UPDATE: Declare state of emergency on security, Senate urges Buhari
• Sets up ad-hoc committee to report back two weeks
The Senate, today, resolved to urge President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on the state of insecurity in the country to enable all stakeholders to put their hands on deck to tackle the myriad of security challenges bedevilling Nigeria.
The upper legislative chamber also resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to engage security agencies and report back to the Senate within two weeks.
The seventeen man committee will be chaired by the Leader of the Senate, Abdullahi Yahaya, who moved the motion on “Nigeria Security Challenges: Urgent need to restructure, review and re-organize the current Security Architecture, co-sponsored by 107 Senators.
The red legislative chamber which lived to its promise to discuss the security situation, Wednesday, also want the special committee to engage the national security adviser on the implementation modalities of the December 2019 national security strategies.
It also said the committee should engage the National Security Institution to discuss their operational structures, funding, equipment and staff disposition with a view to reviewing the national security architecture to make it more responsive in tackling the myriad security challenge facing the nation and the people.
The Senate also summoned the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar Adamu, to appear before the Senate at plenary to brief the Senate on the concept and physical modalities of community policing, policies on Wednesday, 5th February 2020.
But the Senate cautioned Nigerians on the willingness to compliance by the President Muhammadu Buhari led executive government.
According to Lawan: “As we represent people here we must not shy away from what affects their lives. The reality is that today, the security of our people is the issue that concerns almost every single Nigerian.
“There is nothing we can do better than to discuss it and find solutions to the issues at stake.
“This is not something we can do alone, we have to work with the executive arm of government. Mr President himself has been working very hard to ensure that the security is there to protect the lives of our people.
“It has come to a point that the legislature would have to intervene and ensure that we give the necessary legislative intervention and support to the executive arm of government.
“So what we have done today is first and easy step, probably the most difficult step is the next step. We have passed resolutions now, the second step is for the ad-hoc committee members to work assiduously to ensure that they finished their work within two weeks.
“That will be the second step, the third step will be then implementation, in that case, we have to work even much more closely with the executive arm of government those this that we resolved on.
“Let me say this, we should prepare our mind to know that it is not everything we resolved on that is going to be operated.
“We pray that whatever we resolve on is a resolution that will bring solution. The executive may have their own opinion on the way forward so, there will be need for us to marry the two-position between us and them to ensure that the lives of Nigerians are well protected.
Earlier in his contribution to the debate the Senate Minority leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said the government of Nigeria should resign following its inability to keep Nigeria safe especially as it promised to do so and was elected in 2015 and 2019.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that he was surprised at the rate of insecurity in the country was indeed perplexing to him and Nigerians.
Speaking in Nigerian’s Pidgin English, he said: “Mr President, this your surprise, surprise me.”
He maintained that continued rise of insecurity and the apparent helplessness of the ruling All Progressives Congress-led federal government, Nigerians may be compelled to take to party’s advise while it was campaigning, that it be stoned by the people.
He said the government has deceived Nigerians for long and the reality must be addressed.
His words: “We are very serious here, this is a matter of life and death, Boko Haram has been defeated, Nigeria is now safer, everything was being done to make sure the hard work that supposed to be done in securing Nigeria was not done because certain people did not do their work but preferred to cover the eyes of Nigerians with propaganda.
“All the times that we wasted in Nigeria, trying to find all these excuses for non-performance has now come to stare at us in the face.
“Reality is no respecter of persons and it is the reality we are facing now. Senate Sani Musa was shouting every day that his people were being killed in Niger, we just took one, a student was murdered by a Boko Haram person in full glare of everybody, and the Boko Haram person is somebody not up to 9years and we are told that they have been defeated. To go to the fact of what do we do?
“We have read on the pages of newspapers today where you have suggested, the paper quoting you to say well we are going to call the IG, we are going to talk on Community policing, we are going on that way.
“Nigerians did not elect the IG, we did not elect the chief of staff, we did not elect the joint chiefs, we did not elect the national security adviser, we elected the Government of APC in 2015 and reelected them in 2019. The reason we reelected them was that they continued to tell us that they had the key to security and Nigeria voted them in 2015, I agree with that.
“When you want to deal with a matter you go to the head, so we will go to the Government and ask this Government to resign because they can no longer do anything.
“In conclusion, Yes Nigerians voted a Government into power and that government even say if we don’t do well stone us, we are going to take stones to stone them now .”
The Minority Leader’s reminder of the implication of the party’s failure in view of her campaign in the past provoked Senator Abdullahi Adamu and former governor of Nasarawa State.
Adamu said the statement was irresponsible of a leader in the Senate and wondered why the President of the Senate did not stop him.
Deliberation on security at plenary also took another turn with many senators calling for the establishment of state police.
In his contribution to the debate, Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi (Ekiti North) said the time is ripe for the establishment of state police and noted it was inevitable in view of the prevailing security situation.
He said the time has proven that Monopoly breeds abuse and incompetence which he noted explains the constraints of a centralised police system.
He said any state that does not need state police should contract the federal police for the security of her people while those interested should go on with it.
According to him, Nigerians is democracy and the state governments have rights to evolve measures to secure their people. He said it is a change that has come.
Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (Taraba Central) maintained that the political class and the business class have failed the nation by personalising policing to the detriment of community policing which would benefit the people.
According to him, the situation has become so bad that policemen have respect for the individual politician and money bag than the institution.
According to Yusuf: “The whole issue is the failure of the political class and the business class who have insisted on using the police.
“Why do we have a police service commission, because most of us here carry one policeman or the other.
“We have become paranoid of the security situation in the country. Everybody is going and looking at his side thinking that we have need for police by my side.
“We have personalised policing to the extent that we undermined community policing and made it subservient to personal policing to the extent that the police have no respect for the institution as they do for individuals.
“Until we reform the police, depoliticised the police and demilitarised the police and communalise police, we cannot get it in the direction we want.