ABDULRAHMAN ABDULRAUF writes on the pensive mood of the Senate last week following the death of Senator Gyang Dantong in Plateau upheaval and the need for positive actions.
That the Nigeria nation is under siege is saying the obvious. Thousands of lives are being lost to the activities of the Boko Haram, a sect that has become an anathema. For Nigerians and non Nigerians resident in the northern part of the country, the operation base of the group, they perpetually live in fear of the unknown. Of course, the ugly phenomenon came in 2010 at the height of a similar madness in Jos, the Plateau state capital where there is a persisting conflict over needless indigeneship question between the so-called settlers and the supposed natives.
Bombing and killing have become so cheap that the news of death resulting from attack in places of worship, do not appear to make major headlines again. From Miduguri to Damaturu, Jalingo, Okene(of recent), Kano, Kaduna, Gusau, it is the same story-tragedy. Various families have had a taste of it and the disaster continues unabated. But the tragedy was further heightened penultimate Sunday, when the Plateau share of the confusion consumed some top lawmakers from the state, who ironically went to commiserate and identify with their people at the burial of scores killed in similar attack a day before. Senator Gyang Dantong, representing Plateau North and Mr. Gyang Fulani, representing Barkin Ladi state constituency, were killed by hoodlums at the burial of victims of the attack at Matse in Riyom local government area of the state.
Although the belief in some quarters was that the Fulani herdsmen were responsible for the attack, but the Boko Haram, like it had always done in many of the attacks , again came up to claim responsibility for this dastardly act. This leaves one with the question of why some people would always wish to and take delight in sniffing life out of fellow humans. This is unthinkable.
Losing one of them was one harrowing experience the Senate had to cope with last Tuesday, when the lawmakers adjourned its session in honour of their late colleague. The red chamber was enveloped in gloom when a few of them who spoke of the late medical doctor turned politician, took turns to pay their tribute. The adjournment followed the adoption of two motions sponsored by Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba (PDP, Cross River Central) and seconded by Minority Leader, Senator George Akume (ACN, Benue North-West).
While moving the motions, Ndoma-Egba, in a grieving tone, said: “On July 8, 2012, the Senate and indeed the entire nation received the sad news of the unfortunate death of one of our own, a fine gentleman, two-time senator and former member of the House of Representatives and our chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Gyang Dantong. Today being the first plenary after the sad event, and in keeping with our traditions, I move two motions: first is that we observe a minute silence in his honour. Second, that we adjourn all senate activities to Wednesday, July 11, 2012.”
In his remark, the President of the Senate, David Mark, described the late Dantong as a sacrificial lamb whose death should herald lasting peace into the trouble state. He believed that the lawmaker’s death would be in vain if the mindless killings in many parts of northern Nigeria persist.
He said, “Dantong has become a sacrificial lamb, his death will be in vain if we continue with this madness beyond this point.”
Renewing his call for dialogue, the senate president said, “We should never get tired of preaching that there should be dialogue because that’s the only solution. Once there is a dialogue and people are able to speak out their minds and it is resolved and decisions taken, then it will be a lasting solution.”
Writing in a condolence register opened in honour of the deceased at the National Assembly, Mark said: “May your death brings peace and unity to Plateau state in particular and Nigeria in general. You did so much to ensure peace. Rest in peace with the Lord.”
The senate president also paid a condolence visit to both the families of the deceased persons as well as the state governor, Jonah Jang. Mark, who expressed regret at the death of the two lawmakers, described Dantong as an easy going gentleman.
Mark said, “The deaths of Dantong and Fulani are unfortunate and regrettable and we only hope that with their deaths, the crisis in the state has reached its peak and must end. I have always said we can resolve these crises through dialogue and I hope that those concerned will now embrace dialogue so that we can achieve lasting peace.”
Jang, who received Mark and his entourage, said he had always alerted the federal government about the presence of terrorists in the state and expressed regret that his cries had not always been heeded.
Consoling Hanatu, Dantong’s widow, the senate president said, “We have come here as colleagues of your husband to condole you on this unfortunate incident. We know it is painful, but there is nothing any mortal can do if it is the will of God.”
In a similar tribute, Mark’s deputy, Ike Ekweremadu said his death was not only brutal and awful, but shameless.
He said, “This is one of the saddest moments of my life. I have lost a friend and the nation, especially the Senate, has lost a consummate lawmaker in a most shameful circumstance. I am indeed worried about the growing cheapness of human life in troubled parts of the country and the long-term implications of our descent from a culture of love and high value for human life to that of hate, senseless killing, and wanton destruction.”
While calling for full and immediate measures to arrest the endless waste of lives and property in troubled parts of the country, the deputy senate president said Nigeria would never surrender to brutishness, violence, senseless destruction of human lives as a way of life. The lawmaker condoled with the government and people of the state and the nation in general over the sad losses.
Also commenting on the development, Ndoma-Egba, noted that the lawmakers’ death had shown that Nigeria was losing its humanity. He specifically praised Dantog whom he said displayed uncommon commitment and devotion to work.”
“I particularly remember his contributions towards the passage of the National Health Bill and he has even confirmed his renewed commitment to seeing the Bill go through in the Senate without many hassles,” he added.
The lawmakers assured that it would immortalise the deceased lawmaker in view of his contribution to the legislative process. On plans to immortalise him, the lawmaker noted that Dantong was a very prominent member of the Senate who contributed so much.
While it’s human to sympathise with the Dantong’s and Fulani’s families on the loss of their beloved ones, it is pertinent to also state that the development was a dangerous dimension to the crises currently enveloping the country. Enough of the talks. Let the right action be taken to end this barbarism in the land. With the lawmakers’ death, it is now clear that no one is safe. Certainly, things won’t remain the same again!
Filed Under: The Parliament