The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has berated the service chiefs for rebuffing an invitation to a meeting he convened to discuss the security situation Nigeria.
An angry Gabajabiala refused to recognise the representatives of the security chiefs, whose actions he described as an insult to the legislature.
Gbajabiamila, who vowed to report the matter to President Buhari, condemned the attitude of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, and the Chief of the Air Staff (CAF), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, saying that it was uncalled for.
He said that it was a sad development since all the arms of government were supposed to work in unison for the development of the country and the benefit of Nigerians.
The Speaker said: “Let me first of all commend Mr President for the commitment he has shown in trying to stem the spate of insecurity in the country. Mr President has to have people he would delegate those powers to as the Commander-in-Chief as dictated by our constitution.
“Mr President has delegated those powers to the service chiefs, so we decided to call this meeting, as representatives of the people. Let me commend the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) for being here personally. Let me also commend the Director-General (DG) of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Comptroller-General (CG) Nigerian immigration Service (NIS) for being here.
“Let me say, as a House and as an institution, I cannot understate my disappointment that the rest of the service chiefs are not here. Again, like I said, we called this meeting because it was inevitable. It is important. You can see members from Borno State are here. There is a crisis in Borno State right now.
“We wanted to hear from the service chiefs to know what was going on, how the House can help and what the problems are as well as what are the challenges; to talk about strategy, to talk about what we need to do.
“I’m sure you really didn’t expect the House to fold its arms while people in Maiduguri and other parts are being killed. There’s a migration now from local governments in Borno State to Maiduguri.
“Here we are; we called the armed forces coordinated by the CDS, who’s not here, with the service chiefs being represented. I’m actually at a loss.
“For me, I believe my colleagues are in tandem with this. In the absence of the service chiefs, the CDS, the COAS, the CNS, and the CAS are not represented as far as we’re concerned.
“I’m sorry, when I said not represented, as far as I’m concerned, the heads are not here, the service chiefs are not here. I know one or two of these service chiefs were somewhere yesterday night. I am aware of that.
“I can almost say it shows a disdain for this institution. The budget is on its way. Yes, we need to talk about that. What do you need? What is required? I’m almost embarrassed. To tell you the truth, I’m almost embarrassed,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, described the incident as an insult to the institution of the legislature.
“In strong terms, I condemn those who did not deem it fit to be here. As far as I’m concerned, as a chairman of a committee, I never attended to any agency in the absence of the chief executives and the accounting officers, and I know that these service chiefs are the accounting officers in their various agencies. It is our practice, tradition, and I am insulted,” he said.
Consequently, Gbajabiamila rescheduled the meeting for Monday morning and apologised to the IGP, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, Yusuf Bichi of the DSS, and Muhammad Babandede, the NIS boss