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Insecurity: Nigeria at war, Reps tell Buhari

Say security chiefs, IGP have failed Nigerians
•Pass 80 resolutions on security issues in 3 years
•Set up c’ttee to take data of security personnel in the country
•Use helicopter to fish out bandits, Senate tells FG
•Calls for synergy among DSS, Police, Armed Forces
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BUJA—Moved by what they generally lamented as the breakdown of security in the country, members of the House of Representatives, yesterday, called on Speaker Yakubu Dogara to impress on President Muhammadu Buhari to know that Nigeria is in a state of war where injunctions of patience do not hold water.

From left: Minister of State for Aviation, Alhaji Hadi Sirika; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Gov Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, President Muhammadu Buhari and FCT Minister, Malam Mohammad Bello, during the inauguration of the First Phase of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit Project in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: NAN.

This came as the Senate, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to mandate the Air Force and Police Helicopter Division to carry out aerial surveillance of Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi states to identify locations and hideouts of bandits.

Speaking on a motion on the state of insecurity in the land, following the massacre of more than 30 persons in Sokoto last Monday, members across party and ethnic lines lamented what they described as the laid-back posture of the administration and its security services in the wake of the killings.

The motion, sponsored by Aminu Shagari, was appraised as the 80th of such taken in the House since the advent of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Moving the motion yesterday, Shagari stated that on July 9, 2018, armed bandits invaded some villages in Rabah Local Government Area, maimed and killed about 32 persons and also destroyed houses of the villagers.

“The armed bandits (had) issued threat letters to the villagers, warning them to pay some millions or risk being attacked, prior to the invasion by about 100 of the armed bandits on motorcycles, using guns.

“They also used improvised explosive devices suspected to be petrol bombs in carrying out their dastardly act,” he said.

Insisting that the Federal Government has failed the people, Shagari said:  “Mr. Speaker, honourable colleagues, our government is failing. It has failed in its primary responsibility of safeguarding the lives and property of the citizens. Everyday we come here, it is one thing or the other. Mr. Speaker, only a fool does the same thing over and over again and expects to get a different outcome from the previous act.”

Several lawmakers took turns to reprimand the administration’s response in deprecating terms.

We’re at war — Ukeje

Contributing to the motion, Nkiru Ukeje, (Bende, Abia State), told the House that the country is at war.

“The killings are escalating. The civil war lasted for three years, but Boko Haram has lasted for nine years. Mr. Speaker, our country is at war. It is being invaded by people we do not know.

“It means as parliament; we should start to realise it is business unusual. We can’t continue to sit down here and pretend. One part of our country is getting ungovernable. Let’s tell ourselves the truth that we are at war.

“Mr. Speaker, go and tell the President that we are at war and please don’t come back and tell us that we must be patient. Please tell him we must do what countries do when they are at war,” she submitted.

Also speaking, the Minority Whip, Yakubu Barde, submitted that if the authorities could deploy 30,000 men to Ekiti State for the conduct of governorship election, it could also do same in Sokoto and other states of the country if it took security as important as an election.

“I learned that the armed bandits gave a notice that they were coming and I ask, are there no policemen in that area?  If we can send 30,000 policemen, why can’t the same police mobilise the same number to Sokoto State? We have done our bit here. We must tell the truth. We have spoken out.”

Failure of security apparatus

For Hope Olayunu from Kwara State, the entire security apparatus has failed the country.

“Where are we heading to? Are we going to continue this way? The entire security apparatus has failed. There should be a change of tactics by security apparatus. Enough is enough,” he said.

Toby Okechukwu from Enugu State in his contribution, made allusion to a statement credited to President  Buhari that the security chiefs were still racking their brains to proffer solutions to the crisis.

According to him, that means that the security chiefs are yet to pinpoint the problem.

“Having put the community on notice, they also notified the police. I think we need to make a choice on how we will need to operate. We need the support of the executive as regards to what  we need to do with our security apparatus. The President has said he will not rest until we are secure but my worry is that the security chiefs are still racking their brains to know what is happening.”

Abdulsamad Dasuki from Sokoto State, while regretting that the Federal Government has not been able to find solutions to the security challenges in the country, despite the passage of 79 resolutions on the issue in the last three years, said:  “The earlier we unite as one house the better for us. We have offered solutions times without number, but nothing has happened.”

Mohammed Monguno from Borno State said it is the primary duty of government to secure  peoples’ lives.

“The primary responsible of government is to guarantee the peace and order of its citizens,” he said.

Ahmed Baba Kaita from Katsina State, however, said it was not ideal to blame the Executive only for the failure of leadership but the National Assembly.

Umar Bagu from Niger State warned that the issue shouldn’t be politicised, saying “we should not politicize security. It happened in Plateau, we said it is a religious battle, now, what do we call this?” he queried.

Taki Dickson, Makurdi Federal Constituency, Benue State, took the President to task to name the politicians he claimed were behind the killings, saying if the Presidency could name those they claimed to be corrupt, they should not shy away from naming those killing the country’s citizens.

“The president has accused politicians but has not been able to name them. It is about time this House invites Mr. President. We are going into election. How do we conduct election in an atmosphere of killings”?

Noting that the President came to power on an agenda of security, he lamented that the security of the country had worsened since his advent.

State Police

In her contribution, Betty Apiafi from Rivers State, renewed the call for State Police.

“The first thing he (President) did was to tell the service chiefs to relocate to the North-East and if they relocated and we are still having these issues, it means that they have failed our nation. We need to do an amendment on the constitution to bring state police,” she said.

Apaifi’s position was supported by Ayo Omidiran from Osun who, like her female colleague, called for state police to check the spate of insecurity in the country.

Chika Adamu from Niger State told the House that the Department of State Services, DSS, had a 70% capacity to pinpoint the likelihood of an attack in a place but regretted that for whatever reasons, the security apparatus of government is unable to address the issue.

“If DSS can determine that something is going to happen, then the federal government has to buckle up.”

Adopting the motion, the House tasked its Committee on Security and Intelligence to investigate the cause of the attacks.

It also mandated its relevant committees to audit the exact number of security personnel in Nigeria.

It equally urged the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, to  provide relief materials to the affected victims of the attacks, besides commending the Sokoto State Police Command for its quick intervention to assist the victims.

The Security and Intelligence Committee was given four weeks within which to conclude its assignment and submit to the House for further legislative inputs.

Fish out the bandits — Senate

Meanwhile, the Senate, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to mandate the Air Force and the Police helicopter division to carry aerial surveillance of Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi states to identify locations and hideouts of the bandits.

According to the Senate, this move will help deal with the bandits decisively.

The Upper Chamber also called for synergy among the Department of State Services, DSS, the Police and the armed forces in order to share intelligence and strategies to embark upon to get rid of the criminals.

The Senate, while condemning the gruesome killing of 40 people in Sokoto State by armed bandits  on Monday morning at Dogpn-Yeri in Gandi District in Raba Local Government Area of the state, also advised the Inspector General of Police, lGP, Ibrahim Idris, through the Commissioners of Police in the three states, to set up a special squad to mop up the whole zone and get rid of the armed bandits.

The Senate resolutions

Resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion by Senator Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi Central), entitled “Gruesome killing of 40 people in Sokoto State by armed bandits.”

It was co-sponsored by Senator Aliyu Wamakko (APC, Sokoto North).

The Senate observed one minute silence in honour of the departed souls, just as it asked the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, to send emergency relief to the affected communities.

The Upper chamber also resolved to send a delegation to condole with the government and people of Sokoto State over the unfortunate incident.

Presenting the motion, Senator Aliero noted with sadness the gruesome and unprecedented killing of innocent and defenceless 40 people in Sokoto by armed bandits last Monday morning.

He said:  “These armed bandits are operating in Zamfara forest where they carry out nefarious and barbaric killing of innocent people over a period of two years.

“They moved with motorcycles that carry up to three people.  In all, there were about 30 of these motorcycles, meaning that the armed bandits were up to 90.

“The armed bandits sent two people to the village to buy food for them and the villagers observed that the emissaries were armed and they were interrogated by the villagers and found to be armed bandits similar to the ones operating in Zamfara. The villagers apprehended and executed the two emissaries.”

Senator Aliero further said the armed bandits sent advance notice to the villagers that they were coming to retaliate the killing of their people, adding that chairman of the local government and the village head alerted the law enforcement agencies on the notice of the bandits.

“Security was provided for a period of five days after which they were withdrawn.  Immediately the security agencies were withdrawn, the armed bandits moved in and started killing indiscriminately, using AK-47 rifles.

“The situation now is that most of the villagers have left their homes out of fear and so many are still stranded in the bush, not to mention the injured ones still in the hospital and others rendered homeless,” he lamented.

In his contribution, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, APC Sokoto Central, warned that if urgent steps were not taken by the government, the killings might spread to other districts, and, therefore, called for the establishment of Army depot in the area to forestall further reprisal attacks.

Also, Senator Abdullahi Danbaba (APC, Sokoto South) lamented that attacks and counter attacks had been going on in the state for about seven years and urged the federal and state governments to find a lasting solution to the problem.


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