UPDATE: Declare state of emergency on security, Reps tell Buhari
•Insurgents will one day chase us out of Chambers ― Minority leader
Worried by the continued killings of innocent Nigerians by the Boko Haram sect, the House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on the nation’s security.
This followed the adoption of a motion of urgent National Public importance on the recent attack on travellers at Auno village along that Damaturu/Maiduguri road, Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents, sponsored by Majority Chief Whip, Hon. Mohammed Monguno at the plenary.
While reviewing the circumstances that led to the recent killing of the victims, the House urged the military to henceforth stop the practice of keeping commuters overnight at a particular period and allow them to proceed on their journey after 6.00 pm.
In his lead debate, Hon. Monguno who decried the killing of about 30 persons by the insurgents at a military checkpoint where they were kept by the military who closed the road and refused them from entering Maiduguri once it is past 6.00pm.
According to him, “the House is again aware that on Sunday 9 February, 2020, while commuters in their hundreds are waiting in the Auno village, the military men left them to their faith or at best abandoned them.
“The House is disturbed that while the commuters were waiting to spend the night, Boko Haram Insurgents attacked, kidnapped and burnt some of their vehicles.
“The House observed that the occupants of two Hummer Buses and one Sharon Bus were Kidnapped, 18 vehicles burnt and 30 people killed including an infant.
“The House is also concerned that no super Military camp exist on the Damanturu-Maiduguri Road, hence exposing the commuters to the danger of being killed, maimed or kidnapped.
“The House expresses regret that keeping commuters in waiting in the night is dangerous in view of this security challenges in the North-East Zone on Nigeria”.
Speaking in favour of the motion, Hon. Ahmed Jaha disclosed that among the vehicles that were trapped at the checkpoint was a tanker belonging to the military and conveying petroleum products to Maiduguri.
He queried the rationale behind the detention of the military truck which he alleged was left at the mercies of the insurgents.
Hon. Jaha alleged that the checkpoint was closed by the Army 15 minutes before the scheduled time, leaving the travellers stranded, while the soldiers on duty went away to return the following day.
While insisting that the attack on the travellers was avoidable and preventable, Hon. Jaha blamed the failure of intelligence gathering for the attack adding that prior to the attack, there were information making the roundabout the movement for the insurgents from one village to the other.
He said it was painful for leaders to stay in their comfort zone while their people are slaughtered, saying “this issue is of nation importance. It is the northeast today. Nobody know where it will affect next.”
Hon. Jaha also frowned at the decision of the authorities of Nigerian Army over the introduction of super camps in the area and closing checkpoints while withdrawing soldiers to those special camps to wait for attacks by the insurgents.
In his intervention, Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu argued that it was inhuman for the military to close the road and abandon their duty post without security for travellers and emphasised the earlier resolution of the House calling on the Service Chiefs to resign or be fired.
While expressing concern over a trending video of some soldiers who were complaining of ill-treatment via social media, the Minority Leader chided relevant authorities for failing to address the issue appropriately.
Hon. Elumelu who harped on the need for deliberate action towards addressing various security challenges facing the country, lamented that: “our brothers and sisters are being slaughtered daily in the North East.
According to him, “my worry is that one day, we will be chased out of this chamber. It is high time the right thing is done. Nigerians voted for President Buhari because he promised to protect them. I still stand by the House resolution that the Service Chiefs should go because they have outlived their usefulness.”
The House resolve among other things to direct the Military Authority to henceforth stop keeping commuters overnight at a particular period on the Damaturu-Maiduguri Road and to allow them proceed on their journeys even after 6:00pm.
The House also mandated the House Committees on Army; National Security and Intelligence to investigate the remote causes of the attack, while the Committee on Army should investigate the setting up of super camps and withdrawal of military from checkpoints.
The House also called for the investigation of low morale of military personnel serving in the North East.