As Senators, mainly of the minority block from the Peeoples Democratic Party (PDP) moved to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari over the worsening insecurity in the country, the country’s minister of informstion, Lai Mohammed has described the move as unnecessary because the President is as concerned about the security situation as they.
The Senate minority, today, July 27, gave President Buhari six weeks to curb insecurity or face a formal notice of impeachment from them, even as the country’s information minister, Lai Mohammed described the move as unnecessary.
The minister, who reacted to the Senate move at a news briefing shortly after the Senate made its stand known said that the federal government s working round the clock, 24 hours, to ensure that the security situation is brought under control.
According to him, there is no need for such an ultimatum, as the government is doing all it can to address the security challenges in the country, saying: “I want to assure you that the President is aware of all these and as a matter of fact, I think tomorrow there’s going to be another Security Council meeting.
“So, it’s not a matter the President is taking lightly and like I’ll always say, some of the measures we’re going to take are not measures that you can discuss openly here, but we’re as concerned as you are, we’re not going to abandon our responsibility,” he said.
The minister also described the reported threat by terrorists to kidnap the president as laughable and mere propaganda.
“As to those who have issued threats to Mr President, I think it’s more of propaganda than anything. It’s laughable,” he said.
Lai Mohammed said that the Federal Executive Council (FEC), at its meeting today, approved a memo by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, for a standard operation procedure on maintaining the civilian and humanitarian character of asylum seekers in Cameroon.
“You all know that due to the insurgency in Cameroon, Nigeria has witnessed an influx of Cameroonian asylum seekers and there are basic standard procedures for you to be granted status as an asylum seeker.
“This is what the council considered and approved today. And basically is that anybody from Cameroon who is seeking asylum in Nigeria must first convinced the authorities that he or she has actually renounced armed struggle, before you can even be considered as an asylum seeker.
“Also they are cases of some of them who have come even when they claim to have surrendered their arms, go back at times, to join the separatist movement in Cameroon.
“So, the procedure was explained and approved today that will evaluate the basic criteria to grant asylum.
“So, all we have done today is to establish the standard procedure to ensure that those who claim to be asylum seekers are actually not insurgents themselves that have come to destabilise Nigeria or people who will come and be launching attacks against their own country from the comfort of Nigeria.”
The minority members of the Senate had staged a walk out of plenary in the heat generated by the impeachment move, as the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan refused to allow a motion by Minority Leader, Philip Aduda to be discussed.
The Senators, who briefed newsmen after walking out of the Senate Chamber, insisted that they had during their closed-door session, which lasted for two hours, agreed that they would deliberate on rising insecurity and give Buhari an ultimatum to either address insecurity or be impeached.
They expressed anger that Lawan refused to abide by their resolution to debate the issue of insecurity after reverting to plenary from the closed door session.
The lawmakers were chanting “All we are saying, Buhari must go!”
Apart from Aduda, other Senators who walked out of the Senate Chambers and participated in the briefing include Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA); George Sekibo (PDP); Mohammed Bulkachuwa (APC – Bauchi North); Betty Apiafi (PDP); Christopher Ekpenyong (PDP); Nicholas Tofowomo, Francis Alimikhena (PDP), Adamu Aliero (PDP), Ahmad Babba-Kaita (PDP); Ibrahim Shekarau (NNPP); Matthew Urhoghide (PDP) and Istifanus Gyang (PDP).
Others are Francis Onyewuchi (PDP) Chukwuka Utazi (PDP), Biodun Olujimi (PDP); Akon Eyankeyi (PDP); Obinna Ogba (PDP); Ayo Akinyelure (PDP); Danjuma La’ah (PDP); Yahaya Abdullahi (PDP), Emmanuel Okar-jev (PDP); Uche Ekwunife (PDP), Clifford Ordia (PDP), etc.
Aduda (FCT), had complained about the worsening security situation during plenary.
Rising under a point of order, which he did not cite, Aduda requested the chamber to give a six-week ultimatum to President Muhammadu Buhari to address the issue of insecurity or face impeachment.
“Mr. President, you may wish to recall that during the closed session, we discussed the issues as they relate to security in the country and all the issues around it.
“And we had also discussed that we are going to come back to plenary to discuss the efforts that have been made so far on the issue of security in the country, after which we give an ultimatum to the President that he resolves this issue, otherwise we give an impeachment notice.”
The Senate President, while ruling on Aduda’s point of order, faulted the minority leader for failing to put forward his request in accordance with the upper chamber’s rules which regulates its proceedings.
Lawan in his ruling said: “Minority Leader, when you’re going to come under a point of order, first, you’re supposed to cite the order.
“Secondly, you’re supposed to discuss with me what you’re going to raise on the floor. You didn’t.
“Thirdly, we have already passed that stage. So, at this moment, I really don’t know what the point of order is, as such it falls flat on its face.”
Following the comment by the Senate President, opposition Senators led by Aduda staged a walk out of the chambers during plenary.”