- Reps to Service Chiefs: Resign or be sacked
By Christiana Ekpa, Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
The House of Representatives after 3 hours deliberation on Wednesday passed a motion urging all the Service Chiefs to resign immediately over the increasing rate of insecurity in the country.
The House equally lamented that the Service Chiefs are unable to address the security challenges confronting the country since 2015 even as thy stressed that the security chiefs have adopted same strategies that did not yielded any positive result.
The resolution of the House followed a motion of urgent public importance moved by the Chief Whip of the House, Hon, Mohammed Tahir Mongunu and 14 others, asking President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Service Chief if they failed to resign their position.
Mongunu in a motion titled “Need to Curb the Incessant Attacks of the Boko Haram Insurgents in the North-East Zone” expressed worried about the recent upsurge in attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East zone,
He recalled that activities of the insurgents were reduced to the barest minimum resulting in improved security in Borno and Yobe States.
According to him, successes recorded by the security agents led to increased economic activities within the North-East zone, adding that regrettably, the insurgents who were relegated to the background are now unleashing terror in Borno and Yobe States;
“Recently, the insurgents have forced the Nigerian Military to close traffic on the Damaturu-Maiduguri Road for some days. The Damaturu-Maiduguri Road is the only access from Maiduguri to other parts of Nigeria” he said
On his part, Abubakakar Fulata (APC, Jigawa) called for the withdrawal of security personnel serving in the north east and their replacement with new personnel, adding that the long overstay of the security personnel has largely contributed to their inefficiency as they were tired of remaining there.
Also, Hon. Abdurazaq Namdas added that upsurge in attacks by Boko Haram in the north east and increasing insecurity in across the country was worrisome, but opposed the idea of removing all the personnel currently serving in the area, saying their experience was still needed to assist those that will be sent to work there.
He told the House that the Nigerian constitution allows the President to invite the military to intervene in internal security of the nation, but stressed the need to retrain and equip the police to properly handle internal security in the country.
Hon, Beni Lar argued that the North Eastern has gradually been brought to a standstill with the resurgence in activities of Boko Haram, stressing that the lawmakers cannot sit back and watch as if nothing was happening.
She questioned the intelligence gathering mechanism of the military which she said appear to be lacking, adding that Boko Haram appear to be ahead of the Nigerian military in terms of intelligence gathering.
Hon. Tobi Okechukwu said the nation need to interrogate how it conduct the business of security in the country, questioning why the government should be investing heavily on trader moni when there is no money to adequately fund the security agencies.
Okechukwu said the President should deal with the Service Chiefs in accordance with the provisions of the law, saying while he is not asking for the sacking of the Service Chiefs, the laws of the land as it applies to service chiefs should not be observe the constitution in breach.
Hon. Ndudi Elumelu on the other hand wants more investment in equipment for the security agencies, stressing that there was no way you can ask policeman to rescue you when he is poorly equipped.
Elumelu who is the Minority Leader of the House said the Service Chiefs were not showing good example and have outlived their usefulness, adding that “the best thing for them to do is to take a bow and go. If you don’t know when to leave, then you will be eased out.”
He said Nigerians must be told that some people are feeding fat on the system, adding that “people are stealing money and not doing what they are supposed to do”.
Hon. Sada Sori argued that the President was not being told the truth about developments in the north east.
In amending the original motion, Francis Waive asked the House to demand the immediate resignation of the Service Chiefs, while some other members wants the President to immediately sack them.
But the Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Hon. Jimi Benson said the laws allowed the President to keep the Service Chief as long as he wish, but expressed concern over recent developments in the country.
He said “the National Security Adviser is from the North East and cannot get to his village. The Chief of Army Staff is also from the North East and cannot get to his village. The Chief of Air staff too. That speaks volume of their ability.
“But the solution lies in the hand of the President. I don’t know why he has kept them since 2015 when they were first appointed. He should decide whether to continue to keep them or not. I believe the resolution here will prick his conscience”.
The House also resolved that the leadership of the House and indeed the National Assembly should hold a tripartite meeting with the President and the Service Chiefs with a view to finding lasting solution to the security challenges.
Similarly, calls for the sack of Service Chiefs dominated the debate over insecurity in Nigeria yesterday in the senate, where many of the senators called on President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve them of their responsibilities and inject new breed of officers to face the security crisis in the country.
This was preponderant during the yesterday extended debate on the worsening insecurity across the country by the federal lawmakers, during which they called for a total overhaul of the nation’s security architecture.
In their resolution after the debate, which lasted for more than four hours, the lawmakers urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on the country’s national security situation.
The Senate also resolved to summon the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammad Adamu, to appear before it next Wednesday to brief the lawmakers on the concept of community policing and other security issues and to know how the parliament can complement it.
The Senate also resolved to set up a 17-man Ad-hoc Committee chaired by the Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya, to engage the security agencies and report back to the Senate in two weeks’ time.
Other members of the committee include, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Sabi Abdullahi, Ali Ndume, Aliyu Wamakko, Dauda Haliru, Kashim Shettima and Bala Na’Allah, George Sekibo, Ibrahim Gobir, Kabiru Gaya, Gershom Bassey, Stella Oduah and Ibikunle Amosun, Abba Moro, Yahaya Abdullahi Yayaha and Suleiman Abdu Kwari.
Earlier during the debate where they called for the sack of the service chiefs, senator Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers) said at the time the service chiefs were appointed, things were not this bad.
“They have done their bits and their tenure has expired. They are illegally occupying the seat. It will be good for the government to allow the security chiefs to go and bring in new people to add vigour to the fight against security,” she said.
She also urged the lawmakers and other elites to stop using police as private security.
“We are complaining about the police not being enough. I think all of us and Nigerians should actually stop using police as private security. Let the police people go out and do their jobs.”
In his remarks, Adeola Olamilekan (APC, Lagos) urged the Senate to revisit and review the recommendations made from the Security Summit in 2018 and implement them.
The lawmaker called for an amendment to the constitution to allow for state police. This is even as he commended South-West governors on the Amotekun initiative – which he said will create jobs.
In his contribution, Elisha Abbo (PDP, Adamawa) said Nigeria has “never had it this bad” in the history of insecurity.
Like his colleagues, he said the security chiefs have done their best “but have run out of ideas.”
“There’s grumbling within the military. Yesterday’s survivors are today’s victims and today’s victims are tomorrow’s survivors.
“Mr President should change the security apparatus. And if we need foreign help, we should not be ashamed of asking for help,” he said.