Senate calls for sack of service chiefs

THE Senate at its plenary on Tuesday called for the immediate transitional removal of service chiefs on the grounds that they have overstayed in office and are now bereft of new ideas to combat the insurgents and insurgency across the nation.

In addition, the Senate passed the verdict that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government has lost its legitimacy for its inability to adequately manage the affairs of the nation especially in terms of securing lives and property.

The Senate gave this verdict while reacting to the massacre of 67 farmers in their farmland on Saturday while calling for urgent steps to ensure the menace is tackled.

Further in its deliberation on a motion sponsored by the Senator representing Borno Central and the former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima, titled ‘Beheading of 67 Farmers in Borno by Boko Haram insurgents, the Senate further observed that whatever it is that the military is doing is not working and if the President thinks that the security men are doing their jobs well, then the logical implication of such assumption is that the President, as the constitutional Commander-in-Chief of the country, has failed in his most rudimentary assignment of securing the country.

Senator Kashim in arguing his motion said attacks on farmers were deliberately being orchestrated to  destroy the economy of the poor people and wondered how the Nigerian military would continue to use the same tactics that overtime has not produced any result.

He pointed out that President Buhari and the service chiefs must take responsibility for the failure which led to the killings especially as they had the constitutional mandate to secure lives and property and also ensure the welfare of the people in the face of continuous insecurity.

“I hope this was not the case and I fervently believe that this is not the case. I believe that the President has good intentions of the nation any heart and is committed. We cannot as a nation move forward until the life of all Nigerians is protected and secure as the primary objective of government is the security and protection of its citizens.

“Protecting the lives and property of citizens is the primary responsibility of government and any government that cannot discharge this obligation loses any iota of legitimacy,” the Senate said.

Further in its resolutions, the Senate reiterated the call for the sacking of the service chiefs whom it said lacked new and solution-driven idea into decimate Boko Haram insurgents and other issues of insecurity in Nigeria. The Senate “urges the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to immediately initiate a transitionary process of phasing out the currently overstayed security chiefs and replacing them with new ones with new ideas and solutions. The President should take immediate steps to restructure, remodel and remove the entire security architecture and provide enough state-of-the-art weapons and equipment to adequately combat the belligerent power of the insurgent.”

It “urged the President to immediately initiate hope by looking into widespread allegation on corruption and leakages in the security structure and put mechanism in place to foster transparency and ensure all resources meant and deployed on security are actually spent on the needs in ground.”

The Senate also impressed it on the Federal Government to aggressively explore multilateral and bilateral forms of partnerships with neighbouring nations of Chad and Cameroon with the view towards reviving and strengthening the multinational joint task force and finding a lasting solution to the cause of insurgency in the Lake Chad region.

It asked the government to as a matter of urgency recruit at least 10,000 civilian JTF versatile with the local terrain in Borno and its agro regions under the aegis of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps to complement the effort of the Nigerian Armed forces. Direct NEMA and NEDC to provide succour and psychological support to the bereaved families include the ministry of humanitarian Affairs to compensate the families of 67 farmers.

It also asked the Federal Government to provide proper welfare and security to personnel fighting in the front lines and give prime attention to the compensation of fallen soldiers as this would boost soldiers’ morale and aid their concentration. It suggested that as part of finding long term solution to Nigeria’s existential security challenges, the federal and state governments should adequately address all remote and immediate causes of insecurity in the nation, adding that this must include comprehensive package for rehabilitation, employment and other social vices.

Senator Shetimma also pushed for the probing of funding to the Nigerian military, adding that, “Dear colleagues, I am not a fool, I know the consequence of unveiling a masquerade; they will unleash their foot soldiers and pundits, just for merely asking for a probe of the financing that is being advanced to the Nigerian Military establishment.”

Corroborating this stand, Senator Ahmed Keita, the representative of President Buhari in the Senate, also said military funding must be investigated because if the matter was not addressed, there might be another massacre and round of mourning in the future. Keita added that a similar situation played out in Katsina where over 38 people were killed randomly in various communities, emphasising that this underscores the need for action as there are other cases of violent killings in the country.

He explained that while he was convinced that the President was doing his best but the effort did not translate into tangible result of public safety.

“I believe that the President is doing his best. But his best is not enough when you cannot see the result on ground, this is what is happening,” Keita said.

The Senator representing Kebbi Central, Adamu Aliero, also added that the government encouraged farmers to go to their farms as part of its diversification process to use agriculture to grow the economy and for Nigerians to rely on locally-produced food, adding that for these farmers who heeded the presidential counsel to be brutally murdered was condemnable.

In his contribution, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele from Ekiti Central said, “where a government is deemed to be in breach of Section 14:1b of the constitution to let these service chiefs go and if Mr. president will not remove them, we call on these service chiefs to in the overriding public interest resign.”

The Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, in his concluding remarks on the resolutions of the Senate said the National Assembly had a lot of responsibility on this and the death of the 67 farmers in Borno should become a turning point to end insecurity in the country.

According to him, it is time to stop giving excuses and people who fail to deliver on their mandate especially security operatives that should take the centre stage must be shown the way out.

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