|Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives|
Dogara said this while welcoming members of the House of Representatives from the Christmas and New Year break.
He urged the lawmakers to work assiduously toward addressing the economic and security challenges confronting the country.
“Indeed at no time in the recent past has the nation’s peace and unity been so vigorously and persistently challenged,’’ he said.
While describing the problems as daunting, Dogara said that the unending fuel shortage recorded in the country in Dec. 2017, reached an unbearable level.
“The House expects that with the cooperation given to the executive arm to increase fuel price from N87 per liter to N145, based on the assurances, fuel scarcity ought to be a thing of the past.
“We were also assured that fuel subsidy had come to an end. From recent developments on this subject, except the executive adduces compelling reasons why the reverse is the case, we will be justified in feeling betrayed.
“As a parliament, we must unravel the causes of this scarcity and the alleged re-introduction of fuel subsidy,’’Dogara said.
The Speaker urged all relevant Committees to get to the root of the issues through oversight functions to enable the House take an informed position on the situation.
On the spate of killings in the country, Dogara urged President Muhammadu Buhari to apply maximum sanctions on public officers who are derelict in the performance of their duties.
“The increase in violent crimes in the country is a result of the defects in the country’s security architecture which must be fixed.
“In the same vein, our security related Committees must aggressively conduct oversight of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and institutions handling security matters.
“This is with a view to detecting lapses in the operations of these security agencies and pro-actively ensure compliance with approved funds and procurement of appropriate equipment.
“We are all painfully aware of the wave of murders of innocent Nigerians that has been sweeping through the nation.
“From the senseless killings in Rivers State, to the killing rampages in Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Zamfara, Adamawa, Edo and other states.
“Our dear country is now being painted red with the blood of the innocents on account of unremitting bedlam callously promoted by cold hearted merchants of death.
“At these moments of intense outpouring of grief across the nation, it is important that we shun buck passing and accept responsibility for these wanton killings without which we will never find a solution to this evil,’’ Dogara said.
The Speaker, who sought the cooperation of government agencies, assured that the House would ensure that the 2018 Appropriation Bill was passed expeditiously.
“I call on the Heads of MDAs to expedite action on demands from our Committees.
“We should all in a constructive manner, resolve any problems that may hinder the smooth and early passage of the budget.
“The deadline we have given to ourselves must remain sacrosanct,” he said.
The Speaker further said that the economy would remain the central focus of legislative activities in 2018 to consolidate the country’s exit from economic recession.
“To this end, we must prioritise high economic impact Bills and pass them before the onset of political activities,’’ he said.
He also pointed out the need to conclude the amendment of the Electoral Act and the constitution alteration process to guide electoral matters.
“The Rules of the game must be clear to the actors early enough before the game begins. This is absolutely necessary in order to improve on the standard we set in the last general elections,’’ Dogara said.
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