The speaker noted that the initiative was another “evidence of our commitment in the 9th House of Representatives to doing what is required of us to make sure our country can overcome the serious national security challenges that currently threaten the safety and wellbeing of our people.”
Participants will use the retreat to review seven bills with overlapping mandates on security, intelligence and the related agencies.
The bills include the Armed Forces Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021; Police Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021; National Security and Civil Defence Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021; Customs and Excise Management Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021; ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, The Ammunition and Other Related Materials (Ratification and Enforcement) Bill, 2021; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021; and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
“How best to ensure the objectives of our national security and ensure that the men and women who live and work in our country can have full lives, free from the terror imposed by marauders and fundamentalists is now the defining question of our national life.
“How we answer this question and our ability to overcome the evident challenges of the moment will determine whether or not we can educate our children, attract investment to grow the economy, build critical national infrastructure, create jobs and ensure the continued and prosperous existence of our republic,” the Speaker said.
The speaker was represented by the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Rep. Toby Okechukwu, who noted that even if the House was constitutionally handicapped in taking certain necessary actions to address the issue, it would not fold its arms and watch insecurity spiralling out of control.
“In the legislature, we do not control armies, we cannot deploy men and equipment to fight insurgencies and to prevent the taking over of spaces by bandits, criminals and assorted bad actors.
“Our power, and therefore our responsibility, lies in our constitutional mandate to make laws for the good governance of the country. And we serve this mandate by convening ourselves and others in programmes like this, to critically consider problems, advance solutions and agree on a joint strategy for law-making, for oversight and collaboration with the executive, ” he said.
The objective of the retreat is to review each of the seven bills, with a view to eliciting discussions that will culminate in the passage of a series of legislation that will strengthen the efforts of the executive in tackling insecurity.