Date: November 30, 2023 11:23 am
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, on Friday made a clarion call to strengthen the nation’s defence capabilities.
Abbas, in a message delivered at the opening of a two-day post-inauguration retreat for members of the House Committee on Defence, stressed the urgent need for a comprehensive approach to Nigeria’s security.
According to the Speaker, evolving problems of terrorism, communal violence and resource conflicts demand multifaceted responses that go beyond traditional military solutions.
He advocated a holistic approach to address the underlying socio-economic and political factors that fuel insecurity in the country.
The Speaker called on the executive, legislature, and judiciary to put hands on deck along with active engagement with civil society organizations, the private sector, and the international community.
“I am confident that with the support of the National Defence College and the collective efforts of all stakeholders, we can create a functional understanding of Nigeria’s national security architecture and higher management of defence-related issues and build a more secure and prosperous future for our country.
“I would like to commend the leadership of the Committee for the foresight in planning a retreat to equip Members to discharge their oversight and lawmaking functions effectively. In the same vein, I also thank the Management of the National Defense College for agreeing to partner with the Committee in providing a functional understanding of Nigeria’s national security architecture and other defence-related issues.
“The Legislative Agenda of the House, which I unveiled on Tuesday, 14th November 2023, highlights security and states our commitment to adopting legislative measures to improve national security. In furtherance of this commitment, the House is set to commence Sectoral Debates today at its Plenary. The maiden edition of the Debates will be on security. All service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police have been invited to appear before the House to brief Members on their respective agencies’ overall state of affairs. The purpose of this is to enable us to understand the progress made so far as well as the challenges requiring legislative intervention,” he said.
Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson, said the retreat was designed to equip the lawmakers with the necessary tools in the performance of their legislative duties in the defence sector.
“As representatives of the people, we are concerned about these challenges because we must always answer to our constituents. Consequently, the committee has continued to interact with the defence establishment with a view to finding lasting solutions to the challenges and will leverage on knowledge garnered from here to improve our appropriation to the defence sector within the available resources.
“I want to reiterate my assurance to Nigerians that we are determined to carry out our legislative functions effectively, efficiently and in a manner that will ensure the safety of their lives and property. Consequently, I have sponsored several bills aimed at revolutionizing the Nigerians defence sector. These bills include the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria Bill, Nigerian Armed Forces Support Trust Fund (Establishment) Bill, Defence Research and Development Bureau Bill, Armed Forces Act (Amendment) Bill to establish a Space Force for the Armed Forces of Nigeria and many others.
“Suffice to say that several other Members have also sponsored relevant bills all aimed and supporting the Armed Forces to perform better. Some of the bills have already been assented to by Mr. President. A Retreat of this nature is therefore expedient as it will strengthen our capacities by reinforcing the knowledge and skills we already possess while opening our eyes to contemporary trends in legislative oversight of the defence sector,” said Benson who called for defence sector funding.
“I want to specially and sincerely thank our Speaker, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas for approving this retreat and accepting to personally join us here to declare it open. It is an affirmation of your resolve to ensure that the capacities of Members are continually strengthened so that the 10th House of Representatives will make a remarkable difference and deliver on our “Renewed Hope” mandate. On behalf of the Committee on Defence, we say thank you. I am also grateful to all my fellow Chairmen of Committees and other Members of the National Assembly present here.
“Let me express my profound gratitude to the Chief of Defence Staff and all the Service Chiefs for accepting to be part of this event and to share their experiences on topical issues with us. As our “partners” in nation building, we know that our legislative work is incomplete without you. I am particularly appreciative of the commitment by the National Defence College (NDC) towards developing the capacity of the committee to efficientlyy carry out its mandate.
“We are grateful for the resources committed to hosting this event. The House Committee on Defence looks forward to even more robust partnership with the college as we work towards a peaceful and secure Nigeria. My appreciation also goes to all the Resource Persons for taking out time to prepare your expectedly stimulating papers. We look forward to a rewarding time with you,” he said.