Wading into the Niger Delta crisis, the House of Representatives has thrown its weight behind the ongoing military action targeted at stopping and apprehending the militants in the region.
The spokesman of the House, Hon Abdulrazak Namdas, briefing newsmen yesterday, commended the military for its role in safeguarding the country from threats of aggression.
He disclosed that the Defence Committee of the House had visited the Niger Delta region to ascertain the extent of vandalism on oil and gas facilities and assess the security situation.
“We are very comfortable with what the federal government is doing, and we would support the government to go ahead with what they are doing. We hope very soon these issues would be addressed,” he said.
He also advocated that multinational oil firms operating in the region should make arrangements to secure their facilities by involving the indigenes.
The House at plenary yesterday also directed its Committees on Human Rights, National Security and Intelligence to investigate the reported extra-judicial killings of unarmed civilians in the South-east and South-south states by security forces on May 30, 2016.
Security agencies had opened fire on members of IPOB and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) who held processions to mark Biafra Day in both geopolitical zones.
At least 37 lives were reportedly lost to the clashes between pro-Biafra sypathisers and security forces.
Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Onyema Chukwuma, in a motion raised as matter of urgent importance, expressed concern at the spate of extra-judicial killings by security agencies in Nigeria.
The trend has continued despite the outcries, investigations and wide condemnation, he said.
Citing the constitution, which guarantees the right to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly, Onyema stressed that the rule of law and respect for the rights of citizens were cardinal ingredients for the survival and consolidation of democracy.
He listed the consequences of what he described as the high handed engagement to include feelings of alienation, marginalisation and subsequent escalation of confrontational tendencies and resistance to the state.
“Nigeria’s dismal human rights records are largely predicated on unprovoked widespread and forceful engagements of our security agencies on unarmed civilians,” he said.
Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, referred the matter to the committees without debate by the lawmakers. But a minute’s silence was held in honour of those who died.
The decision not to debate the matter may not be unconnected to the sensitive issue of the pro-Biafra rallies.
Interestingly, nowhere in the deputy minority leader’s motion, were the words IPOB, MASSOB or Biafra mentioned.
At the height of the pro-Biafra protests in 2015, a motion on the matter was quietly withdrawn on the floor of the House.
The committees are expected to submit their reports in two weeks.
Culled from ThisDay