North under siege – Senate

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                                Senate adjourns over  lack of quorum
The Senate, yesterday, beamed its searchlight on the festering insecurity in the country, particularly in northern Nigeria, saying the growing insecurity is creating humanitarian crisis in the region.

Ongoing attacks by the Islamic State in West Africa or the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWA) in North East, farmers-herders clashes in North Central and North West as well as rampant cases of banditry, the Red legislative chamber said, were fueling crises in the country.

The observation by the federal lawmakers corroborated the fears and concerns raised by former presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and others in the last one week, particularly in the wake of the gruesome muder of daughter of the leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, at Kajola village along Benin/Ore road in Odigbo Local Government Area by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

President Muhammadu Buhari, however, described those he accused of politicising the “isolated incidents of insecurity” in the country as unpatriotic.

Notwithstanding, the senate, in a motion sponsored by Mohammed Ali Ndume, tagged: “The dire state of humanitarian crises in Nigeria especially Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states” urged the Executive arm to pay more attention to the humanitarian crisis caused by insecurity.

In his lead debate, Ndume painted a gloomy picture of the realities on ground and put the current number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the North East at over 7.1 million.

He also placed the number of people in need of food at 2.7 million, while malnourished children stands at 1.1 million.

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He said about $1.2 billion (N420 billion) is required to address the humanitarian crises as soon as possible.

He said: “The humanitarian crisis caused by Boko Haram and ISWA in the North East, North West, farmers-herders clashes in the North Central region and rampant cases of banditry are of concerns.

“Already, more than 7.1 million people need humanitarian assistance in the North East. The violence continues to disrupt livelihoods and deepening the impact of chronic vulnerabilities such as food insecurity, malnutrition and epidemics in affected communities.”

To address the issues, the Senate has mandated the Federal Ministry of Finance to release funds to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and refugees commission to enable them address the humanitarian crises.

As part of a wider arrangement to address the crises, the Senate said it would organise a conference on North East humanitarian issue.

The date and the composition of the committee are yet to be announced.

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, criticised government agencies responsible for the management of funds offered by donor agencies.

He also flayed the practice where the bulk of the money released by donor agencies were spent on overhead by those responsible for the implementation of the intervention programmes

Lawan said: “The issue of the displaced persons and IDPs mentioned, are a subject of debate. It is a serious issue. We have to come up with very coordinated approach to handle the situation in the IDP camp

“As a country, we can afford to deal with the situation. We are not a very poor country. I think what we lack is the coordination to deal with the situation there and of course we deploy so much resources.

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“We get from within and from foreign donors, but there is lack of focus and prudence in the use of those resources. What we need to do is to engage the National Planning Commission because the donor agencies should really declare exactly what is being brought and the what the IDPs would have.

“In a situation where the donor agencies use the monies for rent and other things is wrong. I think it is not acceptable. The bulk of the funds must be expended on the IDP. The committee on special duties will handle it when constituted.”




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