Fred Itua, Abuja
Senators, yesterday, demanded the immediate sack of heads of security agencies over the rising spate of general insecurity in the country.
Contributing to a debate at plenary, both Jeremiah Useni (Plateau) and Solomon Adeola (Lagos) said the failure of the security chiefs to halt the wanton killings in various parts of the country showed that they were out of ideas on how to tackle the issues.
“I want to commend the leadership of the Senate for the Security Summit it organised recently and the report and recommendations. But so far, the security situation has not improved and what the president need at this time is fresh ideas on how to the tackle numerous security challenges confronting the nation.
“We know the way the military organisations operate. Those with fresh ideas dare not come out against their superiors or else they risk premature retirement from service. So, the current service chiefs should go to allow officers with fresh ideas address our alarming security issues,” Adeola said.
The lawmakers also called for the intervention of foreign countries to help solve the security challenges.
They said rather than calling on foreign countries to invest in Nigeria, the Federal Government should ask for support in confronting armed bandits in the country.
The positions of senators followed the adoption of a motion, which came as a point of order by Suleiman Adokwe representing Nasarawa North Senatorial District.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided, said the Senate would not stop talking about the killings until the government wakes up to its responsibilities.
“As we have pointed out, the primary purpose of government anywhere in the world is the preservation of the lives of citizens. If citizens are being killed, we owe the responsibility as a parliament to give it the desired attention. And we will never stop talking about these killings. Unless it stops, we will never be tired of speaking about it.
“Assuming this is happening in America, in the United Kingdom or France, will it take all this time to be resolved? As we know, not even in South Africa. But it appears that we are taking too many things for granted. The time has come for us to seek help from other countries as some of us have suggested here. We should not be ashamed to ask for help.
“The president met with the UK prime minister and she was of the opinion that Britain would help us security-wise. America is also offering to help. We should not be reluctant to come out openly and say we need help, because what we have now is a global village. We cannot be asking people to come to Nigeria and invest their monies.
“They will not! Rather, let us ask them to come and help us to solve our security problem. If we solve our security problem, they will come with nobody asking them to come. I think the first thing to do is to resolve the issue, and it is something we all need to do, and do it fast.
“We are representatives of the people. If they kill everybody, we will have nobody to represent; we will have no job. We are not on appointments, we are representatives. If we have nobody to represent, nobody will have a job here. So, security is more important than any other thing that we do here.
“If it gets to a level where we have to shut down this National Assembly and sit down with the executive for as long as it lasts to resolve the problem, we may have to do that. It is critical and people are very worried. We must have a country before we can talk about elections.”
Adokwe, in his earlier remarks, said prominent Nigerians were calling on citizens to defend themselves because of the failure of security agencies to provide cover for people.
“I am very emotional on this matter and I am not one given to emotion very easily. But what I have gone through this weekend is very horrifying; it is very distressing and sad. It is as if we are in a lawless society where life is brutish, where there is absence of state powers. We call on the Federal Government to stop this carnage.”
Barnabas Gemade while agreeing that Nigeria was becoming a country without control, condemned the handling of security challenges by the various security forces.
“It is a shame that a sitting government could watch criminality go to the level that we have seen it today. Rather than rise up and take very decisive steps against it, we embark on deniability and simply shield this evil by just explaining with flimsy excuses that these are communal clashes in those communities.
“I don’t understand why responsible people elected to control the governments of Nigeria will simply turn away from the reality of facing this matter squarely. And the governor of a state will even deny that there is militia in the state, and yet, there are people who are armed and they are killing people, as they like. The Inspector-General will fly by helicopter to a town, land in the market square and be asking people whether there is militia in this town or not. And nobody whatsoever seems to call anybody to order. This is very sad. We have done enough of a minute silence for innocent Nigerians being killed.
“I think it has come to a stage where we must find ways of doing something about this. May be the advice of some nationalists to the people to find ways of protecting themselves may not be out of order because a government that cannot protect people and a military whose presence in any particular place means the killing of certain ethnic nationalities they do not believe in is a very sad development,” he noted.
Ben Murray-Bruce recalled that the issues which necessitated military took over in 1983 were not as complicated as the ones ravaging the country at the moment.
Senators Victor Umeh, Dino Melaye, Oluremi Tinubu, Barau Jibrin and Samuel Anyanwu, who contributed, made the same submissions.
Enyinnaya Abaribe from Abia State, had last week, decried the spate of killings in different parts of the country and condemned the poor handling by President Muhammadu Buhari.