As Service Chiefs hint on way out of insecurity
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Baba Adamu
The Senate has given an insight into why the military has not been able to crush the insurgency, banditry and kidnapping which are the key security challenges facing the country over the past decades.
This is just as the Service Chiefs yesterday gave assurance to nigerians that it will soon pull the string that will lift the country out of her present security crisis bedeviling all parts of the nation.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who gave this hint yesterday when the lawmakers of the red Chamber hosted the service chiefs in about four hours closed doors session, where they brainstormed on the way out for the country.
In his opening remarks, the Senate President said the armed forces have not performed well because they lack adequate resources to confront the terrorists, bandits and kidnappers.
He therefore urged them to avail the parliament of information they consider prerequisite to enable them perform better, saying they haven’t achieved the optimum as expected by Nigerians.
He said “Once again, I welcome you and trust us with what you think will help us as a parliament to help the cause of Armed forces and other security agencies to perform better because you haven’t achieved the optimum and I can attribute that to inadequate resources.”
“… let me quickly assure all of you that indeed this Senate or the entire National Assembly is and will remain a partner in progress with you.
“On behalf of my colleagues, I want to commend our armed forces and other security agencies for fighting the myriad of security challenges across the country.
“In the process, some have given up their lives. We appreciate what you are doing because we know that you are doing your best with what you have at hand.
“I want to assure you and everyone that the challenges we face are taken seriously and extremely by the Parliament. Hardly a day passes without this Senate discussing one security incident or the other. And it has been so for many years, not only this session.
“We pray that at the end of this interaction, we will see better ways and means of providing the necessary provision of resources to enable our armed forces continue with national case to provide national security.
“We need to protect the lives and property of citizens to stabilise our environment for economy to receive better investments for this country; to be a hub for investments that will provide employment opportunities to our teeming youths.”
Meanwhile, after the closed door meeting which ended in the evening, the Senate President, while reporting the deliberations behind the closed doors, said the lawmakers listened to the explanation by the service chiefs and asked them questions on the insecurity issues across the country and how to resolve it.
Briefing journàlists after the closed door session, the Senate spokesman, Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru, said “Today the Senate played host to the key leadership of the Nigerian security apparatus. The Chief of Defence Staff who led the Service Chiefs, that is, the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff and the Director of Defence Intelligence, the DG of National Intelligence Agency, the Director General of SSS and, of course, the Inspector General of Police.
“At an executive session they briefed the Senate comprehensively on the state of security in the country, analysis of the various operations and theatre of activities that they are engaged in, the topography across the six geopolitical zones, the complexities and the challenges that are being faced and ways by which they believe the parliament can work together with the executive and the heads of security agencies to ensure we rein in the atmosphere of insecurity and ensure a long lasting peace and security for our country.
“The Senate leadership expressed our gratitude for their forthrightness, for their being very open with us and we are committed to ensure that all necessary legislative and appropriation support is given to all the relevant agencies as may be subsequently requested. I think that is what transpired in summary at the closed session.
“We did not talk about money. We did not talk about figure. We had a high level discussion on general challenges and requirements for us to have an efficient and effective security. The details of what ever will go into supplementary appropriation can only be worked upon by the Ministry of Finance, which is an executive arm together with our relevant Committee and such are not matters that we will go into details.
“Of course, everybody know that security is a serious matter for which you cannot take with levity when it comes to ensuring appropriate appropriation for that. We are ready to receive supplementary budget.
“We don’t have any doubt that there is synergy among the various security agencies. In fact, from the nature of the briefing that we received, it reassured us as elected representatives of the people that there is indeed a synergy. In event, even the success that has been made which we were apprised of is like security is something you only feel the impact when there are breaches.
“Nobody will give you credit for security situations you have been able to address and attended to. For instance, we have a tremendous status quo report that a lot had gone into stemming the tide of insecurity in Nigeria. Perhaps, if not for that synergy and the efforts that has gone in terms of operationalising and putting the Nigerian security organisation, particularly the Air Force in proper shape, perhaps we would have been in a more terrible situation.
“So, the story is about how far we have gone but then there is room for improvement and we are committed to that improvement. After listening to the briefings, I personally became upbeat that a lot of work had gone into addressing the problem of insecurity and from the various perspectives that were brought into the discussion which is very frank, clear and without any form of duplicity, it became very clear that Nigerian security agencies are not only looking at the internal dimension of the challenge we have, we look at all ramifications both in terms of the political context, economic context and international context to the development. There were even perspectives as to what happened recently in Chad was also considered.”