President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has condemned the murder of Hauwa Leman, an aid worker with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), by Boko Haram insurgents.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, noted that humanitarian workers who work in crisis zones to provide necessary support for victims are most selfless and courageous persons and therefore should never be targets of harm.
Also, the Senate on Tuesday observed a two-minute silence in honour of Leman. This followed a motion raised by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and subsequent debate on the issue where the Senate resolved to pay official condolence visit to the family of the deceased.
The Upper Chamber also resolved to ensure that the Federal Government, through its security agencies, take necessary measures to secure the freedom of both Leah Sharibu and other surviving members of the ICRC being held hostage by the insurgents.
Speaking on the resolution, Saraki said: “Distinguished Colleagues, irrespective of the decision that we have taken, I believe that our committees on defence and security, as part of their own responsibilities, should engage with the security agencies to find out if there are other issues that need to be addressed in order to prevent the reoccurrence of such sad incident”.
He also commiserated with the family of the deceased and the ICRC over the unfortunate incident and stated that the Senate will continue to work with the nation’s Armed Forces to stop the killings and improve security across the country.
Saraki had earlier in a tweet on his personal handle, @bukolasaraki, writtten that: “I join Nigerians and the international community in condemning the murder of Hauwa Leman – an aid worker with @ICRC, by Boko Haram.
“As I said on the 18th of September 2018, humanitarian workers who go into troubled spots to alleviate people’s suffering are some of the most courageous and selfless people on the planet. They are #NotATarget.
“My colleagues and I in the Nigerian Senate remain committed to continue working with our Armed Forces to find a lasting solution to these senseless killings by insurgents and improve our security infrastructure,” he stated.
The House of Representatives also condemned the execution of Hauwa Liman at a plenary presided over by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, in Abuja on Tuesday and observed a minute’s silence for the deceased.
They urged the Federal Government to urgently commence further negotiation for the safe release of the remaining abductees.
Moving the motion, Rep Chike Okafor (APC-Imo), noted that three voluntary health workers with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Saifura Khorsa, Hauwa Liman and Alice Loksha, were abducted by Boko Haram in Ran, Kala Balge Local Government Area of Borno.
”The House also notes that these health workers, apart from being mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and constituents, they were voluntary health workers.
”They provide healthcare and humanitarian assistance to devastated victims of Boko Haram sect in Rann, Kala Balge Local Government Area,” he said.
Okafor recalled that the moment the news of their abduction got to the Federal Government, government immediately opened up a negotiation channel with the terror group for the safe release of the abductees.
”Besides, the Federal Government also received briefs from UNICEF and ICRC,” he said.
The lawmaker, however, said that it was unfortunate that despite the negotiation initiated by the Federal Government for their rescue, the insurgents executed two of the captives.
”Cognisant that the remaining abductee, Alice Loksha, together with Leah Sharibu who was kidnapped on Feb. 19, 2018, alongside dozens of her schoolmates in Dapchi, Yobe, are still under captivity as the sect threatened to use them as slaves,” he said.
Contributing, Rep Ralph Igbokwe (APC-Imo), also expressed anger over the development.
On his part, Rep Johnson Agbonayinma (APC-Edo), who condemned the act, stressed that no one had the right to take anyone’s life.
Rep Chinda Ogundu (PDP-Rivers) urged governments at all levels to intensify their efforts at combating insecurity.
”How long shall we continue to discuss insecurity in Nigeria? We must begin to exercise the powers that we have because the primary function of any government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens,” he said.
Rep Ossai Ossai (PDP-Delta) said the present security issue in the country was beyond the conventional method it was being addressed.
The House, in its resolution, urged the Federal Government to intensify efforts at collaborating with other countries to acquire advanced technology for gathering information on terrorism and satellite full imagery devices that could help in the fight against terrorism.
It also called on the development partners not to relent in their aid and support for counter-terrorism operations in the country.
When the Speaker put the matter to a voice vote, it was unanimously supported by the lawmakers.