*Says enough of excuses on security in Nigeria
*calls for recruitment of 10,000 civilian JTF, more soldiers, police
By Ignatius Okorocha
Angered by the worsening state of insecurity in the country, the Senate, yesterday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to immediately initiate a transitionary process of phasing out the current over-stayed security chiefs and replacing them with new ones with new ideas and solutions.
The upper chamber also urged the President to take immediate steps to restructure, remodel and revamp the country’s entire security architecture and provide enough state-of-the-art weapons and equipment to effectively combat the belligerent power of the insurgents.
It further urged the President to immediately initiate probe into widespread allegations of corruption and leakages within the security structure and put mechanisms in place to foster transparency and ensure all resources meant and deployed for security were actually spent on the needs on ground.
The apex legislative chamber also impressed on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency, recruit at least 10,000 Civilian JIF, versatile with the local terrain in Borno as Agro-Rangers under the aegis of the NCDSC to complement the efforts of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
It also impressed on the Federal Government to aggressively explore multilateral and bilateral options of partnership with the neighboring nations of Chad, Niger and Cameroons toward reviving and strengthening the Multinational Joint Task Fcrce and finding a lasting solution to the scourge of insurgency in the Lake Chad region.
Red chamber also impressed on the Federal Government to provide proper welfare for security personnel fighting in the frontlines, and give prime attention to the compensation and welfare of fallen soldiers as that would boost the soldiers morale and aid their concentration.
Also, as a way of proffering long term solution to Nigeria’s existential security challenges, the Senate urged the Federal and State Governments to adequately address all immediate and remote causes of insecurity in the nation, saying that the action must include comprehensive packages on education, employment and other social vices.
The Senate equally directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and NEDC to provide succor and psychological solution to the deceased families while also directing the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to compensate families of those who were killed in the incident.
The Senate made these resolutions following a motion, entitled:
“beheading of 67 farmers in Borno by Boko Haram insurgents: need for urgent decisive action, sponsored by the former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima.
Presenting his motion, Shettima observed that the efforts of the present security chiefs were not working, saying if President Buhari insisted that the service chiefs were doing their works well, it would imply that the President as the Commander-in-Chief had failed in his primary responsibility of securing the nation.
He said: “further observes that whatever it is that the present security chiefs are doing is not working or at least not enough. And if the President insists that the security chiefs are doing their work well, then the logical implication of such assumption is that the President himself as the Commander-in-Chief of the country has failed in his most rudimentary assignment of securing the nation. I hope the latter is not the case.
“Disheartened that more than 67 citizens were beheaded while they were working in their farmland without any form of resistance or challenge from the security agencies stationed a few kilometres away;
“Worried that the Nigerian military in conjunction with other Security agencies up till today have not been able to quell the insurgency affecting the region despite the slogan by Government officials that the insurgents have been technically defeated;
“Concludes that we cannot as a nation move forward until the lives of every Nigerian is protected and secured as the primary objective of government is the security and the protection of its citizens. Protecting the lives and property of citizens is the primary obligation of government and any government that cannot discharge this basic obligation losses every iota of legitimacy”.
Contributing, Senator Ahmed Baba Kaita (APC, Katsina North), berated the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu, for blaming the killed farmers for not getting clearance from the Military before going to their farms.
Kaita, who is the Senator representing President Buhari, and had always stood to defend the President in the face of criticisms, made U-turn yesterday, arguing that, even though President was doing his best but his best without tangible result to address the insecurity in the country amounted to nothing.
He said: “let me say if the statement credited to the Spokesperson of Mr President, Garba Shehu, is true then let me say that it is highly irresponsible. You might be exposed to information that we and other Nigerians do not have but at that point in time when everybody was mourning the loss of citizens who are innocently killed and who have gone into their farms despite the challenging economic situation in this country and thereby losing their lives, and somebody said it was because they did not take clearance from the Military. We don’t harvest crops in one day, we harvest them overtime.
“Insecurity is now facing us eyeball to eyeball, we have to sit down with this military and reassess their performance in the north-east. Day in day out, same scenarios keep repeating themselves, then something is fundamentally wrong.
“If we allow this go, let’s be ready for another mourning. Despite the efforts of the federal government on the security issues of Nigeria, it is totally believed that the President is doing his own best but then, doing your best is not enough when we cannot see the result on ground and this is what is happening”.
In his contribution, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), lamented that the report of the Senate security summit earlier submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari had not been implemented.
He also learnt his voice to the call for a comprehensive investigation into allegations of corruption within the security formations, lamenting that the nation’s security operatives were using inferior weapons to confront the Boko Haram terrorists with sophisticated weapons.
“Mr President, the first report that you submitted to Mr President was not implemented; the scone report was also not implemented. We have made several suggestions in this Senate and nothing was done. Mr. President, this Senate needs to take a step further to save this country.
“I agree with my colleagues for the need to probe where the money being budgeted for the security agencies is being expended on because the Army doesn’t have the ammunition and weapon to fight the insurgents. I have gone round and I have not seen a solider walking about with a brand new weapon. I believe that if the government is serious it can bring insurgency to an end in six months”, he said.
Also, Senator Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi Central), another ardent supporter and defender of the President in the Senate, expressed serious disappointment that the President chose to send a delegation to Borno instead of going there by himself to commiserate with the State.
“The president should have gone there to console the bereaved families in Borno state.We have lost so many families from other parts of the country to banditry and insurgency. It now time to act. We have had so many resolutions on security right from eight Senate and non of gem was implemented.We should employ civilian JTF to resume operation. We have over 1.2million internally displaced persons in the North East. It is time for government to improve their welfare. The Service Chiefs have out lived sir usefulness. It is now time to relive them of their services and bring in new personnel a with fresh ideas on how to fight insurgency.”
Sen.Bamidele Michael Opeyemi(Ekiti Central) “Let us stand on existing resolutions in addition that the mover of this motions made clear to us on the floor. For me the number one resolution is that it is time for Mr president to allow our service chiefs to go.
“They have done their best, they have worked so hard the best anybody can give is his best. You can not give what you don’t have and if Mr president believe so much in them let him move them as service chiefs and keep hem as presidential adversary committee on security matters but lets me younger ones take over their duties as service chiefs and move the country forward. Fighting Boko haram can not be a thing you do by habit. This war is becoming like a routine and we must bring it to an end.”