Senators and three governors on Tuesday expressed concern about the nationwide ceaseless killings and kidnappings in the country, urging the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd,), to seek foreign help.
The lawmakers, while debating a motion on activities of Boko Haram in Niger State, described insecurity in the country as not only terrible, but also shameful. The motion was sponsored by Senator Sani Musa (All Progressives Congress, Niger East).
The Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum; his Niger State counterpart, Sani Bello and Samuel Ortom of Benue State, in separate interviews warned that insecurity in the country was getting out of control.
The governors, therefore, urged the Federal Government to act fast as 21 people were killed across the country on Tuesday.
Zulum, in an interview with the State House correspondents on Monday night, said the President should be told the truth about insecurity in the country.
On his part, Ortom decried herdsmen’s attack on Abegana area of the state where seven persons were killed on Tuesday.
Bello, in an interview on the Nigerian Television Authority on Tuesday, said Boko Haram was scaring people away from Niger State communities.
The insecurity in Niger State was brought to the fore at the Senate on Tuesday as Senator Musa in his motion corroborated the governor’s statement, saying many communities in the state were under the control of Boko Haram.
He said, “About 42 communities across the two local government areas of Shiroro and Munya have so far fallen under the Boko Haram control with about 5,000 villagers already displaced in the last three days.
“They have kidnapped many and their wives seized from them and forcefully attached to Boko Haram members.
“Three military camps in Allawa, Bassa and Zagzaga in the two local government areas have been sacked and some security personnel killed by the insurgents in the last one month of renewed attacks.”
Contributing to the motion, Bima Enagi (APC, Niger North), said Nigerians could not continue to bear the pain of women being raped and forcibly married to Boko Haram terrorists.
Enagi, who said insecurity in the country was terrible, stated, “We cannot continue to allow Boko Haram to hoist flags in Nigerian territories. What is our army doing? What are all security agencies doing?
“It has become so shameful that a great country like Nigeria will be in this type of terrible situation. It seems the Federal Government is handling this insecurity with kid gloves. People are dying every day and nothing is being done. No serious, concrete situation on ground to confront these people (insurgents and bandits). I don’t know what else this Senate can do other than appeal to the government.”
I am not convinced Buhari is aware of what is happening — Bamidele
The contribution by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele drew murmurs from his colleagues when he said he was not convinced that the President was aware of the security situation in Nigeria.
He suggested that the Senate should, “mandate the leadership of the National Assembly to book an appointment with the Commander-In-Chief on behalf of the 109 senators…because I’m not convinced that Mr President is aware of everything that’s happening. And if you (Lawan) are meeting with the Commander-in-Chief, all the service chiefs and all the relevant people will be there.”
Seek help, Senators tell Buhari
Also, Ike Ekweremadu, the senator representing Enugu West, said any government that could not protect its citizens had lost its “legitimacy.”
He said, “Any government that cannot protect its citizens has lost legitimacy. We should not be ashamed to seek support. Time has come for Niger State to shut down and protect its citizens. It’s time to shut down this Senate and go into an executive session to find a solution to this problem.”
Similarly, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, (Edo South), supported Ekweremadu’s position, calling on the Federal Government to seek external help in addressing the country’s security challenges.
Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West) while making his contribution shed tears, but Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who sat close to him, was not moved by Adeyemi’s tears. Rather she described him as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Remi, the wife of an All Progressives Congress’ leader, Bola Tinubu, was obviously not comfortable with Adeyemi”s submissions.
Adeyemi said the country was facing the worst instability since the civil war. He said, “This is the worst instability we are facing. In fact, this is worse than the civil war,” he said.
Tinubu, who couldn’t hide her anger, asked, “Are you in the PDP? Are you a wolf in sheep’s clothing?”
Adeyemi, however, ignored her and said amidst tears that, “We cannot pretend that we are capable of handling the situation in our hands.
“We shouldn’t pretend that we need foreign support now. Billions of naira have been voted for security services and nothing is coming out.
“I’m a party man and I’m supporting the APC, but it has got to a point that as supporters we cannot keep quiet.”
On his part, Senator Francis Fadahunsi said that something drastic must be done, adding that Senate must do its work.
Senator Seriake Dickson on his part stated, “Our federalism is only in name. Our security is structurally incompetent. We are about to lose the Nigerian dream.”
Biodun Olujimi said bloodletting in the country had got out of hand. “There is lack of political will to handle insecurity. None of us here can say we know the process that this government is taking to handle insecurity. There is also lack of leadership. New service chiefs have come. Have we told them what to do and given them a timeline?” she asked.
Executive has shown incompetence –
Suswan Gabriel Suswan lamented that the executive had shown clear incompetence in tackling insecurity.
Senator Sabi Abdullahi said that the security situation should be addressed, noting that the next place after Niger State would be Abuja.
The Senate spokesperson, Ajibola Basiru, urged his colleagues to stop lamenting and take actions that would bring out results.
After the debate, the Senate in its resolutions directed its leadership to hold an urgent meeting with the President.
The red chamber also agreed to summon the service chiefs and other heads of security agencies.
It also agreed to invite the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, and the Director of National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
It also urged the Federal Government to recruit more soldiers and other security personnel to boost the war against terrorism and forms of insecurity.