The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has hinted that the upper legislative chamber might review the nation’s security architecture to address emerging security challenges across the country.
Lawan however said the proposed review would be carried out in collaboration with the executive arm of government, as he stressed the urgent need for improvement in the nation’s security situation.
The Senate President, however, did not elaborate on the scope and sphere of the pending review. He spoke with journalists in Abuja yesterday shortly after his arrival from a foreign trip.
Lawan said: “In the Eighth Senate, we had an ad-hoc committee that I was privileged to chair, to review the security architecture of the country. We are going to look into that report and, of course, in addition, other contemporary issues that affect security in the country.
“We intend to do those things that would ensure that the security situation in the country improves and this we would do with the executive arm of government, as this cannot be done alone.”
The Senate President disclosed that the National Assembly had received the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), which he said was sent by the executive while he was away.
“I have been informed that the executive arm of government has sent the request for the MTEF to the Senate, and I am sure that will be the first thing that would be looked into when we resume next week.
“We hope to take on the MTEF within the first legislative week.
“Our committee on finance will be saddled with its first major responsibility; that it works expeditiously on the FSP/MTEF request of the executive arm of government, and the budget will come after that,” Lawan said.
He also expressed the readiness of the National Assembly to receive the 2020 Appropriation Bill anytime soon, saying that the executive was working assiduously to ensure that the document is presented to the legislature by month end.
“We are hopeful and optimistic as well as hungry and thirsty to receive the 2020 appropriation bill. I am aware that the executive arm of government is working assiduously to ensure that the appropriation bill for the year 2020 is presented to the National Assembly at the end of this month.
“The National Assembly will work so hard to ensure that the 2020 budget is passed before we go on Christmas break.
This is one issue that we hope to take head-on to ensure that we reverse the undesirable trend of the budget.
“We believe this can be achieved, as doing so would make the economy better and predictable. We also think an early passage of the 2020 appropriations bill will have a desirable impact on Nigerians,” he said.
On the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, Lawan said the Senate would look into the matter on resumption.
“You recall that this issue was reviewed before we went on recess. The Senate felt as an institution, that our citizens’ diplomacy must be protected wherever they go in the world.
“The government must be there for them, and I am happy that after the xenophobic crisis, the federal government was able to take a position.
“We need to be much more resolute. Whatever the situation is, our citizens must be protected. If someone runs foul of the laws of a country, there are processes and procedures on how such a person can be prosecuted.
“Therefore, we must try to protect our citizens. I also think we must be proactive to tell our citizens that if they choose to live in any country, they must ensure they stay within the limits of the laws of that country, just as we expect of foreigners in ours.”