I take full responsibility for the senate’s failings – David Mark

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‎Senate president David Mark on Thursday asked to be blamed for the failings of the senate in the past four years.

Mark, who was speaking at the valedictory session of the 7th senate, however alluded the achievements of the upper chamber under his leadership to his colleagues who worked with him for the last eight years.

“I take full responsibility for all the commissions and omissions in the past four years,” he said.

The senate president noted that despite the challenges, the outgoing senate represented‎ Nigerians well.

Mark also declared that the abduction of 219 schools at Chibok in April, 2014 remained “a scar on the national psyche‎.”

He regretted that the 7th senate was unable to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and lamented that the 2015 constitution amendment bill was now “in limbo.”

“The last four years have been defining for our country in many respects. The country was battered on all sides by security challenges that threatened the very existence of our society.

“The rise in insurgency and the ruthless mayhem unleashed on Nigerians by the Boko Haram sect resulted in the highest number of lives and property, which our nation has lost in our recent history.

“What was most horrifying was not only their wanton destruction but their disregard for human lives particularly those of women and children. The abduction of the Chibok school girls still remains a scar on our national psyche.

“There is no doubt that the Boko Haram crisis exposed serious cracks in our security system, challenged our unity, threatened our future and seriously dented our international image.

“We considered and approved emergency rule when we thought it was needed and declined request for extension when we thought that such an extension could not stem the tide of terrorism and insurgency in the affected states.

“Happily, the Nigerian armed forces have made significant gains in the fight against insurgency. The security challenges we faced in the last four years were not restricted to terrorism but included political violence, extremism, communal conflicts, militancy in the Niger Delta, maritime insecurity and transnational crimes.

“In all these, we gave maximum support to the government. We passed the bill for an act to amend the Terrorism (prevention) Act 2012, and we approved a loan of $1 billion for the government to procure arms and equipment needed to tackle security challenges in the country.

“In July 2014, we faced a serious public health challenge with the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease. In a swift reaction, a determined public in conjunction with the ministry of health nipped this potential epidemic in the bud.

“We have had a chequered history in our democratic journey. In the course of this, the legislature sought to improve our electoral system in several Acts of the national assembly. Gladly, our efforts have helped to make our elections free, fair and credible. The year 2015 general election is a testimony to this,“ he said.

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