29 November 2012

Nigeria: Insecurity - Nowhere Is Safe in Nigeria - Reps

Photo: Vanguard
National security

Against the backdrop of recent fatal attacks on security installations, federal lawmakers yesterday expressed concern over worsening insecurity across the country.

In wide-ranging contributions sequel to a motion on urgent national importance on worsening insecurity sponsored by Abubakar Momoh (Edo/ACN), lawmakers said the attacks on the security establishments were clear pointers that nobody, including security facilities, was safe again. They said there was reason to worry over the safety of the National Assembly complex.

Suspected Boko Haram last Sunday attacked a church inside the Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Jaji, Kaduna State, killing more a dozen people and injuring scores more. The very next day, on Monday, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) detention centre in Abuja came under attack when suspected terrorists invaded the centre reportedly killing two police officers and setting free over 150 detainees.

The incidents which LEADERSHIP learnt jolted the top security brass came in the wake of rumoured plans for a peace talk between the federal government and the Boko Haram sect. Although the police high command came out to announce that 25 of the fleeing suspects were recaptured, the incidents left most residents in the FCT with fear that the insurgents had actually infiltrated the nation's capital.

When contacted on the motion by the lawmakers, spokesman of the police, CSP Frank Mba said the legislators, as representatives of the people, had the right to pass motions in the interest of Nigerians.

"I don't have any reaction to make on the motion by the lawmakers. They are our representatives and have the right to pass motion, so I don't have anything to say about that," Mba said.

Leading the debate on the motion, Momoh cited Tuesday's robbery in Auchi, Edo State, which claimed the lives of three soldiers, some policemen and civilians. He said the brazen robbery showed clearly that insecurity in the country was getting out of hand.

In other contributions, Rapheal Nnanna (Imo/PDP) said the successful attack on the SARS headquarters in Abuja and a prior bomb attack on a church at the military college in Jaji, Kaduna, showed that Nigeria's security agencies were deficient in checking insecurity in the country.

The Imo lawmaker said, "The state of insecurity in the country has reached an embarrassing level. What happened in Jaji and SARS headquarters is embarrassing to the leadership and people of this nation. I see these people coming to the National Assembly very soon".

On his part, House Minority Whip, Samson Osagie (Edo/ACN) said, "We can't afford to fold our hand and watch these people kill and maim people the way they are doing".

Jerry Alagbaso (Imo/PDP) called on security agencies to focus on intelligence gathering.

He also called on the government to improve the sophistication of arms that security agents used. "That is the only way they can overcome the current challenge. Our security must improve on intelligence gathering," he asserted.

In a separate matter, the House of Representatives stepped down a bill seeking to compel the president and governors to get the consent of the Senate and the House of Assembly before relieving a minister or commissioner from office. The bill was stood down for lack of merit.

It is a modest assessment - Sagay

In reaction to the resolution of the House of Representatives, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN) described the bill as one that was meant to ginger the executive into action, saying it was a modest and obvious assessment of the true position of things in Nigeria.

He said: "Of course, nowhere is safe; because in the North, you have Boko Haram, kidnapping in the South-South and South-East and armed robbery in South-West. The resolution is highly timely; something has to be done urgently to strengthen the military, police and other security agencies in the country.

"You can see the number of civilians, policemen and military personnel that were mowed down by armed robbers, Boko Haram sect and other forms of bandits."

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