Reps Ask Federal Gov’t, Army To Immediately Reopen Abuja’s Banex Plaza

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The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army to immediately reopen the Banex Plaza in Abuja for normal business activities to resume.

The Green Chamber called on those concerned to leverage technology, such as surveillance and closed circuit television cameras (CCTV), to identify and apprehend the perpetrators of the attack on Army personnel at the plaza recently.

The House mandated its Committees on National Security and Intelligence, Defence and Police Affairs to investigate the circumstances leading to the closure of Banex Plaza and the military’s involvement.

The resolutions were sequel to the adoption of a motion brought under matters of urgent national importance moved by Hon. Whingan Oluwaseun from Lagos State at plenary on Thursday.

Moving the motion, Oluwaseun noted the recent unrest at Banex Plaza, Wuse II district of Abuja, on Saturday, May 18, 2024, involving traders, who attacked Nigerian Army personnel, which took the intervention of soldiers and policemen to rescue the attacked soldiers.

The lawmaker said the attacked soldiers were unarmed and posed no threat, making the attack unjustifiable.

He, however, expressed concern about the temporary closure of Banex Plaza, a major commercial hub, affecting businesses and the FCT economy.

Oluwaseun was also worried about the over-reliance on traditional and heavy-handed methods in civil matters, causing unnecessary disruption.

He also lamented the inappropriate use of military personnel in civil matters, detracting from their primary role of national defence, noting that the Okuama crisis in Delta State, where 17 soldiers were killed, allegedly while on a peace mission, which led to severe military reprisals and significant destruction.

“Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, the recent incidents at Banex Plaza and Okuama in Delta State underline the urgent need for a review of our approach to handling security issues.

“These tragedies could have been averted with proper engagement and the use of modern technology. We must ensure that the military focuses on its primary role of national defense while the police handle civil matters.

“I urge this House to support this motion for the immediate reopening of Banex Plaza and the adoption of advanced, non- disruptive security methods,” the lawmaker added.

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