Worried by alleged reports of the planned invasion of the National Assembly by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents, the House of Representatives on Tuesday directed the NASS management to immediately step up security in around the NASS complex.
The House also mandated the committee on internal security to begin a full investigation into the alleged reports so as not to be caught unaware.
The directive followed the adoption of a motion moved by a member, Rep. Shehu Barwa Beji, under urgent national importance titled, “Calling for the need to urgently overhaul and intensify the National Assembly security system” at the plenary presided over by the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila.
Gbajabialmila directed the NASS management to evolve installation of CCTV cameras and modern scanning systems at the gates and strategic points of the National Assembly complex.
The House further mandated the NASS management to introduce screening and registration and issuance of Identity cards to vendors who conduct businesses within the complex.
The House, in addition, called on the National Assembly management to make provision for more shuttle buses in tandem with passengers in the National Assembly to decongest the roadsides of the National Assembly.
While moving the motion, Beji said, “the House notes the recent reportage on page 3 of the Daily Trust newspaper of 13 February 2020 indicating that Boko Haram terrorists may attack the National Assembly according to intelligence report gathered by the management.
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“Recall that barely a few months ago precisely at the tail of the year 2019, the National Assembly complex was attacked by certain resented religious group culminating into loss of lives and properties.
“From the previous attack under reference, the security apparatus of the National Assembly is obviously below the threshold required for its protection.
“The degree of insecurity in the country speaks volume of the likelihood of such an attack in a greater magnitude if we fail to be proactive.”
He expressed worry that “a terrorist attack on an institution like the National Assembly, which is the constitutional voice of the people, will be an international eyesore on Nigeria’s democracy given the fact that persons from different kingdoms, chiefdoms and empires, who officially visit the National Assembly including innocent school kids who come on excursion could be affected by the ugly event.”
He also noted that according to the intelligence report, “strange persons have been around the National Assembly complex and if confronted at the gate of the complex, they were quick to claim to be constituents of the lawmakers either at the Senate or House of Representatives.”
According to him, “concerned that in the face of the facelessness of terrorists, the security apparatus of the National Assembly and its environs require a total overhaul.
“Co-operation of honourable colleagues and distinguished senators is imperative in the circumstance given the fact that the influx of strangers into the National Assembly Complex has been linked to us.”
The lawmaker observed that compromise by certain security personnel in the form of receiving tokens from strangers in order to grant them free access into the premises poses a serious security threat to the National Assembly complex and its environs.
According to him, “the Intelligence Unit of the National Assembly deserves commendation for gathering the information at hand, yet more strategies need to be evolved to prevent any attack on the National Assembly
“Also observes that unnecessary delay in issuance of Staff Identity Cards compromises security standards of the National Assembly
“Concerned that the National Assembly security system has no means of identification for vendors who carry out businesses within the National Assembly precinct.
“Also concerned that the capacity of the National Assembly shuttle buses is way below the population in need of shuttle services, consequently making the roadsides overcrowded, which is another threat to security.”
When the motion was put into voice vote by the Speaker, it was unanimously supported by the lawmakers.