Philip Nwosu, Fred Itua, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja, Sola Ojo, Kaduna and Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Few days after Boko Haram insurgents beheaded scores of farmers in Zabarmari, Jere Local Government of Borno State, the Senate has submitted that the harvest of deaths was no longer acceptable.
It said the Federal Government has failed in its constitutional responsibility enshrined in Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution. It said when a government fails to protect the people, it loses its legitimacy to remain in office.
The Senate made the submissions when it considered a motion moved by former Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima.
In the motion which focused on recent killing in Borno State and other parts of the North, two-term governor Shettima, said over 40,000 people have been killed in 10 years by insurgents and over 2.5 million displaced. He also said thousands of security agents have lost their lives
“Last weekend’s beheading happened about 20 kilometres away from Maiduguri. From the 1st of January to this day, we have had 2,800 attacks in Borno State. Boko Haram are virtually ruling all our rural areas. They kill and abduct people at will. They’re targeting farmers and this will create hunger in the North.
“Government officials keep saying Boko Haram has been technically defeated. This claim is not true. The primary responsibility of government is to protect lives and property of the people. Any government that has failed in doing this has lost the legitimacy of the people. If we allow terrorists to take over the North East, that is capable of metamorphosing into something larger,” Shettima said.
The senator representing President Buhari’s constituency, Ahmed Baba Kaita, said actions of the president have not produced any result so far. He said he may have tried, but more needed to be done. He said if something was not done, insurgents may overrun the country.
“The time of truth has come. The situation is no longer acceptable to any Nigerian. We can’t be mourning our citizens in and out everyday. We can’t accept the explanation from those who should do the right thing whenever there is an attack. If the statement from Garba Shehu is true (blaming the slain farmers for not getting clearance from from troops before going to the field), that’s very irresponsible.
“I believe that the situation is facing us eyeball to eyeball. We have to sit down with the military and access the situation in the North East. Something is wrong here. If we allow this to go, we should be ready for another attack soon. The president maybe doing enough but we are not seeing the results. More needs to be done.”
Former Senate leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, claimed troops lack modern arms and were hardly provided with air support.
He said people in Borno State were paying ransoms to Boko Haram before being allowed to go to their farms or move around in their villages.
“I can tell you that people fighting war are sharing ammunitions. They have no arms or proper kits. I have gone round. I have not seen a Nigerian soldier holding a new AK47. Last week, some people came to me in Abuja and they asked for money to help them pay their dues to Boko Haram terrorists before they can harvest their crops. If government is serious, this terrorism can be stopped in six months. America engages mercenaries. Why can’t we get that? We will be failing in our responsibility if we fail to do the right thing.”
In his contribution, former Kebbi governor, Mohammed Adamu Aliero, wondered why Buhari has refused to visit Borno after the attacks
“President Buhari should have gone to Borno State and not to send a delegation,” he said.
In its resolution, the Senate asked President Buhari to immediately sack service chiefs following their inability and failure to secure Nigerians. It is its third request this year.
Senate, also asked President Buhari to restructure and remodel the nation’s security architecture.
It further demanded a probe into the allegations of corruption and financial leakage levelled against some top hierarchy of the military and to aggressively negotiate with the nation’s neighbouring countries for multinational cooperation in order to strengthen the war against insurgency.
The upper chamber urged federal and state governments to address issues fuelling insecurity. It similarly called for massive recruitment into the military and the police force.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said excuses would no longer be tolerated. He said the resolutions of the Senate must be implemented by the Executive.
Lawan said: “This is not the first or the second case of insecurity in the country. We will take additional steps and insist that our resolutions are implemented. These are recommendations the Executive must implement. This is one thing that will gladden the hearts of Nigerians when implemented. Enough of any excuses. People who have nothing to add should be showed the way out. We need people who can do the job. Nothing is more important to Nigerians than security.”