The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara has said the Green Chamber would focus on the economy and the speedy passage of the 2017 Appropriation Bill. He noted in his welcome remarks to the House as the National Assembly resumed from its Christmas and New Year break on Tuesday January 10, 2017, that the year 2016 presented the Chamber with its several unique challenges particularly in the area of security and the economy. “It was the year in which our dear country eventually slipped into recession resulting in grievous social stress for the citizenry; it was also the year in which terrorism in the North East, militancy in the South South, the despicable phenomenon of kidnapping as well as the flash of agitations bared their murderous fangs - visiting death, pain and anguish on the populace” he retrospected.
The Speaker however asserted that despite all these upheavals, it is gratifying to note that the fundamentals of nationhood remain strong, robust and promising. He commended the gallantry, ingenuity and professionalism of the armed forces and security agencies, the political will of President Buhari led government and the unbending resilience of the Nigerian people as well.
While Imploring his colleagues in the House to rededicate themselves to the task of pulling the country out of recession and restoring total peace as a prerequisite for attaining the greatness which the nation is destined for, Dogara informed that the leadership of the House is satisfied with the commitment of Mr. President to end the incessant and wanton killings in Southern Kaduna and other parts of the country experiencing pockets of violence. He noted however, that the task should be a collective one not just that of Mr. President alone; earlier, the Speaker recalled that there has also been outbreak of violence resulting in wanton killings and destruction of properties in Southern Kaduna, Birnin Gwani, parts of Zamfara State. Same was the order in Benue, Plateau and some other states.
“Before we went on break, this House by Resolution mandated the Leadership to meet with Mr President on the challenges posed by these senseless killings, having met with Mr President, I am happy to report that I am satisfied with the response of the President on these matters. I share the view that finding solutions to these crises must not be left to Kaduna State Government alone or Mr President. An enduring solution can only be attained if all of us - all Nigerians regardless of ethnic groupings - northerners, southerners, Christians, Muslims, politicians, the apolitical, traditional rulers and religious leaders accept the fact that we are responsible and rise to confront and rid our communities of these evils. On the part of Government, I’m more than hopeful that the effect of the presidential intervention, particularly in the Southern Kaduna crisis will soon be felt” he expressed.
He continued by saying “ as the year 2017 rolls by, we should expect great challenges once again but with renewed determination and faith that things shall surely get better with God on our side. In this regard, I wish to remind us that perhaps the most critical and urgent task before us is the pending 2017 Appropriation Bill”. He charged that 2017 Budget remains the critical tool to rejig the nation’s economy in addition to other fiscal and monetary policies. He added that the recent fiscal measures including import prohibition of certain items and the increase or decrease of tariff on some items should receive appropriate legislative scrutiny to ensure that the economy and the interests of the Nigerian people are protected.