Jonathan Escapes 'No Confidence Vote'…Reads Riot Act To Boko Haram
President Goodluck Jonathan may have escaped the angst of Nigeria's lawmakers at the Upper Legislative Chamber due to his near lapse stance on worsening security situation and the kid glove handling of the radical Islamist sect, Boko Haram which has claimed
responsibility for myriads of mishap befalling the country, especially through bomb attacks.
Huhuonline.com / can exclusively report that save for quick the intervention of the Senate President, David Mark, President Goodluck Jonathan would have been served a 'no confidence' vote as Senators, mostly from the opposition parties expressed fumed over the poor handling of the growing insecurity by Jonathan's federal government.
Meanwhile, immediately after he was threatened with a vote of no confidence, Jonathan, as if woken from a deep slumber, has warned members of the Boko Haram sect to lay down their arms or be prepared to face the wrath of the state.
The Islamist sect which claimed responsibility for the recent terror unleashed on Damaturu and Potiskum in Yobe State on a Muslim festive weekend, where over 150 people were killed are said to have also been behind the numerous bombings ravaging the country, including that of the UN building in Abuja.
Huhuonline.com source at the National Assembly revealed that, 'At a closed-door session, the Senators became angry with the President and his security chiefs over their failure to tame the Boko Haram members. The Senators lambasted them with scathing comments, especially from members of the opposition parties and at a point, some even called for the passage of a vote of no confidence on Jonathan.'
'For the first time in this chamber, Senators were very angry with the President and the security chiefs over the growing insecurity in the country. For the first time since 1999, Abuja had been under siege
'The Senate President quickly intervened on behalf of Jonathan and explained that should the chamber go ahead with the vote of no confidence that could be misconstrued to be an impeachment move from the Senate.
'At the end, reason prevailed and it was resolved that the Committees on Police Affairs, Security and National Intelligence, Defence and Army, Air Force, Navy and Interior meet with security chiefs on the matter. '
Huhuonline.com findings have also revealed that the service chiefs earlier summoned by the Senate over the country's security challenges held an urgent meeting with some top ranking Senators, shortly after the plenary to discuss the burning national issues and that should the meeting fail to yield the desired result, another meeting would be convened in the Presidential Villa.
While, opening the plenary session, Senate President David Mark disclosed that 'the Senate in its closed-door session discussed matters of national importance affecting national security and other general issues.'
Also, the Senate spokesman, Enyinnaya Abaribe, said, 'There was an executive session that 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 lives in 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.
'On the kind of manual security measures in place presently, you will recall that not too long ago, we had an executive interaction with all the various heads of security organisations in Nigeria and this discussion had 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 think also that there is an on-going review which means that the measures will continue to be upgraded and improve with time. We are asking for a little patience and we know that things will get better. I think we have been having on-going discussions. The committees will engage with various security agencies and will bring report to us.'
Following the threat by the Senators to pass a vote of no confidence on President Jonathan, should the security situation remain as it is, Jonathan has told members of the Boko Haram sect to lay down their arms to facilitate their reintegration and rehabilitation into a planned amnesty programme.
While issuing a plea-call to the deadly Boko Haram sect to embrace the federal government' proposed amnesty, Jonathan said preparations have been perfected to reintegrate and rehabilitate those who took up arms against the state provided they lay down their arms.
Jonathan spoke while inaugurating the re-constituted Presidential Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM), chaired by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke, who was represented by a member of the committee, Mr Tunji Abayomi.
President Jonathan, in his speech said, 'We intend to always provide a window of opportunity for those who have seen the folly in anti-social behaviours to retrace their steps. I wish to renew my calls to those that chose to live on the fringes of the law to retrace their steps and we are prepared to work with you to facilitate your reintegration and rehabilitation. If you undermine the state, be prepared to face the full wrath of the law.
'Our review of processes and institutional reforms are indeed designed to strengthen and realign all the instruments and agencies of crime prevention and punishment. My administration will not rest on its oars until the spirit of the law runs across the land. I promise to deliver sudden justice for criminal elements.
'Today our character or reputation as caring and forgiving people is under severe test by frequent acts of mindless brigandage fanaticism which has resulted in the killing and maiming of hundreds of our citizens including those engaged in the noble acts of serving their fatherland.
'We now confront evil of nation that is unacceptable to all religions and our culture and our sense of humanity but I know that this nation is resilient and the people are strong and refuse to buy into acts of destruction which agents of violence are promoting. We shall fight and defeat the evil.
'We will not exercise the prerogative of mercy on a quota basis or in defence to the consideration of religion, geography, ethnicity or politics.'
'Let me seize this opportunity to therefore reassure the nation that I have initiated a very rapid and robust process to enhance the capacity of our security forces to protect life and property. Even as I mentioned security scare, I am confident in the ability of our security agencies to overcome the present one. We are resolute in our charge to security agencies to go after all promoters of terror and other anti-social activities and bring them to book,', the President said.
The President noted that 'although our justice administration process is adversarial and doesn't provide for parole or suspended sentences as in some other jurisdictions, I strongly believe that the cycle of justice should include forgiveness and relief for those that are manifestly repentant.
'The pervasive assumption is that the Nigerian penal system is punitive and that every encounter with the law may be permanent exit from decent society. We need to place emphasis on our penal system being more correctional, we need to create opportunities for convicted persons either after completing their terms or before they do so considering the circumstances to be reintegrated back into the society and be rehabilitated. Perhaps we can achieve a lot more by making the justice system a bit more redemptive. In doing this, we also need to pay particular attention to human rights especially where there is ample evidence of abuse.
He further explained that 'the prerogative of mercy which is enshrined in our constitution, allows the president and the state governors to grant re-convicted person state pardon. This pardon can be either conditional or otherwise but it could be in the form of respite from the execution or punishment imposed to a less severe sanction. This is a very serious responsibility that needs to be carried out with due diligence and solemnity'.
Besides, he said 'at times, this decision involves matters of life or death of citizens, it calls for the highest level of decorum and ethics and utmost fidelity to good consciences and public good. It is perhaps for this reason that the constitution provides for this very important Presidential Advisory Committee to assist the president for the exercise of prerogative of mercy.
'The role of the committee must assume significance now that our nation is in transformation and as we tackle new security challenges in accordance with due process and the rule of law. Your work must go beyond the routine decongestion of prisons and redressing the miscarriage of justice. I need you to be at the front-line of cultural transformation and value reorientation. I need to point out, however, for the avoidance of doubt that our emphasis is mainly prerogative. This will not in any way detract us from our duty to protect the life and property of all citizens and safeguard the Nigerian state against any form of violation.
'I also want to reassure those out people who have lost their relatives to these crimes that we shall bring the perpetrators to book. We share in your pain, we stand united as we confront the actions of misguided few who seems determined to violate the core values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence', President Jonathan concluded.