The Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, says the current internal security challenges undermine public faith in government’s ability to fulfill its fundamental obligation of protecting lives and property of citizens.
Gbajabiamila made the remark on Thursday in Abuja at a two-day retreat and workshop on promoting effective legislation and oversight of the security sector in Nigeria.
The event was organised by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a German Foundation, in conjunction with the House Committee on National Security and Intelligence.
Gbajabiamila said: We are at this moment experiencing in many parts of our country, significant internal security challenges that have disrupted the lives of many of our citizens, and led to a loss of lives and property at a scale that cannot easily be quantified.
“These internal security challenges threaten the very existence of the Nigerian state because they undermine public faith in the government’s ability to fulfill its fundamental obligation to protect the lives and property of citizens.”
Gbajabiamila said the three arms of government had a shared responsibility to take all necessary actions to meet these challenges head-on.
He said: “This is what the people who elected us rightly expect.
“National security is generally understood to be the preserve of the executive arm of government.
“As a result, the general public and even the political class often do not know what the legislative role in national security is, or ought to be.
“This knowledge gap presents an ongoing limitation on the policy-making and oversight role of the legislature as it pertains specifically to the challenges we face in the national security sector.
“Workshops such as the one we have gathered here for today are an essential tool in reversing this gap.”
The Chairman, House Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Sha’aban Sharada, said members of the committee were committed to seeing that all security agencies under them were provided with the necessary support to succeed in their mandate.
Sharada hinted that the committee was currently working on a bill on proliferation of small arms and light weapons as part of efforts to tackling the problem.
The lawmaker, who called on all security agencies to strengthen their efforts, urged the citizens to give them the maximum support.
The Resident Representative of KAS in Nigeria, Dr. Vladimir Kreck, said his organisation had been partnering with different government institutions in the area of security to find lasting solutions to the challenges in the sector.
According to Kreck: “We believe that democratic governance and hence the National Assembly have to play a more decisive role in forming a strong security apparatus in Nigeria capable of tackling the various security threats effectively.”