The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, has urged President Bola Tinubu to relieve non-performing cabinet members from their duties.
He also advocated the adoption of new strategies to address the widespread insecurity ravaging the country.
Abbas gave the charge on Tuesday at the resumption of plenary from the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Lamenting the worsening security challenges which in the past few weeks led to the death of scores of Nigerians in Plateau, Kaduna and other parts of the country, Abbas noted that if not adequately addressed, the situation could degenerate to threaten the stability of the nation.
He said, “Despite numerous security measures, the menace of insecurity continues to thrive, mocking our efforts and challenging our resolve to build a cohesive, peaceful and prosperous nation. It is a stark reminder that the conventional approaches to security we have espoused for so long are no longer sufficient. The time has come to think out of the box and adopt new and contemporary strategies that better respond to the complexities of our current challenges.
“To our patriotic and brave security forces, while commending your heroism and sacrifice, the time has come for you to review your approaches and strategies, innovate and adapt. The enemy evolves, and so must we. I challenge you to rise to this occasion, to demonstrate the indomitable spirit for which you are known, and to do more in safeguarding the lives and property of our people.”
He said as a concerned citizen, he was troubled by the widespread insecurity that grips the country.
According to him, Nigeria stands at a crucial juncture, facing formidable challenges that test Nigerians’ resolve, unity, and spirit.
“The threats of insurgency are severely testing the peace and stability of our country, the rise in kidnapping for ransom and the unsettling unrest and crises across all the six geo-political zones. Families and communities have endured immense hardships, and our hearts go out to all those affected by these tumultuous events.
“We are particularly saddened by the tragic and senseless murder of our daughters, Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar and Folorunsho Ariyo, the heinous murder of over 30 people in Plateau State, as well as many others who have fallen victim to the mindless acts of terror in the last few weeks. We also remember those who lost their lives in the blast in Ibadan triggered by explosives stored by illegal miners,” he said.
The speaker also tasked Tinubu to demand “Greater performance and accountability from our service chiefs and all security and enforcement agencies. I implore the President not to shy away from making the tough decisions. If necessary, we must not hesitate to enact changes within our security apparatus, for the cost of inaction is far too great to bear.”
Abbas who represents Zaria Federal Constituency reiterated his plan to convene a national security summit where “Stakeholders from diverse sectors – security, traditional and religious institutions, academia, civil society, and more – will forge enduring solutions to our security woes. It is time to harness our collective expertise, to break the silos that have hindered our progress, and to chart a new course towards peace and stability.”
He also lamented the legion of economic challenges facing the country and pledged the readiness of the legislative arm to assist the executive in finding lasting solutions in the interest of the country.
He continued, “On the economic front, our country continues to grapple with numerous hurdles that impede our growth trajectory. Inflation, unemployment, and infrastructural deficits are issues that touch the core of our people’s daily lives. The continuous depreciation of the naira has far-reaching consequences, given that Nigeria relies heavily on imports for many essential items, including food, fuel and machinery. Yet, amidst these challenges, there are signs of resilience and potential.
“The President’s economic policies, aimed at revitalising key sectors, promoting sustainable growth, and fostering inclusive development, are steps in the right direction. We in the legislative arm must align our efforts with the executive to ensure that these initiatives are effectively implemented and yield tangible results for every Nigerian.
Sack appointees for non-performance, Speaker charges Tinubu
“The recent move by the President to track and review the annual performance of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies is indeed commendable and should be supported by all Nigerians. The lack of a proper performance assessment framework is a significant shortfall in government and public sector systems and processes. This has often resulted in insufficient alignment of organisational strategic priorities and budgets with national priorities as contained in the 8-point agenda of Mr President.
“We hope that the result of the government-wide performance report will be tabled before the National Assembly to provide lawmakers and the people of Nigeria an insight into the performance of government officials. Those whose performance falls below the minimum benchmark set by the President should be immediately replaced by more competent substitutes,” he added.
He listed other legislative priorities in 2024 to include among others the speedy consideration of electoral reforms, alteration of the 1999 Constitution, improved citizens’ engagement, enhanced oversight, institutional capacity strengthening, and greater collaboration with the executive, stressing that “Of immediate concern to us are electoral reforms to address grey areas in the 2022 Electoral Act. The purpose is to ensure that future elections are free, fair, and credible elections that truly reflect the people’s will.”