In what appears decisive for a lingering national security failing, the House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a resolution summoning President Goodluck Jonathan to speak on his administration’s response to the unrelenting attacks launched mainly by the militant group, Boko Haram, and other bouts of sectarian strife.
The president, alongside his security chiefs, is to address the lawmakers behind closed doors about the crisis that again flared last weekend with multiple bombs attacks and reprisals in Kaduna, and clashes between militants and security forces in Yobe state.
A date has however not been named for the meeting, meaning the lawmakers may leave the president to decide on a time in line with his schedule.
Mr. Jonathan was scheduled to travel to Brazil Tuesday for the United Nations earth summit, Rio+20, as the aftermath of the multiple bouts of violence that have killed dozens stoked uncertainties in northern states of Kaduna and Yobe.
The president, who is travelling with his wife, Patience, will participate in the summit’s four plenary sessions at Rio Centro plenary hall on Wednesday and Thursday, the State House said in a statement Monday.
He will also attend a reception to be hosted by the Brazilian president for Heads of States and Governments.
Clashes between security forces and suspected Boko Haram militants erupted in Damaturu and Potiskum in Yobe state on Monday, forcing residents indoors with unclear reports of casualties, a day following deadly bomb attacks on churches and reprisals in Kaduna state.
In Kaduna the state government has restored absolute after the violence in the state again degenerated following a fresh youth unrest. The curfew was earlier relaxed after temporary calm returned to the state following Sunday’s attacks.
Still, anxiety and fear of further outbreak of violence hung in the air, they said.
In Damaturu, gunshots and explosions rang out from the Sabon Pegi area of the Yobe capital, rapidly spreading to other parts of the north east state Monday evening with unconfirmed reports the attack was later curtailed by the Joint Task Force. Residents say the attack was aimed at taking over the state government house.
Resuming from its two-week break Tuesday, the Senate held hours of closed-door meeting on the violence that has increasingly appeared routine and undefeatable.
The Senate said it would do whatever needed to contain the crisis even if it meant initiating a fresh constitution amendment to ensure the unity of the country.
“We must make sure the current security challenges of the country do not continue,” Senate president, David Mark, said after the session.The House considered a motion on the crisis, and approved an amendment put forward by Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, demanding the appearance of the president.
Mr. Jonathan came under serious criticisms from the lawmakers for embarking on the Brazil trip while the nation was on “fire”.
The motion was first table by Yakubu Barde (Kaduna/PDP) under matters of urgent national importance.
The motion initially sought a resolution condemning Sunday and Monday attacks, and urging the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief materials to affected and displaced persons in Kaduna state.
When it came for contributions, Mr. Gbajabiamila (Lagos/ACN) suggested the president be asked to appear. The contribution was unanimously adopted.
“The security situation has infringed on the fundamental rights of Nigerians to religion, peaceful assembly, freedom of movement and right to life,” Mr. Gbajabiamila said. “We are not castigating him (referring to Jonathan) but let us exchange ideas.”
See our earlier brief post below
The House of Representatives passed a historic resolution Tuesday, summoning President Goodluck Jonathan over excerbating violence that has gripped the nation for more than a year.
Federal lawmakers usually mandate the appearance of government ministers and other officials, while the president’s address before the National Assembly holds annually during budget presentation, and occasionally during the visit of some international dignataries.
This time, the president is to officially brief the lawmakers on the current state of insecurity mainly in northern states.
He is to appear with his defence chiefs.
The date for his appearance has however not been named, meaning the lawmakers may allow Mr. Jonathan the discretion of choosing a date in line with his schedule.
More details later…