Members of the 9th National Assembly comprising 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Villa in Abuja last night.
This was the first time in recent history that members of the two chambers of the National Assembly would meet with the president at the State House.
What obtained before was for the president to address a joint session of the legislators at the National Assembly especially during budget presentation.
Akelicious recalled that the Senate had on April 27, 2021, reached a resolution for the leadership of the upper chamber to work towards a meeting with the president to enable all 109 senators to discuss security issues in the country.
Almost all the six geopolitical zones are faced with challenges like banditry, kidnapping, terrorism, agitations by secessionists, among others.
During a dinner held at the State House Conference Centre, President Buhari expressed the readiness of his administration to use everything within its powers to end insecurity in the country and bring perpetrators of criminal activities to book.
He said ‘‘Insecurity, manifesting as insurgencies, banditry, kidnapping and urban crime of all sorts is the single most difficult challenge we face today.’’
Buhari expressed concern that insecurity had inhibited government’s ability to build infrastructure, provide the much needed social services to the people and to attract investments that drive innovation, create industries, and provide jobs and create wealth.
‘‘Some of the people who perpetrate these various manifestations of insecurity do so for profit, others, in the name of discredited ideologies.
‘‘Whatever their motivations may be, their actions are an existential threat to our country. In the circumstances, we must do everything within our power, without consideration of distractions, to put an end to their activities and bring them to book.
‘‘We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted from this objective, or waver in our commitment, and I am confident that together we will triumph in our present efforts,’’ he said in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina.
Buhari, who lauded the 9th National Assembly for discharging their legislative duties with maturity and competence, described the legislature as ‘‘full partners in national development.’’
He particularly commended the minority parties in the legislature for their cooperation and support for government programmes.
‘‘Our ability to govern in the best interests of the Nigerian people depends to a great deal on effective collaboration and partnership between the Legislature and the Executive.
‘‘The obligation to check and balance each other is not an invitation to conflict and it should not be characterised by quarrelsome disagreement when consultation, engagements and compromise have proven time and again to be a more effective approach.
‘‘In the 9th Assembly, you have distinguished yourselves by your conduct in office, by the scale and quality of your legislative interventions and by your capacity for engaging with the difficult questions facing the country with maturity and competence,’’ he said.
The president, while commending the leadership of the National Assembly under Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila for their dedication through challenging times, told the legislators: ‘‘You have also, succeeded in overcoming the political and other obstacles that have for two decades, inhibited the much-needed reforms of our oil and gas industry, resulting now in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).