March 20, 2024

Delta killings: Senate Joint C’ttee holds closed meeting with Service Chiefs

Breaking: Service Chiefs in closed-door meeting senators over Delta killings

…security takes precedence over other sectors, says Lawan

By Henry Umoru

Former President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan Senator Lawan has called on the the federal government to prioritise the issue of security, saying that same takes precedence over investment in any other sector.

Speaking before the Senate Joint Committee on Defence, Army, Navy and Airforce went into a closed door session with the nation’s Service Chiefs over last thursday’s killing of 16 officers and men of the 181 Amphibious Battalion at Okuama in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta, Lawan who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence, described the killing of the 16 soldiers as “barbaric.”

He appealed to Nigerians to support the Armed Forces by volunteering information that would lead to the capture and prosecution of those behind various forms of insecurity across the country.

The meeting which started at exactly 3:42pm had in attendance, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Gwabin Musa; Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Taoreed Lagbaja; Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar and Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla.

Recall that the Senate, during plenary on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, mandated the joint committee to investigate the incident.

The upper chamber also urged the federal government to ensure that those responsible for the heinous crime are identified, apprehended and brought to justice.

The Joint Committee is chaired by Senator Ahmad Lawan, who is also Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence.

Moments before the commencement of the meeting with the Service Chiefs, members of the Joint Committee observed a minute silence in honour of the 16 Military personnel killed in Okuama community last Thursday.

Speaking on the incident, Senator Lawan in a speech delivered at the investigative hearing by the Joint Committee recalled that, “The troops of 181 Amphibious battalion, on Thursday, 14 March, 2024, went on a peace mission to Okuoma Community in Delta State. An incident occurred resulting in the loss of a Commanding officer, two Majors, a Captain and 12 Soldiers during the peace mission.

“The troops on the peace mission to Okuoma community in Bomadi local government area of Delta State were surrounded by some community youths, which resulted in the death of officers and men.

“Acknowledging the gravity of the attack on the military personnel, the Senate at its plenary on Tuesday, 19th March, 2024, mandated the Joint Committee on Defence, Army, Navy and Airforce to investigate the incident.

“The Senate also urged urged the federal government to ensure that those responsible for the heinous crime are identified, apprehended and brought to justice.

“We, in the Senate, and, indeed, the National Assembly, will always support our military in whatever way we can. [And] the National Assembly has that history. We try to at all times make meaningful appropriation for resources to be available. We know it has never been enough and, in fact, I will take this opportunity to commend our Armed Forces for doing so much with the little we can afford.

“The insecurity in our country takes precedence over any other consideration and, therefore, it is the position of the Senate that no investment in any sector can be more important than ensuring that we are secured as a country.

“We, therefore, are very sad as a parliament over this tragic incident. It is our hope in the Senate that those who perpetrated this barbaric and horrific act are captured and the law takes full course on them.

“I want to appeal to Nigerians that this is our Armed Forces and they cannot secure us without us as citizens playing our part. Therefore, every citizen is supposed to support our Armed Forces. And those in the area where this incident happened must volunteer information because this is the only way we can stop something like this from happening another time.”