By Henry Umoru
THE Senate has again engaged service chiefs to find lasting solution to the problem of insecurity in the country.
It also called on all the relevant security agencies and the judiciary to carry out expeditious prosecution of apprehended terrorists and oil thieves in the country.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja during a follow up interactive session with service chiefs, the Inspector General of Police and heads of other security agencies, president of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said allowing apprehended terrorists or oil thieves to escape justice would not augur well for the country.
Recall that a week after the move against President Muhammadu Buhari by the Senate over his failure to address the continued insecurity challenges in the country, with kidnapping, massive killing and wanton destruction of property across the country, the Senate leadership had on August 3, 2022, engaged the service chiefs in a marathon meeting to, among others, come up with ways of nipping in the bud the security problem.
Yesterday’s meeting, a follow- up to the previous one, was at the instance of the Senate leadership, in view of the more worrisome dimension security challenges of the country had taken.
The meeting is also coming a week to the resumption of the Senate from its annual break where the issue of impeachment would rear its head.
The meeting was presided over by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, with the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo- Agege, APC, Delta Central; the Senate Leader, Senator Ibrahim Gobir; the Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and the Deputy Senate Leader Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice in attendance.
Others were the Deputy Whip of the Senate , Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi; the Minority Whip, Senator Chukwuka Utazi; Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Senator Thompson Sekibo; Chairman, Senate Committee on Air Force, Senator Bala Ibn Na’ Allah etc, among others.
Also in attendance were the Chief of Defence Staff, the three Service Chiefs, Inspector General of Police, Directors-General of National Intelligence Agency(NIA), State Security Service(SSS) and Commandant General of the National Security and Civic Defence Corps while the Acting Comptroller General of the Immigration Service was represented.“Lawan who commended the security chiefs for the remarkable difference made within the last four months in the war against insurgency and banditry, said that security, as appropriated for in the 2021 and 2022 national budgets, would take the lion share of the 2023 budgets in terms of appropriation.
In his opening remarks before the meeting went into closed door session, Lawan said: “You will recall that about four weeks ago, we had a meeting here and that meeting was to look into the security situation in the country then.
“Before we closed for our annual summer recess, senators and, indeed, members of the National Assembly expressed so much concerns with respect to the security situation prevailing and we felt we must engage our security agencies so that together, we will continue to fight these challenges in our country.
“I am happy and I’m sure I’m speaking the mind of my colleagues, that after that meeting, till today, we have seen remarkable difference in the fight against insecurity in our country by our Armed Forces and other security agencies and we are very proud of that.
“We pray that this continues because we have seen the initiative and it is for us to finish the job. When Mr President spoke of ensuring that we return to normalcy by December 2022, I’m sure he had in mind what you have been doing recently.
“I believe that you, our Armed Forces and other security agencies have everything in terms of the morals and determination, even though we still have to give some other support. This meeting therefore is to review what has happened so far.
“While we fight the insecurity in the country, sometimes we capture bandits alive. Those who have made every effort to steal our oil at an industrial scale, I’m sure some of them may not be that lucky to escape.
“We want to see trials of people who are caught because when that happens, citizens will know that nobody, no matter how high that person is, can go scot free if he or she decides to get involved in these kind of criminal activities.