From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

As the security challenges in the country continue to elicit comments, a member of the House of Representatives, Lavun/ Mokwa/ Edati Federal Constituency of Niger State, Joshua Gana, has said citizens should be concerned about what is happening in their neighborhoods.

Gana, in this interview said that citizens being their neighbour’s keeper and volunteering information to the security agencies will help greatly in the fight against insecurity. He also spoke on other issues.

There have been different views on how to address the security challenges in the country. Some persons say state police is the way to go, why others think otherwise. What is your take?

In security matters, gathering intelligence is the first key step in addressing foreseen security challenges or post security challenges. What is the intelligence gathering on the ground. That is the information from the people.

Every security agency must have information from the people. Every security agent must have informants. With that information, they investigate.

Recently, we saw one of our governors clearly saying that with the income level, whether IGR or federal allocation that they cannot fund state police or local police establishment in their state. And for Nigerians, we must be realistic.

It might be a good move to pass the Bill in that light. But if they can’t fund it, it then becomes another failed system.

It is better to tread carefully so that we will properly budget and plan. If you really want to do it and you can fund it; yes. Even the federal police will tell you that they are not properly funded to carry out their operations.

We must be realistic. It is what you have earned, as a country, in your book that you can attend to all the different departments, ministries and agencies to say these pressing issues must be addressed.

Like the Constitution has said, the role of government is the security and welfare of the people. So, people come first.

We must find a way to still encourage to be concerned about their neighbours. I will call it, be your neighbour’s keeper. This disparity that my neighbour is of this religion of this faith or of this cadre in life, no; as far as he is a human being and God has allowed that where you are located, you are his neighbor, be your neighbour’s keeper.

Many believe that part of the problem is the failure of the local government system. And some persons are canvassing for autonomy for local government, where do you stand on this?

I as representative of Mokwa Federal Constituency, I am not speaking for National Assembly or the House of Representatives. But for myself and my Constituency, I am in support of local government autonomy. Because the consciousness of the things that brought me into partisan or active politics is love and care for my people.

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I would have preferred to be a local government chairman with executive functions and a clear budget. Every day I will go and be repairing different things in different communities. And attending to my people – Health Care, education and everything. But now, I can only make laws, do my oversight function and effectively represent my people.

But some of the things that are even coming to the federal level in our motions are things that state assembly should be attending to. Things that local government chairmen should be attending to. Not us as federal legislators.

What should your constituents expect from you in the course of your representation?

My constituents that voted for me are my employers. Whatever is approved for them in the budget will get to them. My effective representation, as far as there is breath in my nostrils, I am listening to them, I am responding. I am in touch with my stakeholders. I am in touch with my community leaders. My constituents have my numbers. And they call. I don’t think I receive less than 1000 calls a day.

What do you think about the agitation for the review of the Electoral Act?

In response to the electoral review, there is committee set up for this. And by the provisions of the law as National Assembly, we will have feedback from all different levels of engagements. CSOs, community, town hall meetings, all sorts so that we can have feedback. .

Everybody has had an experience, whether electing their councilors up to the President during our electoral process. So, they can voice out where they think there are gaps, because we are not all knowing. But from the contribution of different people and ideas, we will be able to come out with some resolutions.

We encourage Nigerians to please open up. Don’t think because your own person won this time, you will not address that problem. It might be your turn tomorrow. And because you didn’t address it and you kept quiet because your party was in authority, it will affect you.

Let there be a level playing ground. Just like a referee for any football match and game that we are playing. Let the rule be clear so that if his ruling is wrong, it can be rejected, so that the players of the game can be treated fairly.

In specific time, what would you want amended in the Electoral Act?

This aspect where technology was introduced, as a way of verifying -BVAS. And people felt that gap that allowed what was done before to supersede the use of technology for accountability of votes cast.

We have seen the gaps. Let’s tighten those gaps so that we can build upon that foundation to having more credible results in our Electoral Act.

There should be a balance between humanity and technology. We are in the world of AI now. We don’t want to be ruled by robots at the end of the day. As much as we want to treat the problem of human failure, you just need the technology to be a good accountant.

Let that technology, since we tried it for the first time and it is tested, whatever gaps, even the people that developed that technology, they have checked and see the gaps that the technology has. And they will be doing the hybrid of it; so that by the time we do our own amendment of the act, it will synchronize with whatever gaps, both at technology and in our legal system.