By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Following the killing of scores of students of Federal Government College, Buni-Yadi, in Yobe state on Tuesday by Boko Haram, the Senate has asked the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Kenneth Minimah to relocate the army headquarters temporarily to Borno state until terrorism has been dealt with completely.
This was part of the resolutions adopted by the Senate Committee on Defence and Army, and handed down to the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS), who was in the Senate to defend the 2013/2014 budget.
The attention of the Senate Committee was drawn to the Yobe massacre by a member of the committee, Babafemi Ojudu, who came through a Point of Order 42 and 102 of the Senate Standing Rules, by which he called on his colleagues to take a resolution on the unfortunate massacre.
The committee led by George Thompson Sekibo (PDP, Rivers), in a two-page resolution which was unanimously adopted by members after two hours of engaging the army chief on the way out of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east, said relocating the army headquarters to the 7th Division of Nigerian Army in Maiduguri would help to urgently quell the insurgents’ repeated attacks in the area.
Considering the apparent failure of consecutive efforts to redeem the North-east from the grip of terrorism, the committee, therefore directed the new Army chief to re-strategise on new ways of tackling the insurgency.
The lawmakers urged General Minimah to mobilise every available military resources in fighting the insurgents, to avoid repeated loss of innocent lives in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa in particular.
The resolution, which was read by chairman of the committee said, “The Senate Committee on Defence and Army condemned the atrocity being unleashed by the Boko Haram elements on innocent citizens of Nigeria and in particular, the Tuesday massacre of students of Federal Government College, Buni-Yadi, in Yobe state, where scores of students were gruesomely killed.
“The committee has by this, issued a directive that the Chief of Army Staff take the following actions (a), Re-strategise on possible new ways of curbing these excesses, (b) mobilise all available military resources and face the insurgents, (c) relocate your office to Maiduguri for urgent actions to curtail the repeated attacks of the insurgents on innocent Nigerians”, the committee resolved.
In addition to the above, the committee also directed that all schools and health institutions, especially in the troubled areas of the country, should be provided with special security network to prevent repeat of the senseless attacks and killings of innocent Nigerians.
On the 2013/2014 budget, the committee gave an unconditional assent to the Army and defence budget proposal for 2014, saying one whose house is on fire does not dance in the market place.
The committee chairman told the Army chief that the utmost priority to Nigeria now is eradicating the killing spree by Boko Haram. “No one goes to the town square to dance when there is fire in his house”, Senator Sekibo said.
While disclosing its plans to tour the three affected states when Senate resumes plenary next two weeks, the committee also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to rise up to the challenge by mobilising resources for the armed forces to fight the insurgents decisively.
Responding to the directive of the Senate committee, the General Minimah assured Nigerians that the insurrection in the North-east is ended soon.
He, however, urged the Senate committee to appropriate the required funds to enable them battle the insurgents more decisively and effectively.
Reacting to the massacre, Senate President David Mark said it was curious that under an emergency rule when security operatives should be on red alert, the killings still persist.
According to him, “It is curious that under an emergency rule when security operatives should be on red alert this mayhem still persist.
“Honestly, this calls for soul searching and I believe the security authorities must rise to this challenge”.
He condemned in strong terms, the killing, saying it was unthinkable that such evil would be happening in Nigeria.
“This open declaration of war on everybody especially defenceless students cannot be justified. This is inhuman, it is animalistic and barbaric. It is unthinkable that this is happening in Nigeria”, a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, said.
Meanwhile, he also sympathised with the government and people of Yobe state, especially the families of the bereaved, saying that the terror is not just national but an international threat which calls for bravery on the part of every one to confront.