Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, has said secessionists must not be allowed to make any attempt to place Nigeria on a path of destruction like terrorists.
Gbajabiamila, who represents Surulere I Federal Constituency of Lagos State, said this while welcoming lawmakers of the lower chamber from their annual recess during plenary on Wednesday.
According to the speaker, there is no difference between secessionists and terrorists, warning that they would attempt to destroy the country if they are “given time and space”.
He said: “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.
“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,” he said.
“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 said the green chamber will utilise legislative mechanisms to tackle insecurity, noting that the lawmakers will prioritise national security bills to “defeat” enemies of the country.
He said: “Therefore, the ninth house of representatives will continue to take action as required to address statutory deficiencies that limit the ability of our national security apparatus to respond effectively to the myriad manifestations of insecurity in our country.
“In our last session, we convened a security summit to deliberate on the issue and articulate recommendations for executive and legislative action.
“At the same time, we have begun to take legislative action to implement the summit’s recommendations on statutory reform, amendments and the enactment of new legislation.
“Several such bills have already passed the second reading and now await action in the respective committees. I urge the chairmen and members of those committees to act quickly and conscientiously to bring those bills to the floor as soon as is practicable.
“In this parliamentary session, we will prioritise national security bills that seek to implement the recommendations of the summit. This is not to suggest that we will abdicate action on other matters of national concern.
“We only reaffirm our commitment to do all that we can to defeat those who have made it their cause to impose on our country an unending orgy of carnage and inflict our people with devastating grief.
“Let it be apparent to those who have made themselves enemies of Nigeria that this ninth 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.”