The Senate on Thursday demonstrated a strong commitment to ending the growing at¬tacks on communities and de¬struction of private property by Fulani herdsmen.
The Senate summoned the country’s Security Chiefs to appear before it to explain the steps they have taken to check the killings by armed militias.
Its action was prompted by last Monday’s killings of resi¬dents of Nimbo community in Enugu State by rampaging Fu¬lani herdsmen.
Besides inviting the Secu¬rity Chiefs, the Upper Cham¬ber also set up a six-member ad-hoc committee drawn from the six geopolitical zones of the country to look into the menace of the herdsmen and proffer solutions to it.
The lawmakers charged the security agencies to improve on their intelligence-gathering capacities and be proactive rather than reacting to threats to internal security, especially in cases where there are credible intelligence to act upon.
They further urged the se¬curity agencies to enforce the laws on arms bearing by unau¬thorised persons in the coun¬try to stop illegal possession of arms by people with clandes¬tine motives to harm others.
The Upper House also called on the Nigeria Police to expedite action on the estab¬lishment of the Rapid Response Police Unit around communi¬ties where Fulani herdsmen have carried out attacks.
It called upon the Nation¬al Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other re¬lated agencies to dispatch relief materials to Nimbo, Nkpologu, Uvuru, Ugbene-Ajima and Adani in Enugu State to ame¬liorate the living conditions of the victims of the herdsmen at¬tack, who have become Inter¬nally Displaced Persons.
The Senate made these res¬olutions following a motion moved by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North) un¬der Matters of Urgent Public Importance.
In his lead debate, Sena¬tor Utazi told the Senate that the people of Uzo-Uwani Lo¬cal Government Area in Enugu State were attacked by Fulani herdsmen in the early hours of Monday, killing about 38 per¬sons, with hundreds sustaining various degrees of injuries.
He expressed concern that property, including church¬es, were also destroyed by the herdsmen.
He said that an intensive search was still on to recover some dead bodies, while those recovered had been deposited in various hospitals in the state.
He lamented that the situ¬ation had thrown the affected towns and villages, including the neighbouring communi¬ties where people ran to take refuge, into a serious panic.
The lawmaker raised the alarm that attacks in the coun¬cil by herdsmen had become a pattern, noting that the area was living in fear of extermi¬nation.
Senator Utazi, who lament¬ed the uncountable heinous at¬tacks of herdsmen on innocent citizens, said that the terrorist group hiding under the guise of cattle rearing had killed sever¬al thousand citizens in the last three years.
In their contributions, most senators cautioned on the dangers of the activities of the herdsmen in the country, warning that it posed a great threat to national unity and peaceful coexistence.
The Chief Whip of the Senate, Sen. Sola Adeyeye, suggested that state and local government Police should be established for effective polic¬ing of towns and villages in the country.
Senator Ben Murray Bruce (Bayelsa East) described the herdsmen as the worst terror¬ist organisation in the world to¬day.
Senator Emmanuel Bwa¬cha said he raised a motion on the floor of the Senate that Boko Haram were claiming to be Fulani herdsmen and invad¬ing, robbing and killing people but was not taken seriously.
Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, dis¬missed insinuations that the Fulani herdsmen emerged from Mali, Niger Republic and other West African countries, saying that 96% of the invad¬ers are Nigerians. He cautioned that concrete steps should be taken to forestall future occur-rences as Nigeria cannot afford a second civil war.
Senator Gilbert Nnaji (Enu¬gu East) said his people were warming up for a reprisal at¬tack and that they have asked him to go to the chamber and declare the Republic of Biafra since the Federal Government cannot guarantee their securi¬ty in the Nigeria state.
In his remarks, the Depu¬ty Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presid¬ed over the session, asked the Executive arm of government to live up to its responsibilities by promptly attending to the needs of the people.
He said: “I believe it is im¬portant that while the Execu¬tive is also making efforts, as parliamentarians, we must be seen to be doing something be¬cause the people see all of us as being part of government. We must show some sensibility in matters concerning our peo¬ple.”
He named the members of the Ad-hoc Committee to look into the menace of herdsmen as Ali Ndume (Chairperson) – North East; Isiaka Adeleke – South West, Mao Ohunbunwa – South East; Abdullahi Adamu – North Central, Shehu Sani – North West and Ben Bruce – South South.
Ekweremadu mandated the committee to commence work next week, including holding public hearings on the issue.
Meanwhile, the South East Senate Caucus has warned of imminent danger and possible threat to the unity of Nigeria if the Federal Government fails to address the Enugu massacre by the marauding herdsmen.
After an emergency meet¬ing in Abuja, the Senators called for a summit of the South East and South-South State Governors, members of National and State Houses of Assemblies, socio-cultural as¬sociations, traditional rulers and major stakeholders.
The emergency summit, ac¬cording to the lawmakers, is to review and evaluate the scary situation and proffer a coordi¬nated response to ensure the security of the lives and prop¬erty of their people.