Updated: House of Reps summon Jonathan over Boko Haram

Channels Television  
Updated June 19, 2012

Following a debate on the spate of bombing incidents in the country, the House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to invite President Goodluck Jonathan to appear before it to explain his efforts towards addressing the security situation in the country.

This resolution followed a motion moved by Yakubu Barde, who said the House need to take a deeper look at the security challenges facing the country, following the recent bomb attacks on three churches in Zaria and Kaduna towns and the gun battle in Damaturu, Yobe state.

While the house commiserated with the families of the victims, the lawmakers said it there appear to be no progress in addressing the security challenges facing the country.

The House of Representatives also summoned the National Security Adviser, Andrew Azazi, Chief of Defence Staff, Oluseyi Petinrin, Director General of the State Security Service (SSS), Ita Ekpeyong, and other security chiefs.

No date has been fixed for the special session which is likely to be held behind closed doors.

Insecurity yet Jonathan travels

The minority leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, while contributing to the debate on the security of the country, expressed reservations over President Jonathan’s trip to Brazil for the Earth Summit when according to him, “the country is under siege”.

He said the current spate of bombings have infringed on the people’s “fundamental rights to religion, free association and to life.”

Mr Gbajabiamila who said that drastic situations like the one the country was facing at the moment require a drastic actions, expressed surprise that a pocket of gunmen could hold security agents to gun battle for over five hours on Monday in Damaturu, adding that if the situation had degenerated to such a level, it was “time to look elsewhere.”

The Chairman of the House Committee on Electoral Matters, Jerry Manwe who berated the inability of security agencies to pre-empt the incessant bombings said for those, including the president who had at one time or another stated that they know those behind the boko haram sect, it was time to get the culprits arrested.

“We approved almost a trillion naira for security alone in the 2012 budget, is this money meant to buy ak 47s alone, or to but bomb detectors for the villa, or the national assembly alone when our brothers and sisters out there continue to die? Is Mr president, or Azazi (the National Security Adviser) and the IG (Inspector General of Police) scared? We should tell ourselves the bitter truth now,” he said.

The chairman of the Committee on works, Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi, who described the current security challenges as the second most serious crisis the nation has faced, beside the civil war, said Nigeria should draw lessons from the United States’ response to terrorism after the September 11, 2001, by creating the department of homeland security, a development he said had guarded against similar other threats.

Several other members, including Umar Bature, Godfrey Gaiya, Udoh Ibeji, Andrew Uchendu and Opeyemi Bamidele spoke in support of the motion to summon the president and security chiefs to brief the House on the increasing level of insecurity.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has cleared the air on his alleged comments over Sunday’s reprisal attacks that followed the bombing of churches in Kaduna.

The speaker was reported to have, through a statement issued by his special assistant on media, Imam Imam, condemned the reprisal attacks without recourse to the bomb attacks that sparked it off in the first place.

In a short speech to mark the clarification during Monday’s plenary of the House, Mr Tambuwal said, “in all my comments over these acts, I have continuously condemned the acts as inhuman and not to be supported by anyone. The statement was very clear,” he said.