The House of Representatives on Wednesday condemned the rising insecurity in the country, especially the recent killings in Benue, Taraba and Plateau States as they demanded the immediate removal of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd.) and Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd.).
The lawmakers, who stated this at the plenary, also alleged that security agents were aiding bandits and other criminals, adding that huge security funds were not being justified.
They also alleged that the security chiefs were benefitting from insecurity in the country because of the huge funds being allocated to the defence sector.
On Sunday, no fewer than 70 people were killed when gunmen attacked Kanam and Wase communities in Plateau State.
On Monday, 25 people were killed in Guma and Tiortyu local government areas of Benue State.
Disturbed by the killings, the Chairman of the House Committee on Navy, Yusuf Gagdi, moved a motion of urgent public importance titled ‘Terrorist Attacks on Kanam and Wase Communities of Plateau State,’ while Messrs Bem Mzondu and John Dyegh moved a separate motion of urgent public importance on killings in Benue State.
Gagdi noted that the first responsibility of any government was the security of lives and the welfare of the people.
He stated, “Nigerians are being killed on a daily basis. We have a President. We have governors. We have the National Assembly, we have Senators and Representatives put together. Who is responsible for the safety and security of lives and property of the people of this country? Of course, without any fear of political misrepresentation, it is Mr President.
“Is our President aware of what is happening to the people of this country? Is he holding the strategic operational commanders responsible for the failure in the protection of lives and property of the people of this country?
Gagdi further lamented that the National Assembly had kept appropriating more funds for the security forces, while nobody was held accountable for the growing insecurity in the nation.
A soldier who was supposed to be in Zamfara was giving uniform to bandits in Plateau -Deputy Speaker
The Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, who presided over the session, alleged that some personnel of the military and paramilitary agencies were aiding and abetting criminals.
The Deputy Speaker said there was an early warning about the attacks on Plateau communities, which he raised on the floor of the House via a motion and which was debated by the lawmakers.
He said, “I have visited where I am not supposed to go because I believe I have the responsibility as a leader to go and make a case and present – write letters – informing these security agencies of what is going on in the area. In my own village alone, 32 houses are housing displaced persons. My primary school has been taken over.”
Wase said it had been discovered that more attacks were recorded in communities with higher economic potential especially where there were natural resources.
He faulted figures being quoted as the number of those killed, noting that there had been mass burials while bodies were being picked from the forests.
Wase said, “In my own community, we had a soldier who was supposed to be in Zamfara given a pass consecutively for six months. He was arrested (for) giving uniforms to the bandits. Till this moment, he has not been ‘court-martialed’. If his station was in Zamfara and he was found in Plateau at the same time, who was giving him the pass and what is their interest in giving a security agent a six-month pass?
“Another one was arrested from the same community with ammunition. Until this moment, I don’t know… Even when we raised the motion, it was sufficient for the security (agencies) to act but they were adamant.
“Among the people that were arrested were their (attackers’) informants and collaborators. One was communicating with them (community) from the detention camp and telling them (the people) that he was going to go out. At the end of the day, he got out. When he got out, his wife was arrested with drugs.”
Security chiefs benefiting from insecurity, Rep alleges
Another lawmaker , Fatuhu Mohammed, alleged that those in charge of the security outfits in the country were benefitting from the crises. He also stated that while Buhari, as the President of Nigeria, should be held responsible, “we have to look at our structural problem.”
Mohammed, while calling for better oversight by the National Assembly, stated, “When it is appropriation period, we don’t take things very seriously.” He added, “These people will come and present their budgets and move on and we give money to them. There is no oversight. How do you expect us to checkmate them?”
The lawmaker alleged, “It is business. They know there is no military coup. The only way they can make money is through this. How will they want the security issues to end? I don’t understand what is happening in this country.”
Commenting, Chairman of the House Committee on Police Affairs, Usman Kumo, on his part called for the removal of the NSA and the defence minister.
He stated, “If the President means well for this country, and if we are really trying to look for a solution, he has to immediately sack the National Security Adviser. Two, he has to remove his Minister of Defence.”