Victims of insurgency and Senate’s show of compassion

Last week, to mark its second anniversary, the 9th Senate looked at the direction of victims of insurgency. TAIYE ODEWALE reports 

On Thursday and Saturday last week, the 9th Senate under Senator Ahmad Lawan, gave succour to some victims of Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast with donation of a total of N20million at the  two instances.

First port of call 

The first port of call in the show of empathy was the Internally Displaced Persons’ ( IDPs’) camp in WASSA, FCT, Abuja, Thursday where relief materials worth N10million were donated to slightly above 1,000 victims of Boko Haram insurgency from Gwoza, Borno state .

The Ahmad Lawan-led Senate delegation at the WASSA IDPs camp, declared that the visitation though was not only in commemoration of the second year anniversary of the 9th Senate but also on the spot assessment of challenges, situations and conditions being faced by the victims in determining the required legislative interventions to be made against all forms of insecurity bedevilling the nation.

Specifically, Ahmad Lawan in his capacity as President of the Senate and leader of the delegation said: “the camp itself is a consequence of the security situation in the country, which must be tackled in making the displaced persons return to their various homes.

“The National Assembly has been doing all it could with the executive arm of government to bring an end to the series of challenges of Insecurity confronting the country.

“The Federal Executive Council ( FEC) , as reported in the media Wednesday , has prepared N895billion supplementary budget to be forwarded to both chambers of the National Assembly for approval.

“Over N700 billion from the N895 billion supplementary budget, is earmarked for tackling all forms of insecurity problems in the country, the very reason, the National Assembly will give it expeditious consideration and passage when received.

“None of our sisters and brothers in this camp wanted to be here or wish to be here. All of them are forced to be in an IDP camp, and those of us, especially, in leadership positions, should ensure that  their life and dignity is protected. 

“[And] of course, I’d like to mention here, that we must ensure that these Nigerians who are in this camp and other refugee camps, who are vulnerable in so many ways, receive what is due to them from government in form of sufficient security presence and health care services.

“We are also supposed to as a government, provide some livelihood here. We must be able to give them something to eat, and we should do so responsibly. 

“When I use the word responsibly, I mean not to throw some few things and leave them to eke a living, because it is going to be impossible for these people here to eke any meaningful living on their own.

“This is a price we have to pay because of the security situation we have found ourselves. Food alone is not enough. 

“We have a national policy on refugees and people in camps like these, how are we up-to-date with the implementation of the provisions of that national policy? It may sound too hard, but they are necessary questions and we owe these people answers, in practical terms,” Lawan said.

Similar show of empathy at 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna

Forty-eight hours after the WASSA IDPs camp visitation in Abuja, the empathy showing Senate delegation comprising the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Borofice, Senate Deputy Chief Whip Sabi Abdullahi, Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Sahabi Ya’u and the Chairman, Senate Services Committee, Senator Sani Musa, landed at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna.

Lawan as leader of delegation at the Hospital said: “This visit is meant to provide us with the opportunity as a parliament, as Senate, to show compassion and empathy with people who have given everything and anything to protect the integrity of this country and suffered harm in one way or the other.

“Secondly, it is also an opportunity for us to see first hand how we can be more responsive to the needs of our military hospitals because beyond compassion and empathy, there are responsibilities and obligations as people who represent Nigerians, that we have to discharge.

“After the Civil War in Nigeria, I dare say that there was never a time that our military is involved in some kind of warfare than this time.

“That means some of our soldiers and officers could be challenged to have wounds that require hospitalisation more than ever before. That also means that as a country, we are supposed to provide more resources to cater for the needs of such Wounded In Action (WIA) officers and men.

“Our Armed Forces deserve all the support from the government. Our Armed Forces deserve the support of all the citizens of Nigeria because they are fighting on our behalf. To do otherwise is to be unfair to the Armed Forces.

“On behalf of the Senate, we have come with N10million donation to this hospital in taking care of the wounded in action  patients.

“The Senate wishes all our patients here speedy recovery and I want to assure you on behalf of all of us in the Senate and indeed in the National Assembly, that we are with you.

“We are with our military. We will continue to give all the support that is necessary. In fact, we want to upscale our support because the situation today in the country requires that our Armed Forces are better resourced for better results”.

Pathetic submissions from the army 

Earlier on a very pathetic note, the acting Medical Director of the Reference Hospital, Colonel Stephen Onuchukwu lamented: “Since the war against insurgency, about 7, 403 wounded in action military personnel have been evacuated to this hospital for very urgent medical attention .

“While some of such wounded personnel got treated and discharged with different forms of deformities, some are maimed for life.

“Those in this category are the ones with spinal cord injury being assisted with urethral implant for them to urinate.

“Some also have their legs and hands cut off as a result of cancerous injuries sustained at the battle fronts.

“These are aside others being rehabilitated from physical, emotional and psychological injuries.”

Expected legislations for more vibrant security architecture

Having shown empathy and given  succour to some victims of insurgency at the two different places visited with the N20 million donation made altogether, the next line of action obviously for the Senate and by extension, the 9th National Assembly, is to by legislation, review the security architecture in the country for efficient and effective tackling of all forms of crimes and criminality in the country .

Incidentally, the best way of doing this is currently at the front burner at both chambers through the ongoing constitution review but will they make the best out of the opportunity ?

Time will definitely tell.