An interesting debate took place in the senate on Tuesday. It stemmed from the insecurity and frequent large scale killings across the country.
As expected, senators were scandalised over the killings, with the most recent being over 200 deaths in Plateau state.
The most controversial contribution to the debate was made by Zamfara Senator Kabiru Marafa.
First, he condemned Christian religious leaders who say that the killings have a religious bent, calling them hypocrites.
“Plateau State is predominantly a Christian state so if people are killed in Plateau, Christians will be killed. But we sit down and say ‘Christians are being eliminated’, ‘it is genocide’ and so on. This is hypocrisy! We ought to give this thing the name it deserves.
“I make bold to say that the killings in Plateau State are happening in conjunction with indigenes of that state because it is a business. But every day, we either give it an ethnic or religious colouration without minding the fact that these things are being done and we are the losers.
“The Christian and Muslim clerics that are giving these killings a religious colouration are all hypocrites. It is not limited to one religion but at the end of the day, the problem remains,” he said.
Then he said the killings going on in the country is serious business for some, particularly pointing fingers at those who want state police.
He was quickly called out on this by various senators especially the senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, who called on Marafa to withdraw his statement. “There are certain things we say here that we may not understand the implication. Senator Marafa is saying that those who are pushing for state police are the ones behind the killings so that they can have their way,” EKweremadu said. “Our rules say no one should input improper motive to any other senator. I am saying this because I don’t want to go out of this place and somebody will arrest me that I sponsored the killings. He has to withdraw that statement.”
Marafa withdrew his comments but he was not done. The next thing he did was to call for liberalisation of gun ownership.
“My point is, people cannot be slaughtered in their houses helplessly. Maybe what we need to do is to liberalise gun control. Let everybody own a gun so that when you are coming to my house, you will know that I have my own gun while you are coming with yours. The only advantage these people killing others have is because they are carrying a gun. He also called for the imposition of a state of emergency where there are killings,” he said.
According to the senate president, Bukola Saraki, “We as the Senate must come up with our own actions. We do not need to flog the issue. We have told the Executive what to do. We have told them privately and we have told them publicly. However, on our own part, we must decide on what we need to do. Let us play our own part to address the issues that we have control over.”
So the senate made a few resolutions:
- To direct its constitutional review committee to put in place a machinery within the next two weeks to amend the constitution to allow for the creation of state and community police.
- To call on security agencies to stop involving themselves in the politics of the nation.
- To condemn the terrorist attacks, mass killings and displacement of the people and occupation of their central homes and farmlands.
- To urge the executive to overhaul the security architecture of the country and to put in place a better security action plan and decisively tackle violent terror attacks threatening the continuous existence of communities in the North Central geopolitical zone and indeed Nigeria.
To urge the executive to undertake the rehabilitation of displaced persons and reconstruction of communities in Plateau North, South and Central Senatorial Districts so they can return to their homes and farmlands.
To urge the executive arm of government to apprehend and persecute all perpetrators and sponsors of violence, no matter how highly placed they are.
To fast-track the passage of the Peace and Reconciliation Bill and Police Reform Bill within the next two weeks.