Insecurity: Senate Demands Sack of Service Chiefs

Insecurity: Senate Demands Sack of Service Chiefs

…As House Summons Buhari to Explain Continued Insurgency …We Are Denied Arms to Prosecute the Anti-Terrorist War…Information Minister …Civilians Are Sabotaging Our Efforts…Military …The Country is Becoming a Failed State…PDP In what has become a game of a revolving door, the Senate has again asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack all the nation’s service chiefs,

…As House Summons Buhari to Explain Continued Insurgency

…We Are Denied Arms to Prosecute the Anti-Terrorist War…Information Minister

…Civilians Are Sabotaging Our Efforts…Military

…The Country is Becoming a Failed State…PDP

In what has become a game of a revolving door, the Senate has again asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack all the nation’s service chiefs, saying they have done their best. The upper house also called on the President to “restructure, remodel and revamp the country’s entire security architecture and provide enough state-of-the-art weapons and equipment to effectively combat the belligerent power of the insurgents.”

The Senate said the primary function of the government is to protect the lives of citizens and that with the President as the Commander-In-Chief, if there is failure in the military, it means the President is not doing enough. This is coming just as the House of Representatives has summoned President Buhari to explain why insurgency has remained unabated in the North East and general security problems across the country.

The resolutions of the two chambers of the National Assembly were reached during Tuesday’s plenary session against the backdrop of the gruesome killings by Boko Haram terrorists of 43 rice farmers in Zabarmari village in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State on Saturday, in what seem like a refrain after every major security breach.

The Senate resolved that the service chiefs have outlived their usefulness and that it is now time to appoint fresh hands to tackle the nation’s raging security challenge particularly in the North East and North West.

The Senate also says that President Buhari should have gone to Borno State to condole with the government and people of the State rather than send a delegation.

Senate Resolution

The Senate resolutions read: “Urge the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria to immediately initiate the transitionary process of phasing out the current over-stayed security chiefs and replacing them with new ones with new ideas and solutions;

“Urge the President  to take immediate steps to restructure, remodel and revamp the country’s entire security architecture and provide enough state-of-the-art weapons and equipment to effectively combat the belligerent power of the insurgents;

“Urge the President to immediately initiate probe into widespread allegations of corruption and leakages  within the security structure and put mechanisms in place to foster transparency and ensure all resources meant and deployed for security are actually spent on the needs on ground;

“Impress on the Federal Government to aggressively explore multilateral and bilateral options of partnership with the neighbouring nations of Chad, Niger and Cameroon towards reviving and strengthening the Multinational Joint Task Force and finding a lasting solution to the insurgency to the scourge of insurgency in the Lake Chad region;

“Impress on the Federal Government as a matter of urgency, recruit at least 10,000 civilian JTF, versatile with the local terrain in Borno as Agro-Rangers under the aegis of the NCDSC to complement the efforts of the Nigerian Armed forces; and

“Direct NEMA, NEDC and Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to compensate the families of the 67 that were killed in this incident, and provide succour and psychological support to the bereaved families;

“Impress on the Federal Government to provide proper welfare for security personnel fighting in the frontlines and give prime attention to the compensation and welfare of fallen soldiers as that would boost the soldiers’ morale and aid their concentration;

“Finally, as a way of proffering long term solution to Nigeria’s existential security challenges, the Federal and States Government must adequately address all immediate and remote causes of insecurity in the nation”.

At the proceeding today (Tuesday), former Borno State Governor, Senator Kashim Shettima, raised a motion for Buhari to replace all service chiefs for underperformance in the war against Boko Haram

Another Senator, Adamu Aliero tackled President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to visit Borno in person after the ugly incident.

“Mr President (@MBuhari) should have gone to Borno to condole with the government and people of the state and not to send a delegation. It is now time to act. The service chiefs have outlived their usefulness. It is now time to take new blood,” he said

Similarly, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, says Boko Haram’s massacre of farmers in Borno should be a turning point for the war against insurgency and insecurity in Nigeria.

“Enough of any excuses. People who have little or nothing to add should be shown the way out.” He added

Also the House of Representatives on Tuesday summoned President Buhari to appear before the House to explain why insurgency has remained unabated  in the North East and general security problems across the country.

The House issued the summons following a motion on an urgent need to condemn and investigate the insane killing of unarmed farmers in Jere Local Government of Borno State.

The motion which was sponsored by Borno lawmakers scaled through after over one hour debate as lawmakers ensured that attempts by the leadership of the House to block the motion were repelled. The motion was promoted by Hon. Ahmed Satomi, Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno, Hon. Zainab Gimba, Hon. Muktar Betara, Hon. Mallam Bukar Gana, Hon. Haruna Mshelia, Hon. Ahmadu Usman Jaha, Hon. Ibrahim Mohammed Bukar, Hon. Usman Zannah and Hon. Abdulkadir Rahis

The House Motion:

“Pained that more than 43 people were killed in an “insane” and barbaric attack of rice farmers in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State on Saturday 28th November 2020;

“Troubled that the attackers tied up agricultural labourers working in rice fields and slit their throats in Zabarmari village Jere Local Government near Maiduguri, in Borno State;

“Disturbed that some of the victims were labourers from other States of the Federation who had travelled to work on the rice farm fields in Borno State;

“Worried that the exact number of people killed in the incident is not yet known as over 44 dead bodies were recovered buried, all of them slaughtered, along with six others with serious injuries and many more residents are reported missing;

“Recognizes that at the funeral of the victims on Sunday 29th November, 2020 the Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, statted that “Our people are in very difficult situations, they are in two different extreme conditions: in one side, [if] they stay at home, they may be killed by hunger and starvation; on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgent

“More worried by the inability of the Military and Security Forces in averting the continued wanton killings by Book Haram insurgents, bandits, and terrorists in the North East and across the country;

“Aware that President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the senseless killing of several hard-working farmers by terrorists as the entire country is hurt by the dastard;

“Also aware of the urgent need for the President and Commander of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to reorganize the security architecture of the country to end insurgency in the North East, banditry and all acts of terrorism across the nation.

Resolves to:

“Invite President Muhammadu Buhari, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to brief the House of Representatives on the True State of the Security of the Nation;

“Condemn the killing of unarmed civilian farmers at Zabarmari village Jere Local Government near Maiduguri, in Borno State by suspected Boko Haram insurgents on Saturday 28th November, 2020;”

The house also observed a minute silence in honour of the victims of the incidents that lost their lives.

President’s Prerogative

But Mr Garba Shehu, senior special assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, says the clamour for the sacking of service chiefs is ‘out of place’.

According to Shehu, the President has the prerogative to appoint or sack any of the country’s service chiefs, adding that the President keeps the service chiefs as long as he is satisfied with their performance.

Reacting to the call by several Nigerians who also want the President to rejig the country’s security architecture, Shehu said the decision to sack or retain any of the service chiefs is entirely the President’s.

Speaking on Arise TV, the presidential spokesman said, “I am not aware that the tenure of service chiefs is subjected to any law of regulation that is clearly stated. They serve at the pleasure of the President and (if) the President is satisfied with their performance, he keeps them. The buck stops at his table, with due respect to the feelings of Nigerians.

“The clamour for the sack is out of place considering that the President is not subject to the opinion of opposition political party which has clamoured for this all the time. It is entirely his own determination; he decides who he keeps as his service chiefs and for how long.”

A leading online newspaper, Premium Times, says no fewer than 86 persons were killed in violent attacks across Nigeria last week, according to various newspaper reports and available records. Also, at least nine persons were kidnapped as Nigeria continues to battle violent acts carried out by various armed groups and individuals.

Apart from the resurgent Boko Haram attacks in the North East, there have been increased cases of killings and kidnappings across the country. Daily Trust also reported that no fewer than 1,570 Nigerians were kidnapped between January and November 2020 in 366 reported cases. The kidnappers raked in over N311 million from payment of ransom by relatives of their victims within this period, though they demanded over N6.9 billion from their victims.

According to the newspaper, the money paid did not include millions of naira paid by some families who chose to keep quiet because of threats or simply to have their peace. There has been an upsurge in kidnapping in Nigeria with 41 cases reported in November. The trend has spread to some tertiary institutions in Kaduna State while the Federal Capital Territory was also not spared with 31 reported cases in 11 months.

Although the Presidency often disagrees with reports tracking violent attacks, members of the National Assembly have lamented the security situation in Nigeria.

Military Blames Civilians

The Nigerian military has blamed civilians for the unending insecurity in the North Eastern part of the country.

Military Spokesman, Major-General John Enenche on Monday said civilians hoarding information are making its security operations in the region less effective.

The military said while residents do not give them information on activities of insurgents, some of them work as informants to bandits and terrorists.

In an interview on Channels TV Sunrise Daily, Enenche said the local residents are reducing the military’s effectiveness to combat the insecurity because they do not provide relevant information.

“That (information) has been our worry,” he said. “It’s a concern to us. You need a guide, you need information. Will they tell us? That’s a question that we have to ask. Yes, sometimes. And most times, no.

“And that was one of the issues we have been ensuring to overcome, with civil-military cooperation activities, reaching out to them, even sending people by proxy to talk to them,” Enenche said.

The 43 rice farmers killed in a deadly assault on saturday by suspected Boko Haram terrorists at Koshebe village in the Jere Local Government Area of Borno.were buried on Sunday amid wailing and tears by residents of the community.

The farmers were killed at about 11 a.m. as they harvested rice on their farms.

The incident is the latest in the unrelenting killing of farmers in the North-East by Boko Haram insurgents, who have been campaigning for a strict Islamic code since 2009.

While the killings and other security challenges continue in the region, the military says their operations have been successful except for the cooperation of locals.

“Our patrols will pass through a route, in a village. By the time you are going, some people are looking at you. When you are coming back, the next thing is that you meet an IED planted on the road. And people saw them, they won’t tell you. So that’s the area I think we are all working together as stakeholders,” Enenche said.

“And it is not possible to force information out of people. It’s not possible, just like they say you force a horse to the river, but not to drink water.”

He said what the military is trying to do is to build confidence in the people so that they can subsequently confide in the security operatives to curb insurgency activities.

Nigeria Denied Arms

Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, on Monday, in Makurdi, the Benue State capital advanced the reason why Boko Haram activities may continue unabated, saying that Nigeria has been denied access to acquire adequate weapons to fight terrorists.

Speaking to journalists after he paid a courtesy visit on Governor Samuel Ortom, at the government house, Mohammed said “Nigerians will remain at the mercy of terrorists”.

The Minister described the killing of rice farmers as ‘unfortunate’ but noted that to decimate the terrorist group, the country needed more support from global partners as well as acquiring adequate weapons to fight them.

The minister said, “When we talk about terrorism, people don’t seem to appreciate that terrorism is not a local issue, it is a global issue and there is no part of the world that doesn’t experience its own pocket of terrorism.

“But you must also note that we are dealing with terrorists who are financed globally and we also need more support from global partners, for instance, Nigeria has made an attempt to acquire a better and more effective platform to deal with terrorists but for one reason or the other we have been denied this platform, these weapons and without adequate weapons or platform we remain at the mercy of terrorists.

The Minister further said, “You see fighting terrorists is not a joke because what actually happened in Borno State is unfortunate but you must also look at the strategy of the terrorists.

“Terrorists use media and publicity as oxygen, so when they go on this kind of mindless killing of people. It is not that the government is not doing enough, terrorism whether in Afghanistan or anywhere in the world has the same concept, a group of people who are extremist in their thoughts who don’t think that you and me should be alive.”

Military Repels Bandits

Meanwhile, the Nigerian military repelled armed bandits on the Kaduna-Abuja and Kaduna-Zaria Roads in the North West, in the wee hours of Sunday, November 29, and early hours of Monday, November 30, 2020.

At Kwanar Tsintsiya axis of Kaduna-Zaria Road, Igabi local government, troops of 4 Battalion Nigerian Army overpowered the armed bandits that were shooting at motorists plying the route.

One of the bandits was neutralised while several escaped with bullet wounds. Furthermore, the troops rescued 39 persons travelling to Onitsha from Sokoto from the armed bandits. The troops are still trailing the bandits to areas said to be their enclave.

The troops also responded to distress calls about bandits attacking and rustling in the same general area. On arriving the location, the troops recovered 69 cattle while one of the armed bandits was neutralised.

A statement on Monday by Mr Samuel Aruwan Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs said that on the Kaduna-Abuja Road, bandits advancing towards the Audu-Jungom axis in Chikun local government on Sunday 29th November 2020 were repelled by troops.

We Are Not in Charge

Kaduna State Governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, is unhappy with the security challenges in the country and dissatisfied with the roles of the state Governors, as provided for in the Nigerian Constitution.

Governor El-Rufai, made the remarks during an interview session on Channels TV. He stressed that the recent #EndSARS protest by youths against Police brutality in parts of the country has exposed the inability of the Governors despite being called the chief security officers of their states.

“We are all frustrated. I am frustrated in my state, many Governors are frustrated in their states; we are called chief security officers only in name, we have no control over cohesive instruments of the state,” the Governor said on Politics Today.

He added, “We are almost helpless. The #EndSARS protest clearly showed the limit to the control of Governors over the Police and the military.

“Some of us have more influence than others, but to a large extent, you ask the commissioner of Police to do something and he has to clear with the Inspector-General of Police; this is the reality.

“We are not in control of the Police, I don’t determine who gets posted to my state as CP and if I give him directives, he can decide to flout the directives. So, we are all frustrated.”

Decentralising the Police

Governor El-Rufai believes decentralising the Police force will go a long way in addressing the security problems bedevilling the nation.

According to him, Nigeria is the only country in the world that is a federation that has only one Police force.

The Governor stated that the Governors had engaged in arguments that states should be allowed to have their own Police, while local governments should be allowed to have community police.

He noted that most state governments were responsible for the running cost of the Police such as vehicles, fuel, communication, while the Federal Government was only responsible for the payment of the salaries of policemen.

Governor El-Rufal, therefore, stressed the need to recruit more personnel into the police force and ensure they are rightly deployed into designated areas of duty.

“The number of policemen we have in Nigeria is inadequate, it is less than half of what we need and a large percentage of them are engaged in non-Police duties like carrying handbags of the wives of important people.

“We need to have a greater footprint of Police in Nigeria and the only way to achieve that in a fast track manner is to amend the Constitution and put policing on the concurrent list, as recommended by the All Progressive Congress (APC) True Federalism Committee so that we have more policemen.”

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP however believes that Nigeria is fast becoming a failed state under the APC led government.

Nation Falling Apart

National Chairman of the party, Mr Uche Secondus stated this on Monday while speaking at a PDP mega rally for Bayelsa West Senatorial District at Sagbama, in Bayelsa State.

The chairman, who presented the party’s flag to its Senatorial Candidate, Mr Henry Seriake Dickson, lamented that everything including the country’s economy and security sectors are falling apart.

He noted that the only chance of redemption was to put credible people in the National Assembly who would be able to make laws in defence of Nigerians.

Secondus said, “Today, as we stand here to speak to you, Nigeria is fast becoming a failed state. The only rescue is to put quality people in the National Assembly who can go there to make laws in defence of the people.

“Everywhere has broken down. Security and the economy are breaking down. The Government of APC has failed. You can imagine a bag of rice that was N18000 is now N30,000, and the Dollar, which was exchanging for between N180 and N230 is now N500.

“I can tell you that this is the most trying period for our nation. The country is gradually falling apart.”

He added, “Finally, I want to advise our Commander-in-Chief that the country is falling apart. He should not make things worse because If he denies the people their votes, he will make the situation worse.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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