Nigeria: Senate Makes Fresh Move to End Killings, Kidnappings

The Nigerian Senate

The Senate rose from a closed-door meeting with the nation's security chiefs and heads of paramilitary agencies, yesterday, directing them to submit special funding requests within two weeks.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, who made the disclosure, said the meeting also discussed the lack of coordination among the security agencies, blaming the situation for the failure to quell killings and kidnappings across the country.

Saraki said the Senate also resolved to accord priority to bills that would strengthen the nation's security architecture.The requests would be in the form of a supplementary budget. It would, however, be different from the $1 billion recently released by President Muhammadu Buhari to the military to combat insecurity.

"The Senate in a closed session received brief from the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, the Director General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura, representatives of the Comptroller General of Immigration, Inspector General of Police, and Comptroller General of Customs, on the proliferation of dangerous arms, spate of killings by terrorists, and kidnappings by hoodlums across the country. They afterwards answered questions from distinguished senators bordering on insecurity, insurgence, terrorism, kidnapping and other crimes, and national security matters," Saraki said.

"We all observed the funding issue and we also agreed that there must be a special funding. As such, we gave them two weeks to present their own budget on this area of special funding that we think will go a long way to improve the security situation in the country," he said.He described the issue of coordination among the security agencies as being of great concern to the legislators, saying: "We will be looking at how we can effect some amendments in the constitution and the law, to see what we can do to strengthen that aspect of security."

Saraki added: "By and large, we are committed to ensuring that we find a way to bring an end to the killings. And we have all agreed to continue to work together to cooperate and work very closely to address this issue. We are confident that changes will begin to be seen in this area. We have our own role to play and they have also committed to playing their own role. We hope that over the next couple of weeks, we will begin to take actions on some of these things we have committed to."

The resolutions of the Senate came as armed men in separate incidents allegedly abducted 41 travellers along the Funtua-Birnin Gwari road. While 17 persons were kidnapped on Tuesday, 24 others were whisked away on Wednesday morning, according to the chairman of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers, Birnin Gwari chapter, Mallam Danladi Idon Duniya. Kaduna State police spokesman, Mukthar Aliyu, could not be reached for comments as at the time of filing this report.

Also yesterday, three senators representing Kaduna State cautioned local and foreign commercial banks and other financial institutions against granting loans to the state government without recourse to the National Assembly.

The lawmakers said they had unraveled plans by the government to acquire a loan, even after the Senate had already rejected a similar move.The senators are Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans, Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central); his colleague from Kaduna North, Suleiman Hunkuyi (APC); and Danjuma La'ah (PDP, Kaduna South).

A joint statement by the senators reads in part: "Information available to us confirms the resort by Kaduna State government to seek other routes in obtaining loans, local and international. Such efforts being made through private finance management companies may have to do with the failure of the state government to secure the disapproved $350m earlier this year. Banks and finance managers are in their own interest and the wider interest of the general public in Kaduna State advised to not only seek approval of the Kaduna State legislature but also turn to the Debt Management Office for correct indices and reports of the current debt status of the Kaduna State Government."

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