Members of the Senate on Tuesday called for the provision of enough state-of-the-art weapons and equipment to effectively combat the insurgents in the North East.
This formed part of the resolutions reached after a thorough deliberation on national security, especially as it relates to the security challenges in the region.
The lawmaker representing Borno Central, Senator Kashim Shettima, had cited Order 42 and 52 to seek the leave of the Senate to move a motion on the beheading of 67 farmers by Boko Haram insurgents.
The number given by the lawmaker is one of the conflicting figures that trailed the incident which occurred on Saturday last week at Koshobe, a village in Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State.
While the military said it counted 43 bodies, the Boko Haram terrorist group which claimed responsibility for the killing put the death toll at 78.
Recruit 10,000 JTF Memebrs
During Tuesday’s plenary at the Red Chamber of the National Assembly, the lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate which led to the adoption of nine resolutions.
In no particular order, they resolved to impress on the Federal Government to urgently recruit at least 10,000 members of the civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), as well as massive recruitment of personnel into the army and police.
The lawmakers stated that such recruits should be versatile with the local terrain in Borno and engaged as agro-rangers under the aegis of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), to complement the efforts of the military.
They asked President Muhammadu Buhari 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.
The lawmakers urged him to take immediate steps to restructure, remodel and revamp the nation’s entire security architecture.
They also urged the President to immediately initiate a probe into widespread allegations of corruption and leakages within the security structure.
The senators demanded that mechanisms be put in place to foster transparency and ensure all resources meant and deployed for security were actually spent on the needs on the ground.
According to them, it is important for the government to aggressively explore multilateral and bilateral options of partnership with the neighbouring nations of Chad, Niger Republic, and Cameroon to revive and strengthen the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and finding a lasting solution to the scourge of insurgency in the Lake Chad region.
Time To Take New Blood
The lawmakers demanded provision of proper welfare for security personnel fighting in the frontlines and prime attention to the compensation and welfare of fallen soldiers, saying that would boost the troops’ morale and aid their concentration.
They resolved to direct the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and relevant government agencies to compensate the families of the farmers killed and provide succour and psychological support to their families.
As a way of proffering long-term solution to the nation’s existential security challenges, the lawmakers stressed the need for the Federal and state governments to adequately address all immediate and remote causes of insecurity.
This, according to them, must include comprehensive packages on education, employment and other social vices.
Among the lawmakers that contributed to the debate was Senator Ahmed Baba-Kaita who stated that it was no longer acceptable to any Nigerian on the present security situation in the country.
He added that the explanation by the military was no longer acceptable, stressing that it was time for the Senate to critically engage the security agencies.
“If nothing is done, then we must be prepared for another mourning. Mr President is doing his best but if there is no result, then his best is not good enough,” Senator Baba-Kaita said.
Senator Adamu Aliero, in his remarks, condemned the killing of innocent people who met their end while trying to make a living.
He insisted that there was nowhere in the world where such an ugly incident occurred, saying the killing of the farmers was the height of insecurity.
“Mr President should have gone to Borno State 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,” the lawmaker stated.
Enough Of Many Excuses!
On his part, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele urged his colleagues to stand on existing resolutions in addition to the prayers, with an emphasis on the call to sack the service chiefs.
For Senator George Sekibo, the primary function of a government is to protect the people and where that is not the case, it amounts to a failure.
He said, “Have we not failed? … We swore to this Constitution to protect lives and property. We have deprived Nigerians who want to farm of farming. We are crying about food shortage.
“The President is the Commander-In-Chief. If there is a failure in the military, it means the President is not doing enough. It is time we take the issue of community policing seriously.”
“If you take an Ijaw man to Borno State, and there is an attack, he or she will not know where to run to. Let us use those who know the work to do the work,” the lawmaker added.
The Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, commended Senator Shetima for bringing the motion to the Senate.
He stated that the National Assembly, particularly the Senate, has taken the issue of insecurity very seriously urged the lawmakers not to get frustrated that nothing has happened yet.
“I believe that this is one set of resolutions that the Executive must find a way of quickly implementing them. Enough of many excuses!
“We are responsible to citizens and the first responsibility is to secure their lives. The security of Nigeria should take centre stage much more than anything else,” the lawmaker said.
He added, “Let us secure the people first and no investment in security is too much, most especially when we are faced with insecurity.”