LAGOS ASSEMBLY REPORTS (JUNE 13-JUNE 16)
By: Okunade Adekunle
The quit notice recently issued to Igbos in the North by the Arewa Youths Association tagged “Kaduna Declaration” has continued to generate more reactions across the country. Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly could not hold their lips on the issue. Some of them spoke on the implications of such a quit notice on the Nigeria federal structure.
The lawmakers jointly berated the issuance of such threat, calling for the proper implementation of the principle of true federalism in the country. They argued further that each region should be allowed to control its resources to foster peace and unity.
Hon Jude Idimogu
A prominent Igbo and one of the lawmakers who commented, is the legislator representing Oshodi/Isolo Constituency 2 , Hon Jude Idimogu. He said he does not believe in Biafra, but in the restructuring of Nigeria towards true federalism. He also said the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable for the good of all ethnic groups in the country.
Idimogu, who implored Igbos to continue their legitimate businesses in all parts of the country, said Nigeria belongs to all, saying the eviction notice given to Igbos by the Arewa Youths Group was a joke.
He said: “I don’t believe in Biafra, I believe in one single unified Nigeria because that is the only thing that will pay all of us. My position continues to remain that we are one Nigerian and all Igbos wherever they are should continue to work for the unity of the country, Nigeria belongs to all of us and we are all stakeholders in this country.
The Legislator stressed further: “The eviction notice is not possible. We should be talking about forging ahead in unity, not in division. However, there must be sincerity in the governance of Nigeria, in the wealth and position sharing. That should be the point, not the clamour for Biafra. It will not help, let’s talk about issues of resource control.”
While warning against heating up the polity by political elites, he said the country belongs to Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and other ethnic groups forming the Nigeria federal state.
He said: “It is not that there are not issues for agitation, but we can solve them on a round table with sincerity. No region can stand without the help of others. We have equal rights in this entity called Nigeria. We must come together, a break-up can never help our situation. I married a Yoruba woman and I am a member of the Lagos Assembly as an Igbo man. Many Igbos also married from the North and from other places, it is better for us to stay together.”
Idimogu said the best that could happen in the country was restructuring where each region would have resource control to foster peace and unity. He called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to have a second look at the 2014 National Confab report, saying that the government should consider and implement useful areas of the report that can move the country forward. He also urged royal fathers and opinion leaders to intensity efforts towards the unification of the country.
Hon. Segun Olulade
Also speaking, Hon. Segun Olulade, representing Epe Constituency II, argued that such a quit notice given to Igbos in the North was capable throwing the country into a chaotic situation, create ethnic fiasco and undermine the unity of Nigeria.
Olulade, who noted that the call by Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) for self-determination did not warrant Northern Youths’ order for Igbos to leave the North.
“This situation, if not nipped in the bud quickly, is capable of engendering total breakdown of law and order. Such an ultimatum for the Igbos to leave the North and return to the South-east is against the constitution and anything that is against the constitution is also against the principle of a united Nigeria. I appeal to the youths in the North to consider the peaceful Igbo community in the North as brothers having co-existed for many years as members of same family,” said Olulade.
Olulade added: “But our belief in the unity of Nigeria as a great nation with promising future is non-negotiable. We believe that Nigeria must first be made great before any region begins to ask for secession. I’m afraid any region that cannot stay united under an existing Nigeria can hardly run as a sovereign nation if granted leave. Nigeria is going through a trying period at present such that any region calling for a break-up is only calling for the nation to be torn apart, and that is anarchy and treasonable.”
He, however, argued that there is hope in the future of Nigeria as a united great country that will lead Africa to a reputable status in the committee of nations.
Lagos Waterways Are Porous, Says Jimoh
The major cause of insecurity in some parts of Lagos State in recent times has been attributed to the porousness of the waterways. This was made known by the Deputy Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh. Jimoh spoke on the recent attacks by men of the underworld in the state in an interview with journalists at Assembly Complex, Lagos.
Jimoh said: ”Problems are like plants and they have roots. The moment one tackles them from the roots such a person would get results. I want to address the issue fundamentally. I can assure you that with the budgetary allocation of the state, we have tackled the security problem on land. All the insecurity that we are experiencing now in Lagos are through the waterways. It is true that the Federal Government went to the Supreme Court on three occasions to contest the issue of who owns the waterways and she won.”
The Deputy Majority Leader said: “In a federal country, if the state does not have power on the waterways, there would be problems. That is why it is not by accident that three major robbery incidents that occurred in Lagos recently were through the waterways.”
Jimoh said it is easier to get to Bayelsa or Ondo State and other places from Lagos through the waterways.
He added that all the robbery incidents that have occurred in Lagos recently showed that robbers came from outside the state through the waterways.
On the belief that members of the dreaded Badoo Cult were operating like spirits, the lawmaker argued that the people of the state mystify a lot of things. He said members of the Badoo Cult groups were not spirits, and that the government should just pursue them and make sure they are duly punished.
The Deputy Majority Leader added: “When we were younger, we used to believe that when the people that went to the Holy land of Mecca in Saudi Arabia get to the Red Sea they would be drawn by the spirit of Pharaoh that died in the sea, which is not true. Members of Badoo Cult group are a notorious gang that is after people’s property and sometimes kill them. They are really very insignificant in Ikorodu and the people of the area too have been dealing with them. But, we still need to eradicate them. What is the meaning of Badoo, it came from the social media and some cultists just adopted it. I don’t see anything that makes them untouchable.”
Commenting on the kidnapped students in Igbonla, Epe, the lawmaker said that the case would be different from the Chibok girls kidnap, saying the schools that are close to waterways should be fortified with security.
Jimoh, who represents Apapa Constituency 2, said further that the law on kidnapping in the state was one of the bills that was eventually passed into law and that there is severe punishment for kidnappers in the state.
He added: “There is capital punishment in some sections of the law. Even the United States under the guise of the United Nations is saying why should there be capital punishment or death penalty for kidnapping, but I defer with them on this. The law states that if your victim dies in custody, you would also be killed. That is the area, where the UN is saying that people should not be killed, that capital punishment should be abolished. But criminal jurisprudence is a local affair. If you are caught, you should be ready to face the consequences. We are doing this for the people to know that there is law in place for the offence. I don’t want to say that the government is not trying. It is the nature of human beings to disobey and it is the duty of the government to punish offenders. We are also doing our best as lawmakers. We are doing all what we can do as legislators to address these issues,”
He assured the people that the state government is trying its best for the state, saying the government is not a ghost, and that the people are also part of the government. He accused the people of being part of the problem, saying if there is a criminal in an area, people find it difficult to report him or give information about him or her to the police.