The National Assembly has expressed fears over the worsening insecurity in the country, particularly the recent attacks on the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by terrorists.
Following the worsening insecurity, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday, summoned the security chiefs to a marathon meeting where he described the situation as the “most frightening.”
Also at the meeting, the senators advised the security chiefs on how better to protect the FCT and the country in general.
The various House of Representatives Committees on Security had similarly met with the security chiefs last Friday over the developments in the country.
Also, the House said the terrorists were daring to have attacked the seat of power, warning the security agencies to go after the militants.
In the last few weeks, the FCT had faced grave security threats with terrorists launching separate attacks on troops and the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre.
Last Thursday, suspected terrorists launched a vicious attack on soldiers at a checkpoint at Zuma rock, a few kilometres from the nation’s capital.
Also on July 24, terrorists attacked the Presidential Guards Brigade troops at Bwari-Kubwa road, Abuja, during which a captain, lieutenant and six soldiers were killed and others wounded.
An attack by Islamic State West Africa Province terrorists on the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre, Abuja, resulted in the release of 69 Boko Haram commanders and hundreds of felons on July 5.
A memo from the NSCDC had also suggested that Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists were amassing dangerous weapons for massive attacks on Katsina, Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory, Kaduna, and Zamfara States.
Speaking before the security meeting went into a closed-door session, the Senate President said the upper chambers had hoped the security situation would have been better by now.
Lawan admonished the law enforcement agencies to perform better and protect the rural populace.
He stated, “This session is to look into where we are today and this current position where we are is most frightening. This is like there is nowhere to go. We have to review what more we have to do and what differently we have to do.
“Insecurity is everywhere and especially if it is coming to the point of dislocating the security situation where the government is quartered. We will really review and see what more we have to do and how differently we have to do.’’
In his remarks, the Chief of Defence Staff said that issues of national security must be seen from a collective perspective.
While noting that quite a lot had happened and quite a lot had been done, Irabor assured Nigerians that the military would do more to improve the security setting across the country.
Aside from Irabor, those who attended the meeting include the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.- Gen. Faruk Yahaya; Chief of Naval Staff; Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, and Chief Air Staff; Air Marshal Oladayo Amao.
Others are the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba; the Director-General of Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi; the Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr Ahmed Audi and the Director General National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar. The meeting started at 2pm and ended at 7.30pm.
Although the National Assembly began its annual recess on Wednesday, members of the security committees of both chambers stayed back in Abuja because of the rising insecurity in the country.
In a chat on Wednesday, the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, decried that the terrorists were not afraid of attacking the FCT despite hosting the Presidential Villa and headquarters of the military and paramilitary agencies.
Kalu said, “On security, a lot needs to be done there. I agree that we have always emphasised that intelligence sharing among the Armed Forces should be better than it is.
“I don’t see a reason why the Federal Capital Territory that houses the headquarters of the Armed Forces would be here and insurgents would be approaching the Federal Capital Territory, the symbol of our national unity.
“There is no reason why this place should not be protected. There is no reason why the insurgents or terrorists should not be afraid of coming to this place. It is a call for them to all wake up and begin to share intelligence and see how they can synergise to work together, and not wait until it is too late.”
He added, “What is happening to the resolution that we passed for (Closed Circuit) Cameras to be mounted all around the streets of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory? What is happening to the use of technology to survey the perimeters of the FCT? What happened to the new technologies like drones? Why can’t we use drones to monitor the activities around the FCT?
“I think the Office of the NSA also needs to step up in its work as well as the NIA, DSS, DIA and the Armed Forces need to step up their games and begin to see a way of securing this particular place; not only the FCT but the entire country. The Nigerian Armed Forces have the capacity to protect this nation.”
The House’ spokesman, however, dismissed the ongoing move by the opposition members of the National Assembly to impeach the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), over the growing insecurity in the country and failing economy as belated.
Members of the opposition in the Senate and the House had last week issued a six-week ultimatum to Buhari to address the security and economic issues, failing which they would commence impeachment process against him.
Waiving off the impeachment threat, Kalu noted that the regime would have been over by the time the process was concluded, arguing that section 143 of the 1999 prescribes various timeframes of each of the processes.
Kalu noted, “The issue is that if you are talking about impeachment, you cannot talk about it without making reference to Section 143 of the Constitution. The question is, ‘Does Section 143, in view of the procedural timeline, support any move to this effect?’ The answer is no.
“All the seven days, 14 days, seven days, three months and other timeframes; by the time you add them together, in view of the nine months that this administration has left, it will be an exercise in futility.”
Earlier before the senate meeting with the security chiefs, the IGP held a conference with state commissioners of police and other senior officers to review the security in the country.
IBaba ordered the CPs to begin a special visibility policing operation across their commands.
He explained that the operation should include crime mapping, identification of flash points , raids on criminal enclaves in their areas of jurisdiction among others.
He said, “As part of a major operational initiative to stabilise the internal security order, you are all directed to immediately commence a special visibility policing operation across your Commands.
“This initiative will encompass the crime mapping of your areas of jurisdiction, identification of vulnerable points and massive deployment of personnel on motorized and foot patrols of the cities. The initiative also involves the utilization of intelligence to undertake targeted raids on criminal cells. “
He, however, stated that the level of compliance to his directives that the CPs should liaise with the Nigerian Correctional Service Authorities in their areas of responsibility to jointly review the existing security architecture would be reviewed at the meeting.
The IGP added that the National Security Council’s resolution on the documentation and streamlining of the operations of commercial motorcycle and tricycle riders across the country as part of the initiatives to address national security threats would be discussed.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Amao, said he has directed Nigerian Air Force operational Commanders in the various theatres of operation across the country to show no mercy to terrorists.
He also ordered them to ensure they employ maximum firepower against terrorists, urging them to effectively allocate and utilise all NAF platforms deployed for operations in the North-West and North-Central for enhanced operational effectiveness.
These, according to him would deny the terrorists freedom of movement while boosting the confidence of the populace in the service.
The Air Chief was quoted to have stated these in a statement on Wednesday by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet during a visit to Air Officers Commanding and Air Component Commanders at the NAF Base in Kaduna on Tuesday.
The statement partly read, “I urge you to show no mercy against any terrorist and their accomplices while also denying them the freedom of movement and ease to cause mayhem against innocent Nigerians.”
Amao, however, said efforts were at an advanced stage to procure more combat platforms for the service to meet the ever-increasing demands of air assets in various theatres of operations across the nation.
He assured that training of more combat pilots, imagery analysts and other specialties in the service would continue to be his priority to address the manpower challenges within the operation areas. – Punch.