By Nats Odaudu and Chinonye Ndeokwelu
President Goodluck Jonathan has warned members of the parliament against what he calls ‘parliamentary dictatorship’ and undue deployment of their powers.
The President was responding to questions, Sunday, during a presidential media chat monitored on the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA.
“The parliament of a country must avoid parliamentary dictatorship. The parliament has a lot of powers but if they deploy their powers without caution there will be problems.
“In the House of Representatives for example, there is more politics than work,” Jonathan said.
He frowned at the number of times members of the executive have been summoned to appear before parliament, something he said takes their time and affects their productivity.
Concerning the worldwide protest for the release of the 246 missing Chibok girls, the President gave assurance that everything is being done to find them.
He called on the parents and guardians of the girls to cooperate with the police and other security agencies by providing individual pictures of the girls to ease the search process.
He said: “These are trying times for the country and it is quite worrisome. Let me assure you that we will continue to do our best to reduce the menace.
“We promise that wherever those girls are we will get them out. There is no bad story regarding harm done to the girls and we believe they are all safe. It’s quite painful; we reassure them that we will get their daughters out. What we request is maximum cooperation from parents and guardians.”
The president further used the medium to appreciate the global concern that the menace has attracted which he termed ‘quite healthy’.
On the issue of negotiation with kidnappers, the president said: “You can’t negotiate with someone you don’t know. As regards these girls, the issue of negotiation has not come up.”
He said the search team is looking within the communities, believing that the girls have not been taken abroad.
He refuted recent reports on helicopters dropping food items for Boko Haram. His words: “Let us see the clip. They should describe the exact place where this event took place.”
According to him, the police, the SSS and other civil defence are capable of fighting insurgency in the country but he noted that they will recruit more and train them to fight the menace.
“We are having an unfair share of global terrorism.
“The state of emergency is effective, some people think that a state of emergency must collapse the political structure or wipe out everybody. The state of emergency has been effective so far.
“In terms of the country’s army, Pakistan is ahead of Nigeria, but they had been facing terrorism ten years before Nigeria but terror is not what you can wipe out in six months or one year.
“We are not celebrating our offensive against illegal immigrants because we are being careful as a consequence of our status in West Africa,” he said.
According to him, with the cooperation of ordinary citizens encouraging the police we can definitely put this under control.
While comparing the security situation in Nigeria’s northeast with what happened in the Niger Delta few years back, he said Boko Haram’s operations are clandestine and that they lack a distinct or public leadership. He insisted that what the organization wants is to set Nigeria in chaos.
“At a point when they were bombing churches every Sunday, I said their plan is to set the Christians against the Muslims so there can be war.
“The Niger Delta militants were not terrorists. I’m not trying to defend them,” he said.
On the issue of seeking assistance from other countries, the President disclosed that there have been discussions with various countries of the world including the USA, even our neighbours, Niger, Benin, among others. He said they are offering different levels of support.
“I have met with President Barrack Obama and have asked for support.
“The Nigerian Government is ready to do anything that will bring an end to this madness.
“We have been making requests and we will continue to make requests, but I will not give too much details on that and when you interface with any of their officials you can ask them,” he explained
On security arrangements in preparation for the hosting of the World Economic Forum, and the planned lock down of Abuja, the President said it was important so as to provide easy movement for delegates as people will be coming from all parts of the world to grace the occasion.
“Abuja is not being locked down but because of the kind of activities and dignitaries that are going to be coming for the WEF, we don’t want to compound the already difficult traffic situation in Abuja.[share_this_post]
“We are asking people to make some sacrifices even though some people are making issues out of it.
“Even in the Hague, Netherlands, public institutions were closed down for the two days we had the summit, so it was in Davos and Australia the experience was the same when we had summits.
“It is a one off thing, we plead with Nigerians, these three days will not kill us, we just don’t want to keep people on the road but instead they should stay at home,” he explained.
While expressing gratitude that Nigeria was chosen to host the WEF, the president said: “We are very pleased that Nigeria has been asked to host. It’s an opportunity to showcase our potentials to investors. The benefits are much more important than anything else. It would expose viable areas of possible investment in Nigeria. Nigerians will definitely benefit from it.”