say they are benefitting from insecurity, don’t want it end
…mull legalization of arms for personal protection
…call for immediate sack of NSA
…consider shutting down N/Assembly until Buhari acts
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
In a unanimous decision, Thursday, the House of Representatives at the plenary declared that the security agencies have failed Nigerians.
The House said it was outraged by the endless killings and kidnapping incidences that had characterised the country, declaring that no where was safe for anybody.
It therefore mulled the shutting of the national assembly to wake up President Muhammadu Buhari.
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The resolution of the House came on the heels of a motion under a matter of urgent public importance presented by Hon. Balarabe Shehu represents Giwa/Birinin Gwari federal constituency of Kaduna State (APC).
It will be recalled that the deputy speaker, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase had on Wednesday lambasted the Service chiefs and other heads of agencies for ignoring an invitation sent to them to meet with the leadership of the House on the recent Kaduna airport and train attacks.
In the motion, Shehu gave a chilling gory and graphic accounts of insurgency attacks in various communities within his constituency, saying that over 150 people had been murdered in cold blood by bandits who operated freely without any resistance.
He said: “The entire communities in Giwa Local government area and the entire communities of Birnin Gwari local government area of Kaduna State have been ravaged with the series of recent attacks by armed bandits who indulge in killings, kidnapping, raping, robbery and destruction of properties
“Between 24th -28 March 2022, these armed bandits unleashed on those communities where they invaded over 117 people have been killed and some corpses are still yet to be recovered, more than 136 people were abducted and over 10, 463 people have been displaced from their homes. Over 250 houses were burnt, countless cows, goats, and other livestock were stolen. Several properties worth millions of naira were destroyed including vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, grinding machines, and many other households belongings”.
The motion sent shivers down the spines of the lawmakers who took turns to decry the unfortunate situation in the country.
In his remarks, the leader of the House, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa from Kano State APC noted the institutional failures across the security architecture, saying that Nigerians should be allowed to bear guns to protect themselves.
He said: “Mr. Speaker, I arise to speak in the capacity of the Majority Leader who of course is the Ambassador of government on this floor. You can see how this Chamber is thrown into disquiet, how this motion is thrown into an emotionally disturbed manner; so emotional by the statements of the mover of the motion. When you have a government in place, the major responsibility of that government, especially a democratic one that was elected by the people is to ensure the safety of lives and property of innocent citizens.
“Mr. Speaker, when things like this continue on daily basis, those of us who are representatives of the government will become speechless. We become speechless here to defend actions by the government. This is an elected government under a popular democracy but we continue hearing day in, day out, killings, massacres, armed robbery all over; left, right, and centre.
“This is a report from just one local government out of the 774, Giwa local government, and the case of Giwa is not just a new case, he is only giving us the most recent happening. Giwa has been engulfed by bandits, killings in the last two, three years and Giwa has fallen coincidentally in a state; Kaduna where you have the representation of the Nigerian military and other security agencies. The highest place you can count is in the Northern part of the country why should this thing continue to happen? I think government and officials of government, not even the security agencies, security agencies are under democratic authorities. The government in this case has to rise to its responsibility, call a spade, a spade. If it is about funding, each of us here knows we have never had any cause to contemplate funding our security agencies.
“I believe our relevant Committees are following up in terms of implementation of such fundings through our budget, their oversight processes. Why should things continue this way? We are here for the Nigerian people and we must speak for Nigerian people. We can not sit down here and fold our arms people who elected us are being killed by the day.
“I think if there is any other thing, I should add to this motion, Mr. Speaker with due respect to our institutions, on account of this institutional failure, regimental failure on the part of our security agencies because you have just no cause to raise excuse, funding is provided, here we are now as an institution, we have now sent invitation, come and meet with the people of Nigeria, come and interface with us, lets see how we can put heads together and address some of these perennial problems. At the end of the day, right from head to top; the IG, everyone of them sent a representative. This is a matter that is beyond a mere representative. Every commanding officer of security agency owes Nigeria a duty to come and honour the call of the parliament.
“I’ m not trying to preempt Mr Speaker, the actions and the good intentions of the Committee set by this honourable House but security agencies they have to stand up.
“With all sense of responsibility, I think Nigerians should this moment should be allowed to also take arms. Nigerians must be allowed to take up arms in defence of their innocent souls, defend their hard earned properties because it is like a monumental failure, if the agencies of security have failed, then Nigerians should not be seen as failure.
“Let Nigerian organise themselves in the way of civil defence. Let organise defence for their innocent souls because if the responsibility of the government can not be carried out democratically, then, everyone has the cause to defend himself. Nigerians should no longer be running away from attacks, unnecessary bandits.”
Also contributing to the motion, Hon. Ahmadu Usman Jaha representing Chibok federal constituency of Borno state (APC) accused the security agencies of deliberately prolonging the war.
Accordingly to him, they were profiting from the war.
He said that the national assembly had given them all the necessary support in term of budgetary appropriations to win the battle all to no avail.
“In 2021, we budgeted N460 billion for the Nigerian Army alone. Only N29 billion was for capital expenditure, the remaining was for recurrent expenditure. In 2022, we budgeted N571 billion for the Nigerian army alone, only 37 billion is capital expenditure, the remaining were recurrent expenditure.
“Mr speaker the truth of the matter is security in Nigeria has become a cash cow business. I am not willing to go without taking my own and he is not willing to go with taking his own and the other person is not willing to leave until when he gets his own.
“It just like a medical doctor putting professionalism aside. You presented a patient, as a patient relative, you say okay, every month I’ll give you N100 million until when the patient recovers or otherwise. The doctor will make sure that patient does not die and will continue to maintain he does not recover because he will keep collecting the money. It is a simple analysis every person can understand.
“Mr speaker, it is a cash-cow business. They don’t want it to finish. Because they will realize that everybody’s attention was diverted towards north-east. Okay let them release north-east to some extent and go to north-west after north-west they move to south-west. Before you realize what is happening, the whole country is gutted with security challenges.
“Another thing, somebody brought the issue of national security adviser. We are making one mistake in making appointment particularly in security architect. There is no way you can appoint a major general or brigadier general to be a national security adviser and he issues directive to a lieutenant.
“I think if you are going to appoint a national security adviser or a defense minister, try and appoint a full fledged Nigerian army general who was one time chief of defense staff.
“Lastly, about the resolution on the floor of this House, I am happy today that everybody is concerned now. When I was speaking on behalf of my constituency, in this chamber, a honorable member rose up and said if my people are displaced how did I manage to win election. He didn’t know that my election was conducted in IDP camps.
“Two, a member in this floor wrote a letter of commendation to one of the service chief that he is going good. I got the copy of the letter.
“I know the honorable member. But I know the time I will scandalize on till the whole world will look down on him. I will not mention his name, I will deal with him personally”, he said.
Similarly, Hon. Nasiru Ali Ahmed representing Nasarawa constituency, Kano State (APC) expressed surprised that “a ragtag army of bandits” could hold the well trained Nigerians armed forces to a battle this long years.
He called for the sack or resignation of the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major-General Babagana Mongunu.
“Mr Speaker, I start with sympathizing with all those who lost their lives, kidnapped or injured, in this horrible and tragic incidence that happened in Kaduna.
“Mr Speaker, I said it before in this chamber, from 2015 when this government came in to power, how many service chiefs have we had? How many IGPs have we had? Some have come and gone but only one person has not been changed up till today, and that is the National Security Adviser, NSA. What is the job of the National Security Adviser? Do we have a National Security Adviser, All the agencies that have been mentioned, from the Army, Nevy, Air force, police, DSS, all of these agencies are accountable to National Security adviser. Mr Speaker, from the interviews that I had from the people that survived the incidence, few days ago, they said, most of these criminals were 16,17,18 year old boys with guns. Are we safe? We are saying that, the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Nervy, Air Force and Police, with all the trainings that they have had, with the international trainings they have had, that a rag tag army of 15,16,17,18 years old boys are more powerful than them? Mr speaker, this madness has to to stop, it simply has to stop. You travel by road you are kidnapped. You go by train, you are kidnapped. Last week, the airport was attacked by bandits. You sit at home, you are kidnapped. You send your children to school, they are kidnapped. Mr Speaker a few weeks ago somebody was kidnapped in the hospital. So, where are you going to stay? Where will you be? You can be kidnapped right in this chamber. Mr speaker, what do we tell our people? The people that elected us? Do we just fold our arms? Mr speaker, I want to use this opportunity again, I am calling for the resignation of the National security advisor, he must be removed.”
On his part, Hon. Haruna Meshelia from Borno State (APC) revealed that the security challenges was not restricted to a certain region but had gone nationwide.
“Mr speaker, you know, when something has happened for a long time, people tend to forget. I concurred with all the previous speakers particularly our leader who spoke very well but I want to remind the House that in Borno state, it’s still simmering, infact, there is a local government call Guzamalah, up till now there is no a single soul living there in Borno state, and in my constituency which is the southern part recently, 3 communities were attacked, one in Igbohi ward called Kilangala where they attacked and destroyed properties. Another one in Gudi where my youth leader of APC was killed, and then in Geraha in Gida ward where they displaced people and destroyed their properties. These are problems all over Nigeria but let us not forget, the initial epicenter of the confusion of insurgency which is the North East. So, I was thinking I was going to amend, but is like we should make it all over the country because there is no where that is safe and something needs to be done drastically”, he said.
Also contributing, Hon. Aminu Suleiman from Kano State, APC, said that drastic steps needed to be taken to stop the killings.
He considered shutting down the national parliament to make Buhari act quickly.
“The situation, truly speaking, as far as security is concerned, is going beyond control of our security agencies. The entire country is now being ravaged, but our own case in the northwest is growing into an alarming rate.
“The Commander in Chief of the armed forces must take responsibility and we have powers to ensure that Mr President takes responsibility, otherwise it will be difficult for use to go back and speak to our people. What is the effect of resolutions and debate of the House? We must do something serious, otherwise when revolution starts, people innocent may be the victims.
“I am beginning to interrogate the power of our resolutions here. We have passed several resolutions, we have lamented. Is there any way now that we can ensure enforcement of our resolutions? Can’t we as a House take more drastic action?
“If our resolutions cannot work, is it not possible to close this chamber and join ASUU, and say ‘we are not resuming here until the Commander-in-Chief (of the Armed Forces) performs his duty? I am not directly accusing him but the buck stops at the table of the Commander-in-Chief. If there is success, he will be the first to take the glory. Now that there is complete failure, the Commander-in-Chief must take responsibility.
“And we have powers to drive this process to ensure that Mr President takes responsibility, otherwise it will be difficult for us to go back and speak to our people that we have debated on the floor of the House and we have passed resolutions. These are academics; our people are not used to these. ‘You have passed resolutions; you have debated, what is the effect? Have these issues been arrested? Have they been overcome?
“I urge us, we must do something practical, dramatic and serious to show to the government and to the people that we are doing our best, otherwise when resolution starts some of the innocents may be the victims”, he said.
Ruling on the motion, the Deputy Speaker who presided called for a special prayer for the country and adjourned the House in the honor of the victims of various attacks.
“I want to beg that is a very serious issue and we appreciate every emotion expressed today. It is a collective expression of all the members. It is my utmost opinion that a lot need to be done to ensure we eradicate these people. I can give a little report about what is happening in my constituency. I can tell you there is no single day that we don’t lose life, and one will begin to wonder, even when there is intelligent report, what happens. Collaboration is very low.
“In the honor of those lives lost in various incidences, we need to offer special prayer today and then we adjourn the house to Tuesday”, he said.
Wase had earlier called on the relevant security committees of the House especially the National Security and Intelligence to submit the report of all investigations including the missing arms probe.
Briefing Journalists after the plenary, the spokesman of the House, Benjamin Kalu said that the House will activate its constitutional mandate to keep the security agencies and the executive on their toes to protect Nigerians.
“What is playing today is a call for us to do more. It is to make sure we activate the mandate of the Constitution in oversighting them. The more we begin to call them out, the more thorough we are based on what we have discovered, the more they will sit up. I am assuring Nigerians that we are going to activate that”, he said.