The Speaker of House of Representative, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said Secession agitators are not different from Boko Haram and Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) members.
He described them as criminals masquerading as secession activists to unleash mayhem on innocent Nigerians and engage in economic sabotage.
The Speaker warned that if given time and space, the agitators would use their groups to put the nation on the path of destruction, Gbajabiamila stated this in Abuja while addressing members of the House on resumption from their summer vacation.
He used the opportunity to read a letter by President Muhammadu Buhari seeking approval to borrow $4 billion and €710 million loans to fund the 2021 budget.
Gbajabiamila, who assured that the House would no longer fold its arms and watch the agitators cause disunity in the country, stated that now was the time for statesmen to act beyond the petty considerations of politics for Nigeria to achieve greatness.
He said: “Let it be apparent to those who have made themselves enemies of Nigeria that this 9th House of Representatives will respond to the audacity of their evil with every tool and resource at our disposal, and we will not be deterred.
“Thus far, we have rightly focused our national security concerns on the machinations of extremist insurgents who seek to remake our world in the image of their discredited theocracy and bandits who maraud and terrorise whole regions for profit.
“We must now add to these concerns an emerging threat that presents the same clear and present danger.
“In the South of Nigeria, East and West, miscreants, and criminals masquerading as separationist activists have emerged to wreak havoc, take lives and commit economic sabotage against fellow Nigerians and against the state.
“These people, in their inclination for devastating violence against fellow citizens, their appetite for the destruction of private property, their disruption of academic activities, commerce, and industry, their propensity for defiling institutions of the state, society, and community, their refusal to engage in debate, or to consider the possibility of dissenting opinions and alternative viewpoints are no different from Boko Haram and ISWAP.
“Given space and time, they will take our nation down the same path of destruction. We know from experience that neither appeasement nor overwhelming violence alone will work.
“We have been down this road before; we know what the consequences of inaction can be. We also know that we cannot afford to be reactionary in our approach.
“This is the time to convene our best efforts to articulate a political, economic, military, and policing strategy to address both the manifestations and root causes of this emerging threat.
“Let nobody be under the impression that there is a political opportunity in exploiting this moment. This is a time for statesmen to act beyond the petty considerations of politics, to do the hard things and achieve greatness”.
He assured that the 9th House of Representatives will continue to take action as required to address statutory deficiencies that limit the ability of the nation’s security apparatus to respond effectively to the insecurity in the country.
The Speaker said the House would prioritise national security bills that seek to implement the recommendations of the security summit organised by the House during the new legislative session.
He later read the letter in which Buhari also sought approval for a $125 million grant.
Like his letter to the Senate, the President explained that the loans and grant were an addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan.
He said the need to borrow more funds was to meet the emerging needs of some critical projects.
“The projects listed in the addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, China Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE), in the total sum of $4,054,476,863 plus Euro 710,000,000. and grant component of $125,000,000.00,” the letter read.
The National Assembly had in July approved $8,325,526,537 and €490 million loan requests by Buhari.
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