[UPDATE] Insecurity: Reps demand immediate resignation of service chiefs
• Urge President Buhari to appoint new hands
The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, unanimously asked nation’s Service Chiefs to immediately resign their positions.
The house said that President Muhammadu Buhari should sack the Service Chiefs if they fail to resign.
The resolution was passed after about three hours debate on a motion of ‘Urgent public importance on the ‘Need to curb the incessant attacks of the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East Zone,’ sponsored by the Majority Chief Whip, Hon. Mohammed Monguno and 14 other lawmakers.
The lawmakers who spoke during the heated debate including Hon. Jimi Benson, Hon. Beni Lar, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, Hon Ndudi Elumelu, Hon Sada Soli, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, Hon. Abubakar Fulata, passed the vote of no confidence on the incumbent Service Chiefs over their failure to a proffer lasting solution to the lingering security challenges which had led to the death of millions of innocent Nigerians across the country since 2015 when they were appointed by the President.
In his lead debate, Hon. Monguno, who frowned at the failure of the Service Chiefs to sustain the achievements recorded in tackling the insurgent activities, especially in Yobe and Borno States, expressed grave concern over the recent upsurge in attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East zone.
He explained that previous successes recorded by the security agencies led to increased economic activities within the North-East zone, adding that regrettably, the insurgents who were relegated to the background “are now unleashing terror in Borno and Yobe States unabated.”
According to him: “recently, the insurgents have forced the Nigerian Military to close traffic on the Damaturu-Maiduguri Road for some days. The Damaturu-Maiduguri Road is the only access from Maiduguri to other parts of Nigeria.”
Speaking authoritatively on the motion, Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Hon. Jimi Benson, who earlier observed that the extant laws allowed the President to keep the Service Chief as long as he wishes, however, expressed concern over recent developments in the country.
According to him, “the National Security Adviser is from the North East and cannot get to his village. The Chief of Army Staff is also from the North East and cannot get to his village. The Chief of Air staff too. That speaks volume of their ability.
“But the solution lies in the hand of the President. I don’t know why he has kept them since 2015 when they were first appointed.
“He (Buhari) should decide whether to continue to keep them or not. I believe the resolution here will prick his conscience.”
In his contribution, Hon. Abubakar Fulata who called for the withdrawal of security personnel serving in the North-East harped on the need to replace them with new personnel.
He alleged that the long overstay of the security personnel has largely contributed to their inefficiency as they were tired of remaining there.
On his part, Chairman, House Committee on Army, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas described the upsurge in attacks by Boko Haram in the North East and increasing insecurity in across the country as worrisome.
He, however, opposed the idea of removing all the Nigerian Army personnel currently serving in the region, saying their experience was still needed to assist those that will be sent to work there.
While noting that the 1999 constitution (as amended) allows the President to invite the Military to intervene in the internal security of the nation, Hon. Namdas stressed the need to re-train and equip the Nigeria Police to properly handle internal security in the country.
While venting his view, Hon. Francis Waive, who queried the efficiency of the Service Chiefs over the past 5 years, urged them to resign, stressing that the President should take another look at the Service Chief with a view to replacing them with fresh hands who will bring fresh ideas into the security system in the country.
Hon, Beni Lar argued that the North-Eastern part of the country has gradually been brought to a standstill with the resurgence in activities of Boko Haram, stressing that the lawmakers cannot sit back and watch as if nothing was happening.
She questioned the intelligence gathering mechanism of the military which she said appear to be lacking, adding that Boko Haram appears to be ahead of the Nigerian military in terms of intelligence gathering.
Hon. Tobi Okechukwu said the nation needs to interrogate how it conducts the business of security in the country, questioning why the government should be investing heavily on trader moni when there is no money to adequately fund the security agencies.
Hon. Ndudi Elumelu in his contribution wants more investment in equipment for the security agencies, stressing that there was no way you can ask policeman to rescue you when he is poorly equipped.
He said there were a lot of things going on in the country which needed urgent intention, adding that unless there “is a truth commission where Nigerians, especially officers of the security agencies can come and speak the truth about what is going on, the nation can never end insurgency.”
He alleged that some Nigerians were making money out of the system and would not want the insurgency to end, questioning however the capacity and motivation of the security agents to carry on with the fight.
The Minority Leader maintained that the Service Chiefs were not showing a good example and have outlived their usefulness, adding that “the best thing for them to do is to take a bow and go. If you don’t know when to leave, then you will be eased out.”
He said Nigerians must be told that some people are feeding fat on the system, adding that “people are stealing money and not doing what they are supposed to do”.
Also speaking, Hon. Sada Soli argued that the President was not being told the truth about developments in the North East.
In amending the original motion, Francis Waive asked the House to demand the immediate resignation of the Service Chiefs, while some other members wanted the President to immediately sack them.
The House also resolved that the leadership of the House and indeed the National Assembly should hold a tripartite meeting with the President and the Service Chiefs with a view to finding a lasting solution to the security challenges.