Iyatawa village of Giwa local government area, and fortunately, groups of local vigilantes confronted the bandits and eventually forced them to disperse.
"Sadly, two of the local vigilantes, Malam Auwalu and Alassan Shehu, were killed during the encounter, as ground and air patrols were quickly mobilised to the location for a comprehensive engagement."
The commissioner also reported another attack by bandits on commuters last Sunday on the road from Anaba village to Birnin Yero town in Igabi Local Government Area.