Buhari meets National Assembly members over dinner

President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration is ready to use everything within its powers to end insecurity in the country and bring the perpetrators of criminal activities to book.

The President said this Tuesday evening at a dinner with members of the National Assembly, held at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja.

He said insecurity, manifesting as insurgencies, banditry, kidnapping and urban crime of all sorts is the single most difficult challenge the country is battling with.

The President 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.

President Buhari also used the occasion to hail the 9th National Assembly for discharging their legislative duties with maturity and competence, describing 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.

The President listed some legislative accomplishments of the 9th National Assembly ranging from returning of budget cycle to January to December, the amendment of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, CAMA, the Nigeria Police Act, the Finance Act, the Deep Offshore Production Sharing Contract Act, amongst others.

The President also commended 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.

The President noted that the executive and legislature came into office at a time of significant challenges for the country.

As the second legislative year of the 9th Assembly has just come to an end, the President noted that it was appropriate to jointly review shared commitments, to identify what has been achieved, and what is still left undone.

President Buhari said he looked forward to continued collaboration and partnership between the Executive and Legislative arms of government, working together to achieve a shared vision of a peaceful and prosperous country.

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Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the dinner was beyond eating as the purpose was to bring together the arms of government that had worked so closely.

According to him, since the beginning of the Fourth Republic in 1999, no government has been so challenged by paucity of funds and myriads of other challenges facing the country.

He said although members of the National Assembly belonged to different political parties, they have worked in brotherhood, standing together and ensuring that they are able to deliver when necessary.

Lawan noted that the Senate and the House of Representatives had worked together seeing to the demolition of the “demons” that stoped the passage of critical bills such as the PIB and others in the past.

He said the legislators worked as Nigerians and as people who were there to ensure the good governance of the country.

He stressed the need for more money for security as he noted “there is not better investment in Nigeria today than investment in security,” hoping that security would have more money in the 2022 budget.

Lawan observed that the nation’s economy survived many shocks because the legislature passed the national budgets in time in the last two years.

He advised Nigerians to aggregate their views and build a consensus on matters they want addressed in the ongoing constitution review exercise.

In his remarks, House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, said it was a delight that they could sit with the Executive not over official matters but to eat.

He said he was proud of House members, singling out opposition members who he said were engaging in constructive opposition “as they watch their number deplete,” saying “As we move towards 2023, I hope their colour will change. I wait on them”

He praised the effort of the National Assembly especially on the passage of the PIB, assuring that before the National Assembly goes on break on Thursday, the Electoral Act Amendment Bill would be passed.

It was the first time members of the National Assembly from across parties would be hosted by the President in the Presidential Villa.

President Buhari had previously hosted the leadership of the legislature and only members of the ruling APC from time to time.

Also present at Tuesday’s occasion were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, ministers and other senior government officials.

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