The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has stated that more Nigerians are losing faith in their country due to the inability of the government to address the security and economic crises.
Gbajabiamila stated this in his closing speech at the plenary on Monday, after the passage of the 2021 Appropriation Bill.
He noted that while the Federal Government has been making efforts to address the crises, “notwithstanding these efforts, we cannot escape the hard truth that this has been a tough year of suffering for too many citizens, a year like none before it.”
According to him, if Nigerian have learnt nothing else, they have learnt that “we have a limited window to address problems that have been a long time in the making.”
The Speaker said, “This year, we have seen that the structural inadequacies of our economy and health care systems; our internal security and justice architecture have left us dangerously exposed to the risk of a complete and irreversible loss of faith in the Nigerian project by a large section of our citizenry.
“Despite spirited government efforts, our economy is still overly reliant on the sale of crude oil. Vast swathes of potential in tourism and agriculture, manufacturing and technology, media and entertainment remain untapped due to insecurity, infrastructure deficits, policy and regulatory inconsistency.
“The risks we face are not abstract. In the aftermath of the EndSARS protests, we saw it in the flames that engulfed our cities. We saw it two weeks ago in Zarbamari (Borno State) with the massacre of citizens farming for survival, and most recently in the abduction of young boys seeking to improve their lives through education in Kankara (Katsina State).”
He stated that 9th House would continue to address the security challenges that “threaten” the country, noting that the lawmakers have initiated and will continue in their efforts to reform the statutory framework for police accountability through the Police Service Commission (Reform) Bill, which has passed second reading.
The Speaker added, “We will continue to exercise our constitutional powers of oversight to demand more from the military and security services, even as we make sure to provide the resources they need to train, equip and provide for the welfare of the men and women who bear arms on our nation’s behalf and in our name.
“The responsibility of undoing the damage of many years has fallen to us. We have a lot of work to do. We are each called to lead our nation towards the promised land, to restore the dignity of every man, woman and child who swears allegiance to our constitution and salutes our nation’s flag.
“We will improve Nigeria by building infrastructure that provides jobs, by protecting our people’s lives and property, and repairing the relationship between citizens and the state. This is what we must do to restore faith in Nigeria’s promise and prevent the risk of a destructive renegotiation of our nationhood.”