From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
An All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain and former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Internal Security, Hon Aminu Sani Jaji, has appealed to the National Assembly to earmark a special fund for the security agencies to procure sophisticated weapons to combat insurgency and banditry.
Fielding questions from reporters in Abuja on Wednesday, Jaji noted that should the Presidency and Legislature agree on such special fund for the acquisition of the needed weapons, the wave of insecurity will end in three months.
Jaji, an aspirant in the 2019 Zamfara governorship election, insisted that the only difference between Nigerian security agencies and foreign mercenaries is the possession of sophisticated weapons.
‘The National Assembly has a lot to do in tackling this issue of insecurity. If you look at the budget of all the security agencies in Nigeria, it is too small to tackle the current security challenges. So, the National Assembly has to do something,’ he said.
‘They don’t have to rely on the budget the executive submitted to them regarding the security agencies. They should think and listen to the security agencies and invite them and ask them what they need.
‘If it is established that the security agencies were getting enough funding, then the National Assembly will continue with their oversight function to know how the money was spent or utilised.
‘When I was the chairman, I think there was a time money was budgeted to some of the security agencies but they were able to access only 60 per cent of that money.
‘Even if they get the allocation 100 per cent, it will not take them anywhere and then they were getting less than 100 per cent or 60 per cent. So, I think the National Assembly need to look at this issue holistically.
‘For me, I believe there are strategies which if the executive and the National Assembly put in place, the issue of insecurity will be resolved and Nigerians will start seeing the result maybe, within three to six months, if they put it in place.
‘Let the executive and the legislature come together and provide a special fund. Maybe the executive should set up a committee on procurement; the committee that will not compromise whatsoever, and provide whatever they are asked to provide.
‘The National Assembly and the executive should work together to provide a special fund, get the equipment, I think in three or four months some of the equipment will be ready and then they will see how they will fight this insecurity to finish. But for now, what we can do within our power is to pray.’
On whether the security authorities were overwhelmed, the APC chieftain said: ‘They are overwhelmed because they don’t have sophisticated equipment. If they have it, between three and six months, it would be resolved.
‘People were talking about mercenaries because they have the equipment, too sophisticated that we don’t have. If we have it, that means our security agencies will finish them in no time,’ he argued.
While commenting on the nationwide distribution of relief items by his group, Hon Jaji revealed that no fewer than 510 trucks of food items will be shared across the country.
‘We decided to embark on humanitarian services which we are targeting to cover all the 36 states of the federation including Abuja, to share parliatives. That is why last two weeks we were in Zamfara, this week, we were in Borno, that is Maiduguri, where we shared palliatives to IDPs.
‘We targeted 60 to 100 thousand people in Borno to benefit from the gesture. We did the same thing in Kebbi, as well as Kano. So, we are trying to make sure that before the week runs out, at least, we would have covered 20 states.
‘The exercise is targeted at telling the people that President Muhammadu Buhari is a platform and people that are saying that after President Buhari, there will be no APC, I want to say President Buhari is a platform, if not because of our Constitution, he can even contest election without a political party.
‘We have more than 510 trucks of food items that we are going to share across the country. So, being the national coordinator of the programme, we are going round with some of the national excos and we have coordinators in the 36 states including Abuja, and our target is to ensure that the less privileged, IDPs, orphans, at least benefitted from the gesture,’ he announced.