Boko Haram: Senate asks military to set up base at Auno

  • Lawan insists non-performing security heads should go


Following the brutal attack and killing of over 30 persons on Sunday at Auno community in Borno State, the Senate, yesterday, asked the Defence Headquarters to set up a military base in the area.

The Senate passed the resolution as a result of the point of order raised by the former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima (APC, Borno Central).

Auno community has become a victim of frequent attacks by insurgents, having witnessed five different attacks from the Boko Haram terrorists in the last eight months.

The Senate also urged the military and other security agencies to rejig their approach towards fighting insurgency in order to make meaningful impact.

This was as the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, insisted that non-performing security chiefs should go, as such, could no longer justify the reason for their appointments.

He reiterated the need for a better structure and architecture for the security to provide the necessary service needed by the country at the moment.

“I believe that we are all agreed that the security architecture as presently constituted and designed is simply not giving the outcome we want and we need. Going forward, we have to find a better structure and architecture for our security to provide the necessary service that we need.

“Time has come for us to ensure that governance is done like it is business; you employ someone, give the person a target, he accepts on the basis of the fact that he can meet the target.

“If he doesn’t meet the target and there is no cogent explanation or reasons why he fails, then he should go. When we hold people responsible, they are likely to perform better”, he argued.

However, addressing journalists after presenting his motion on the floor of the Senate, Shettima said that President Muhammadu Buhari had done enough for the North East geopolitical zone since 2015 he assumed power, noting that most of the service chiefs are from the region.

“The president needs to be commended for what he has done for the North East and Borno State in particular. He was instrumental to the establishment of the North East Development Commission.

“If we are going to apportion blames, we should be fair to this poor old man because he has been doing everything within his powers to end insurgency in the North East and indeed Nigeria at large.”

He said that he deliberately declined from making comments for some months because he believed that the insecurity problem in the country would not  be solved by blame game.

On the booing of Buhari in Maiduguri on Wednesday by irate residents, Shettima described the development as unfortunate, saying that the President had done so much for the region as not to deserve the public embarrassment.

“The people of Borno State and the North East love Buhari. Without the cooperation of the people of the Borno people, the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) won’t have come to limelight.”

He said that most of the Nigerian problem such as banditry, Boko Haram, herdsmen/ farmers clashes and other crises could be stopped if Nigerians worked in harmony to confront it.

While the motion was being debated, the Senate, which observed a minute silence for the victims of Auno attack, condemned in strong terms the dastardly act perpetuated by the insurgents.

The lawmakers urged the Federal Government to begin a rehabilitation of the affected communities and also urged the military operatives to launch a base in Auno to intensify efforts in the fight against insurgency in the North East.

Instructing the Defence Headquarters to find what transpired in Auno, the Senate also urged the Federal Government through National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, to send relief items to the affected families.

Contributing, the Senate Minority Leader, Eyinnaya Abaribe, said that if the lawmakers were going to observe one minute for every victim of those who died in the carnage all these time, they would probably stand for 28 or 29 days in the chamber.

He said: “I want to comment on just an aspect of the prayers which is for us to do one minute silence for the victims of the Auno attack. I was just sitting down here with Senator Aduda and I was calculating how many minutes in a day and how many victims we have and just to point out a very poignant fact that if we stand here for one minute for every victim of those who have died in this carnage all these time, we are going to probably stand for 28 or 29 days; we will be standing just because of people who have died. We must take note of that.”

Also contributing, a former Governor of Benue State, Senator Gabriel Suswam, said that it was time the security problem in Nigeria was approached differently.

He said: “From the inception of this 9th assembly, what has preoccupied us if we check statistics is the issue of security that has cropped up on a daily basis. It is high time we approached this differently and let us call a spade a spade.

“We must move beyond talking on the floor here of massive killings of our people. We talk about security, security, security. We cannot continue. In the past, we have heard that Boko Haram has been exterminated and it came from the military that they have finished with Boko Haram.

“I think that beyond mere propaganda, let us address this issue by going to the source. It is not about intelligence; we don’t lack intelligence. These people come in trucks and people who come with trucks cannot be invisible. They come in trucks and they are well armed. We should move beyond observing one minute silence.”

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