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Worsening Insecurity: NASS demands state of emergency, summons NSA, security chiefs

The worsening insecurity across the country dominated proceedings at the two chambers of the National Assembly yesterday, as the House of Representatives charged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare a state of emergency in the security sector while the Senate resolved to meet with the President to review the mounting security challenges and fashion out permanent solutions.

Although both chambers deliberated on the disturbing security situation separately, they arrived at a unanimous resolution to summon the military service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police to brief lawmakers on the deteriorating security situation and keep the parliament abreast of the efforts being put into arresting the ugly trend and halting the nation from drifting into a state of anarchy.

The resolutions of the House came after an executive session that lasted for over two hours while the Senate took its decisions after a heated debate on a motion raised the rising spate of banditry and terrorism in Niger State. Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, who announced the resolutions of the House, said the declaration of a state of emergency on security had become necessary and urgent because the government needed to fasttrack all measures to ensure the restoration of peace in the country.

Gbajabiamila disclosed that during the closed door session, lawmakers condemned the attacks on security agents and formations and sympathized with their families. He disclosed that the House remained committed to the security and corporate existence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and would, therefore, accelerate its engagement with stakeholders on a special security summit to be organised by the House of Representatives.

In the meantime, the Speaker said,the House has resolved to invite the National Security Adviser (NSA), Service Chiefs, and heads of paramilitary organisations, including the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service and the MD of Nigerian COMSAT to brief the House on the security situation in the country. The House also called on the judiciary to accelerate the prosecution of those awaiting trial due to banditry, terrorism and other criminal activities.

“Provide emergency relief to all communities that have been adversely affected by recent attacks across the country. “The president should, as a matter of urgency, ensure financial autonomy to local government councils to guarantee their functionality to serve the local populace. “The Federal Government should ensure the protection of National Infrastructure assets, particularly the Shiroro and Kainji Dams in Niger state.

“The House mandates all its security committees to, immediately, commence comprehensive audit of all military and paramilitary assets and arms in our armed services and revert back to the House within four weeks. “That the number of personnel in the police and military falls far short of the required number to effectively secure the country and calls for immediate recruitment to this effect,” Gbajabiamila said. Proceedings in the upper chamber of the parliament took a slightly different approach as the lawmakers asked the President to seek assistance of foreign countries in the war against terrorism.

Senator Musa Sani (APC, Niger East), set the ball rolling when he raised a motion on the activities of bandits and Boko Haram terrorists in Shiroro, Munya and Rafi Local Government Areas of Niger State. According to Sani, the activities of these violent groups have taken a dangerous dimension and there was an urgent need for the Federal Government to deploy troops and other security apparatus to immediately bring an end to the menace of insurgency and terrorism in Niger State and other parts of Nigeria. He noted that about 42 communities across the two local government areas of Shiroro and Munya had so far fallen under Boko Haram control with about 5,000 villagers already displaced in the last three days. The lawmaker also lamented that the insurgents had kidnapped many persons, seized people’s wives and forcefully allocated them to Boko Haram fighters. He also disclosed three military camps in Allawa, Bassa and Zagzaga in the two local government areas had been sacked and some security personnel killed in the last one month of renewed attacks.

Sani stated that follow ing these attacks, primary schools in Gwada, Kuta, Pandogari and Minna had hurriedly been turned to IDP camps as 5600 villagers were sacked from their ancestral homes in Shiroro, Rafi and Munya local government areas.

According to him, the number of persons said to have been killed by bandits in Niger East Senatorial District from January 2020 to date were over 475. However, at the end of the debate, the Senate resolved to summon the Service Chiefs, the Inspector- General of Police (IGP) and heads of other security agencies.

The apex legislative assembly also resolved to summon the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Director- General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), to brief it on the current political situation in Chad and its security implications for the region.

It further called on the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff and the Inspector-General of Police to immediately deploy troops to defend unarmed people and bring back security to the affected communities. The Senate noted that retrning security to the affected communities was the only antidote to restoring confidence in the security and safety of the areas.

The lawmakers also urged the Chief of Army Staff and the Inspector- General of Police to, as a matter of urgency, ensure the establishment of a permanent military and police command base at the axis adjoining Shiroro and Rafi Local Government areas and redesign the modus operandi of the military operations within the affected areas so as to curtail the escalating insecurity. The Senate equally resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to review the report of the Senate on the nation’s security architecture, with a view to ensuring that the document was implemented. It also urged the Federal Government to buy more war equipment for the armed forces to be able to combat the insecurity in the country.

The Red Chamber further directed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to as a matter of national emergency provide relief materials and medical support teams to the victims immediately. The Senate also observed a minute’s silence for all the victims of acts of criminality, banditry and terrorism in Niger State and other parts of Nigeria.

 

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