From Tony Akowe, Abuja
House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila on Wednesday canvassed a new approach to tackling the myriad of security challenges in the country.
He said Nigerians should embrace new ideas and not hold tight to a security system that has proved ineffective.
Gbajabiamila described the inauguration of the Western Nigeria Security Network “Operation Amotekun” by governors of the Southwest as a desperate response to the manifestations of insecurity that deprived citizens of their peace.
He spoke during his address to members of the House on Wednesday before the commencement of their debate on the rising security problems in the country.
He said: “Overcoming our overwhelming national security challenges now requires that we be willing to accept new approaches and consider novel ideas.
“Neither the security institutions nor political leaders can afford to hold on too tightly to a status quo whose frustrating limitations are painfully evident, whilst reflexively rejecting innovations that may improve our fortunes if properly implemented.
“Recently, the governors of Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo and Ondo states, took action to implement a regional security network to support the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in preventing crimes and protecting the lives and property of our citizens who live, work and travel through these states.”
“The establishment of Àmòtékùn, as the network is called, has met with commentary from across the country, both for and against.
“Too often, it has seemed to me that lost in these interactions is the hard, brutal and unavoidable fact that Àmòtékùn and other such state or zonal interventions in other parts of the country are a desperate response to the vile manifestations of insecurity that trouble our citizens, depriving them of the peace and security that give life a meaning.
“I do not know that Àmòtékùn or whatever iterations of it may follow, represents the ultimate or perfect solution to the problem of insecurity in our country. Nobody does that.
“What I do know with absolute clarity and certainty is that the localised manifestations of insecurity across the different parts of our country call for unique and localised approaches that take those peculiarities into account.
“What I also know, is that whichever approach we seek, we are obligated to work within the limits imposed by the Constitution to which we all swear allegiance.
“Above all else, I am certain in the knowledge that doing nothing is not an option. We have a responsibility as legislators to support the best efforts of those who act with noble intent to protect our citizens.”
The Speaker asked the Leader of the House and the Minority Leader to take active steps to bring to the floor, appropriate amendments to the Constitution that will ensure that these and other right interventions are firmly in compliance with the laws of the land.”
Gbajabiamila also expressed worry over the fate of millions of Nigerian children and teenagers who are out of school across the country.
The Speaker proposed a special plenary session of the House dedicated to consideration of the issues affecting such children, especially the Almajiris.
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