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PIB, A More Worthy Goal to Pursue, Jonathan tells Nass

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan



…Ask Opposition to Quit Politicization of Chibok Girls


Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja.

President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday told  the National Assembly that the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is a more worthy goal to pursue, less than nine months to the end of the seventh National Assembly.

Jonathan who declared open a one-day National Conference on Environmental security, awareness and enforcement in Nigeria organised by the House Committee on Environment led by Uche Ekwunife, emphasised the need for proactive steps towards ensuring environmental and human safety.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

According to Jonathan, “the Committee chairman in her speech lamented the activities of the oil companies who abuse our environment. I want to assure this gathering that there is no contradiction between sound environment and strong economy.

“With less than nine months to the lapse of this seventh National Assembly, a more worthy goal to pursue will be the immediate passage of the petroleum industry bill and to put appropriate sanctions in place through legislation so that those that pollute will know there are consequences that follow.

“I do not pretend for second that the PIB will resolve all the environmental issues as they affect oil exploration but I have no stomach for those that are no allowing us to begin serious action from somewhere. Sticking up your head in the sand might make you feel safer but it is not going to protect you from impeding storm.

“Ultimately, we shall be judged as a people and as a society and as a country on where we go from here.”

On terrorism, Jonathan who acknowledged the efforts of the Armed Forces so far, lamented that Nigeria is “indeed in a major war against Boko Haram and their Al-Queda affiliates. We also face a range of other challenges that will define the way Nigerians live out the rest of the 21

st century.

“We need to update and equip our security forces. We have made and are still making necessary investments in this regards. So far, we have fought the war with abiding confidence in the rule of law, due process, checks and balances and accountability, and we are beginning to see progress.

This is my responsibility as President.”

The President who called on the “insurgents and their collaborators to lay down their arms and embrace peace as no threat can defeat a united and determined Nigeria,” expressed the need for the insurgents to ensure unconditional release of the abducted Chibok girls.

“As an elected official, I want to solve the problem of the Chibok girls. It’s priority on my-to-do list as President. I refuse to pass it on to somebody else. It is my responsibility to solve the problem. Our security interests will not permit us to withhold legitimate actions that will bring back the girls. Our institutions won’t allow it either. And neither should our conscience. I seize this opportunity to call on the opposition to quit politicization of the abducted saga and join me to solve the problem together,” Jonathan pleaded.

On his part, Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker of the House of Representatives assured that the outcome of the conference will form part of the legislative agenda, noting that all environmental bills have received accelerated consideration

On her part, Uche Ekwunife, chairman, House Committee on Environment explained that the conference will provide the platform for a multi-sectoral initiative that will enhance environmental security and awareness, motivate policy changes in government as well as establish partnership with organisations capable of spreading the message, See it and Report it.

She lamented that “the current challenges thrown up in our nation are such that if we do not take full charge of our environment, sooner than later, we might begin to experience environmental crisis in so many ways.”

To effectively tackle the problems, Ekwunife stressed the need for Nigerians to collaborate with the Armed Forces who are currently facing the challenges headlong, in similar unity in the fight against Ebola virus disease and the massive flooding that affected almost 22 states of the federation.

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