By Henry Umoru
ABUJA — THE Senate, yesterday, took a swipe at the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, stressing that he must have been ill-formed on the position of the anti-terrorism law, just as it said the law already existed in the country.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, noted that the upper chamber was totally confused when the Inspector General of Police said there was no such law and as such the detained Boko Haram would not be put on trial, adding: “The Senate was surprised and flabbergasted” by the claim that there was no law to prosecute arrested suspected terrorists.
The Inspector-General of Police had on Tuesday said the Police could not put the detained members of Boko Haram on trial until the anti-terrorism bill which was before the National Assembly was passed into law.
Abaribe, who noted that the Anti-Terrorism Prevention Bill was passed into law in 2011 and President Goodluck Jonathan did not delay in signing it into law, said: “Probably, the IGP was not properly briefed about the existence of a bill on terrorism that was passed more than a year ago.”
Also, yesterday, the Senate urged the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to as a matter of urgency factor in the Nigerian Prisons Service under the SURE- P Programme.
According to the Senate, it could be a win-win situation if only a portion of the spending by the government was reserved for prison inmates that would be set aside for the sewing of uniforms and thus boost production of goods and services.
The Senate noted that if this is done by the Federal government, goods and services would then be boosted, just as it said that it was worried that the prisons lack equipment to store documents, including warrants.
Speaking yesterday during the joint hearing of the Senate and House Committee on the 2013 budget defence of the Ministry of Interior and its parastatals, Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Abubakar Bagudu, noted that huge amount of money was been spent on procurement of uniforms by the Nigerian Immigration Service, NSCDC, Fire Service and the Ñigeria Prisons Service.
According to him, training facilities can be improved upon, even with the current limited resources, just as he called on the Comptroller-General, NÍS to visit the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos to see what could be done to address the present insecurity problem.
Senator Bagudu noted that the proposed 2013 budget for the Ministry of Interior was N156, 109, 634,514, as against the N159,323,233,644 that was appropriated to it in 2012, adding that the decrease did not go down well with the ministry, adding that there was the need for more funding for the ministry if the present national security challenges could be nipped in the bud.