The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Olufemi Gbajabiamila, has pointed out that Nigerians are fast losing confidence in the country following the government’s inability to address the security and economic crises.
The Speaker made this observation, on Monday, in his closing speech at the plenary, after the passage of the 2021 Appropriation Bill.
Gbajabiamila sympathized with Nigerians over the crisis, but moved to assure citizens that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has been making frantic attempts at addressing the security situation.
“Notwithstanding these efforts, we cannot escape the hard truth that this has been a tough year of suffering for too many citizens, a year like none before it,” Gbajabiamila stated.
While suggesting that the state of insecurity rocking the nation preceded the Buhari government, he also sympathized with the current administration for the “limited time” they had to tackle the security situation.
“We have a limited window to address problems that have been a long time in the making,” he noted while making a case for the government.
“This year, we have seen that the structural inadequacies of our economy and health care systems; our internal security and justice architecture have left us dangerously exposed to the risk of a complete and irreversible loss of faith in the Nigerian project by a large section of our citizenry.
“Despite spirited government efforts, our economy is still overly reliant on the sale of crude oil. Vast swathes of potential in tourism and agriculture, manufacturing and technology, media and entertainment remain untapped due to insecurity, infrastructure deficits, policy and regulatory inconsistency.
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“The risks we face are not abstract. In the aftermath of the EndSARS protests, we saw it in the flames that engulfed our cities. We saw it two weeks ago in Zarbamari (Borno State) with the massacre of citizens farming for survival, and most recently in the abduction of young boys seeking to improve their lives through education in Kankara (Katsina State),” he said.
Gbajabiamila cited the Police Service Commission (Reform) Bill, which has passed second reading, as one of the ways lawmakers were seeking to ensure the accountability of the police.
“We will continue to exercise our constitutional powers of oversight to demand more from the military and security services, even as we make sure to provide the resources they need to train, equip and provide for the welfare of the men and women who bear arms on our nation’s behalf and in our name.
“The responsibility of undoing the damage of many years has fallen to us. We have a lot of work to do. We are each called to lead our nation towards the promised land, to restore the dignity of every man, woman and child who swears allegiance to our constitution and salutes our nation’s flag.
“We will improve Nigeria by building infrastructure that provides jobs, by protecting our people’s lives and property, and repairing the relationship between citizens and the state. This is what we must do to restore faith in Nigeria’s promise and prevent the risk of a destructive renegotiation of our nationhood,” he stated.
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