As senate grills service chiefs for 8hrs
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru &Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—THE Senate yesterday grilled the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Kenneth Minimah, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosun and The Director of Department of State Service, Mr. Ekpenyong Ita for eight hours over the security situation in the North.
The senate also disclosed that the Nigeria military was mounting pressure on them for the extension of emergency rule in the three North Eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe for them to be able to conduct operations in a manner that will bring insurgency to a quick resolution.
The red chambers failed to discuss President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for the extension of emergency rule in the affected states despite the fact that the emergency rule had expired Thursday last week.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who briefed newsmen after about eight hours closed-door session with the Service Chiefs, said that the Security heads insisted that the extension of emergency rule was necessary for the quick resolution of the insurgency in the affected states.
Senator Abaribe said that during the closed-door session, all the constraints the Nigerian military was facing towards bringing the insurgency to an end were deliberated as well as the military budgetary provisions.
According to him, “The senate in an executive session has spent more than eight hours interacting with the Chiefs of Staff of the Nigerian Armed Forces. The interaction was very frank and it was very detailed. We looked into what have been the constraints of the Nigerian Military in dealing with the insurgency; we also looked into the budgetary provisions for them and we looked into what has been done so far by the military in containing the insurgency.
“And I can tell you, the senate was very impressed with the response from the military and like I said, the military has shown itself to be capable of dealing with the insurgency. The fact that they are capable of dealing with the insurgency means that the senate will do all in its power to support the Nigeria military so that we can bring this insurgency to a quick resolution.
“We also found from their briefing that we have some problems which has to do with the troop levels and with the level of equipment and of course all the other ancillary problems where you have to fight what we call asymmetrical war and not a formal conflict.
“We are very glad that the military is at this moment, gearing up itself to be able to deal with this asymmetrical conflict in the North East of Nigeria. As of today, we have the briefing and we can reassure Nigerians that the military is up to the task of dealing with this matter.”
Commenting on the state of emergency, the senate spokesman said, “The question of the state of emergency was not what was on the table today and we are going to also wait until it is brought on the floor of the senate and we will now discuss it.
“What the senate did today was to separate the two questions. Of course the military continues to insist that they need the state of emergency to be able to conduct operations in a manner that will bring it to a quick resolution.
“When the senate now takes the question of state of emergency of course you will be there because it will be discussed in open plenary.”