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Killings: Senate summons security, service chiefs, Customs boss, others

Politicians responsible for proliferation of illegal firearms—Sen Shehu
UN condemns Birnin Gwari attack
Air Force Alpha Jet kills scores of Boko Haram terrorists

By Kingsley Omonobi & Henry Umoru

ABUJA—WORRIED by the escalation in killings across the country, due largely to the proliferation of dangerous firearms, the Senate has summoned the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel  Olonisakin, National Security Adviser, NSA, Major- General Mohammed Monguno (retd) and the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai to appear before it and come up with ways to check the bloodletting.

Also summoned to appear before the Senate were the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok  Ekwe,  Chief of Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Abubakar Sadique,  Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris,  Director General of the Department of State Service, DSS, Alhaji Lawal Daura, Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (retd) and his Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS counterpart, Mohammed Babandede.

Meanwhile,  senator, Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central) has accused politicians of being behind the proliferation of illegal firearms across the nation.

UN condemns Birnin Gwari attack

This came as the United Nations, UN,  Secretary-General, António Guterres, condemned in strong terms, the attack on Birnin-Gwari village in Kaduna State, where scores of persons were killed and dozens others injured as well as property, destroyed.

President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki

Mr Guterres, in a statement by his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, stressed the need to hold the perpetrators to account, adding  “Those responsible must be swiftly brought to justice.”

Guterres expressed his continued concern over the persisting violence in the region and urged all actors to “work together to bring peace and stability to the country.”

Air strike killsscores of BokoHaram terrorists

Also,  a Nigerian Air Force, NAF Alpha Jet aircraft has neutralised scores of Boko Haram terrorists while providing close air support to ground troops.

The successful air strike on Monday by the NAF Alpha Jet aircraft followed calls from the General Officer Commanding, GOC, 8 Division of the Nigerian Army that troops conducting clearance operations at Koleram had come in contact with BHTs.

The GOC requested for support from the NAF, sequel to which the Alpha Jet aircraft was immediately scrambled to provide CAS.

On arrival over the location, there were exchanges of fire between BHTs and military ground forces, during which scores of the terrorists were killed.

It’s impossible for security agencies to end killings—Sen Shehu

Senator Shehu, who  while contributing to a motion on the proliferation of firearms in Nigeria, sponsored by Suleiman Hunkuyi (APC, Kaduna North), said “It is not possible for our security agencies to bring an end to the violence, killings, bloodshed, and proliferation of arms in this country as long as the political class includes violence as part of political strategy to retain political power or to assume political power.

“We are becoming an AK-47 nation. People are killed every day and our country is becoming a failed state. It is a concern to every Nigerian today that the state is failing. People in rural areas and isolated places are being killed and all we can do is condole, condemn, deliberate, discuss and offer one-minute-silence and the silence continues,” he said.

In his remarks, Senate President Bukola Saraki who noted that the issue of security of the  country had become number one concern for all Nigerians, however,  decried the rate of killings and the inadequate and poor response by the security agencies to address the menace calling for concerted effort to check the trend.

We must endproliferation offirearms, saysSaraki

Saraki said, “Once again, I thank Senator Hunkuyi for his contribution. As I said, we must find some specific solutions. Time is not on our side and we also observe that we have elections coming up and the level of desperation from some people will definitely increase. People are now going about with weapons as  if they are accessories.

“We have to find a way of addressing this issue of proliferation of firearms. How do we prevent it, how do we stop it, and how do we round up some of these illegal firearms that exist?”

Also, yesterday, the Senate mandated the Senator Mohammed Lafiagi (APC, Kwara North) led Senate Committee on Intelligence and National Security to as a matter of urgency, conduct a thorough investigation with a view to unravelling the remote and immediate causes of the proliferation of firearms in the country as well as proffer a lasting solution to the problem.

Resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion by Senator Hunkuyi  entitled, “Proliferation of Dangerous Firearms in Nigeria.”

However, the demand for the Federal Government to hold a special security summit with a view to unravelling the debacle and better handling of careless proliferation of weapons was dropped.

Presenting the motion earlier, Senator Hunkuyi said the “Senate notes that tribal, communal, religious, and other sectarian clashes, including the farmers/herdsmen crises are now more devastating due to wrongful and easy acquisition of firearms in violation of due process as laid down by the enabling laws and regulations and this ugly trend has contributed to the colossal loss of lives and wanton destruction of property of Nigerian citizens.

“We are aware that this is attributable to the inability to control the proliferation of firearms within country, as well as negligence from the departments of government entrusted with the responsibility to control how individuals, corporate entities can acquire and maintain firearms in Nigeria, but particularly the free access by hoodlums to acquire firearms easily.

‘FG hasn’t shown meaningful efforts to curtail insecurity’

“We are also worried that despite the killings in Benue, Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara and other parts of Nigeria, (which occurred within a spate of a short period of February to April 2018), and of course, the Boko Haram mayhem in the North-East, coupled with the daily nationally spread cases of sophisticated killings, deadly clashes, armed robberies, kidnappings, cattle rustling and other heinous crimes,  where hitherto unavailable firearms are used, meaningful effort is not seen to be done on the part of the government to curtail the proliferation of firearms in Nigeria.

“The situation has worsened to the extent that some opinion leaders are calling on Nigerians to stand up and protect themselves. These prodding at self-defence, if not checked through action by the government, would certainly get to the extent that firearm would be secured by every household either in the name of protection or for some other purposes. From the observation of the United States experience, such a scenario will not augur well for this country.”

On his part, the Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North) said “The country is bedeviled by so much insecurity.”

 

 


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