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Security/Subsidy: Senate, Reps Meet Jonathan In Crucial Meeting

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ABUJA, November 15, (THEWILL) - Amid palpable security tension, the National Assembly would hold a crucial meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan by 2.30pm Wednesday over what sources said are 'issues bordering on the planned removal of subsidy on petroleum products and national security, THEWILL has gathered.

Also the Senate Tuesday summoned an emergency meeting of all related security committees over the 'frightening state of insecurity in the country.’

The Committees are Police Affairs, Security and National Intelligence, Defence and Army, Air Force, Navy and Interior. The committees were still meeting at press time. The outcome of the meeting will form the basis for a unified action, according to sources.

After an hour-long close door session, it announced that it would be meeting with the executive arm government over the ugly development.

Senate's spokesman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe told journalists that the committees would meet the service chiefs and other stakeholders before reporting back to the senate. He however did not confirm the meeting the President.

But a source disclosed that the President had appealed to the leadership of both chambers to support the subsidy removal, but was coldly rebuffed.

"Instead the NASS leadership asked him to appeal directly to the lawmakers to which he agreed to meet all the lawmakers at the executive chambers, Presidential Villa at 2.30pm tomorrow (Wednesday)", said the source.

It was further learnt that the lawmakers had warned that removing of subsidy at this precarious security situation is insensitive and could spell doom for the country.

"The general disposition is against the move and we shall convey that to him", the source added.

However, Abaribe told a press conference that the Senate at an executive session was mainly concerned with the matters of national security.

" All of us are aware of the situation of things today in Nigeria and we want to also let you know that the National Assembly will continue to engage with the executive with regards to national security and I think the discussion is on-going to ensure that each and every one of us live in a Nigeria that is free from the current problem that we are undergoing, and we hope that every Nigerian will be more concerned about our security and that is exactly what we are doing,” he stated.

On the outdated manual security measures in place currently, Senator Abaribe said there are plans for review.

"You will recall that not too long ago, we had an executive interaction also with all the various heads of security organizations in Nigeria and this discussion has been on-going and part of what we did today at the executive session was a review of all these measures that are being taken.

"I do not think that any measure that is being taken is taking very lightly. I think that the security agents are doing a good job. I don’t think they only look under the car, they also look at the booth, sometimes asking you to step out and they open the hood and check everything. I think also that there is an ongoing review which means that the measures will continue to be upgraded and improved with time.

"We are asking for a little patience and we know that things will get better. This is a new phenomenon that has just come to Nigeria and I am sure that the security agencies will handle the situation with time.

"I think we have been having ongoing discussions. The committees will engage with various security agencies and will bring report to us.

"On the question of executive session, the fact that we had an executive session and spent all these time is better than a motion because in a public debate, everything comes out. We wanted to have a full and frank discussion on security matters and that you cannot do in front of cameras," the Senate spokesman stated.