Swing on state police as National Assembly, governors, state assemblies hold crucial consultations

The clamour for State Police creation is recording renewed hope as stakeholders including the National Assembly, state governors and the 36 States Houses of Assembly are set for crucial consultations on the matter. The Senate has said that it would not hesitate to give legislative effect to the clamour once it is established through such parliamentary instruments as public hearings, motions and bills. Providing insight on the matter, spokesperson of the Senate, Yemi Adaramodu, said Nigeria’s security architecture would soon be reorganised to reflect the reality of security situations in all parts of the country. He said the retooling needed by security agencies, particularly the police, was receiving serious legislative attention in the National Assembly.
Adaramodu also gave hints on some measures being taken in the Senate to address issues of inter-agency disharmony that has been threatening the country’s security. In this interview with AZIMAZI MOMOH JIMOH, Adaramodu, however, said the quest for the introduction of the parliamentary system of government by some lawmakers would be subjected to due legislative processes, pointing out that there is no automatic adoption of any policy, bill or motions in National Assembly. Excerpts: 

Nigerians seem not to be very happy with the parliament because of the way their issues are being handled at the moment, especially the last time you met with the Service Chiefs on the issue of security.  After over 12 hours of an Executive Session, you came out and passed vote of confidence in them. Are you really satisfied with the approach to the crisis that is happening in this country? 
Well, my brother the thing is this. We have to encourage them; we have to make sure that people that are in charge of our security, whatever fears or apprehensions we have, after expressing that, if they give us assurances that we will not be disappointed and they gave us the milestones that they have covered and the timelines of what they need to do, we have to give them the chance and look up to them to deliver within the timeline that they have given us. They have told maybe one or two grey areas that we need to come in that we had not come in and we are coming in especially in judicial area where they are talking about speedy prosecution of any culprit or suspect apprehended in these nefarious activities of bandits, terrorists and that of kidnappers especially.

When you send a child on an errand and when that child is going on that errand and before the child gets there and  comes back to give you results, you have started chastising him, definitely it means that you don’t believe in the result that the child is bringing in. So, why do you have to send such a child on an errand? 
So, we have sent them on an errand and what we did with them few days ago was the first time we are meeting for so long and we met all of them together because we have been hearing series of complaints – inter-agency; there is no mutual understanding, mutual engagement, then they don’t work together, there is no synergy, there is no this and that. Then we felt that for the first time let’s bring all of them together:  DSS, Police, Army, Navy, Air Force, then the supreme leader, which is the National Security Adviser (NSA), who serves as the political head and the  mitigator in their own professional areas. Let’s bring them together, whoever has anything to accuse the other agent, let that person come  in and now do that one. Then, when we brought all of them together and they spoke frankly with us, not among themselves, including the ministry of interior that is supposed to man our borders through the Immigration; the Minister of Finance who is supposed to make releases so that nobody will just come to us and say when we asked for kobo, it was not provided, we asked for N2, N1 was provided. So, we brought all of them together and so when they all spoke and like I said, that for the first time we spent about 10 hours talking to them, interrogating where necessary, asking questions where necessary and then that’s why we said, yes, we believe that  they can give us results because we believe what we have found out from them when all of them spoke together.

When the governors met with the President recently, they came up with the idea of State Police.  What is the parliament thinking about it now? What should  Nigerians expect from the parliament? 
Yes, the parliament is to make laws and the laws that the parliament made are laws that will be generated for the interest and aspirations of Nigerians. So, if either the Federal Government or the state governors wants State Police, and we have now inaugurated a Constitution Review Committee, the committee will now go out there and meet up with all the critical stakeholders in Nigeria within the sectors – traditional rulers and so on and so forth. 

So, when they meet and aggregate  opinions and we know that this is what Nigerians want, that is the law that we are going to make. We represent the people and the law must be the people’s law. 

So, it is going to be the people’s law. Whatever kind of police that Nigerians want; that is what the National Assembly will give to them. And another thing is that we want to ensure that we carry all stakeholders along because when we talk about constitutional amendment or making of it, we need 24 states of the federation to concur with us. So, it does not start and end up with the National Assembly. 

It starts from the National Assembly, then goes to the state Houses of Assembly and comes back to National Assembly for promulgation before it goes to the Presidency for assent. So, it is not a one way lawmaking. Once Nigerians are desirous through their governors and then the Presidency that Nigerian policing must be re-jigged, we have to find something to do about it so that we can ensure that there is peace in our land. 

Definitely, we are going to follow suit; by the time our committee on constitution review comes back to us and this is their take away from their rapport with various sectors of the Nigerian populace, definitely, that is what we are going to follow.

What is the National Assembly doing to address agitations arising from rising fuel price and threats of electricity tariff hike amidst  increasing cost of living ?
Thank you very much. On the issue of the petroleum and power, if you can just recall, the Senate instituted a committee to probe the activities of the NNPCL and even the oil sector generally; we are awaiting the report. 

The report will determine our approach to the issue. We are going to compel the Executive to do something about this issue and that of power too. Yes, a minister can come out and say what he will like to say but the minister is not the last voice on such issues. The Presidency is there; even on our own side, we have the committee solely responsible for power matters. And appropriately,  that committee will swing into action and then they will brief the Senate accordingly and from their briefings, the Senate will take appropriate action. What I want to assure Nigerians is that the 10th Senate will not abandon them because it will mean that we have abandoned ourselves.

We are not here on our own; there is nothing that happens to one Nigerian that doesn’t happen to us. And because of that, we feel it even more than any other person because we are the people very close to our people.

And on the issue of the NLC strike, the Federal Government has been  meeting with them and yes, there is an analogy, which I like to draw; when a child is crying for food and the father is going  up and down  to ensure that food is provided for the child, if the child cries too much by the time the food comes the child will be so weak to eat the food. So, it  is an analogy and I am very sure that is what is taking place now. NLC is meeting with the Federal Government; they will reach an agreement and then whatever agreement they reach we expect that it will be expeditiously adhered to.

We are ready to even stake so many things including our own freedom and even our welfare to ensure that Nigerians get what they bargained for. And what are those things Nigerians bargained for? They bargained  for good life, a peaceful and secured environment and an economically viable polity.

There is a gospel of parliamentary system of government coming from the National Assembly. What is the body language of the Senate; do you think the Senate will consider it?
The Senate has no body language; we will look at the body language of Nigerians first because we represent them; because  we are part of the body that will speak the language and so because of that, like you know and everybody knows,  either in the Senate or House of Representatives, people can come up with bills and motions. 

So, it is for bills and motions to be subjected to the crucibles of legislation and then what are the crucibles of legislation? When you bring in your bill especially, then it comes to several readings – first and second, then it goes to public hearing where the Nigerian public will be invited to come and air their views, sector by sector, then we talk; once they talk we aggregate. So, the committees so concerned about holding such public hearing will now make a report to the National Assembly either in the Senate or House of Representatives and after that it comes up for third reading where every legislator will sit down and consider clause by clause for whatever you might have found out. So, it is after it that we will now be talking about law or no law. 

So for us, whoever comes out and says ‘oh, we want diarchy, we want oligarchy, we want aristocracy, we want plutocracy, we want parliamentary, we want presidential’, the duty  of the legislature or legislators is to come up with what they think can enhance the polity and how to represent their constituents too; whatever their constituents are thinking, they aggregate same and bring before the National Assembly either the House of Representatives or Senate in the form of either motion or bill and then a bill is not a law. A bill will become a law after it has gone through the crucibles of a legislative scrutiny. It has not started that legislative scrutiny so we can’t be talking about body language. Like I said, the language of the Senate is the language of Nigerians because we are a vital part of the body. So, we will speak the same language when that comes to us.

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