Boko Haram mounts checkpoints, collects levies Borno, says Senate

By AdvocateNews on 02/12/2020

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…as lawmakers demand return of mercenaries

The Senate on Tuesday said that the security situation had deteriorated to a level, where Boko Haram mounted roadblocks in some parts of Borno  State and collected levies from farmers.

The senate again asked President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the country’s security architecture by sacking the service chiefs over their failure to secure Nigerians.

The upper chamber’s call for the service chiefs’ removal was the third by the Senate.

The latest call followed a motion by Senator Kashim Shettima on the recent killing of  rice farmers in Borno State by the Boko Haram  insurgents.

Since Saturday when the Boko Haram insurgents killed no fewer than 43 rice farmers in the state, service chiefs have come under attack by Nigerians, who have demanded their removal.

The lawmakers also demanded a probe into the allegations of corruption levelled against some military leaders.

The red chamber also stressed the need to urgently recruit 10, 000 personnel into the civilian joint task force because they would know their areas.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who presided over the session, lamented the recent killing.

Lawan said, “It is now important that the executive should implement the latest resolutions because they are not frivolous.

“Enough of excuses. Those who have nothing to offer in terms of securing the country, should be shown the way out.  The security of Nigerians should take the centre stage. Time has come to find a solution.”

In his contribution, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Opeyemi Bamidele, said if the President should retain the service chiefs, he should retire them and constitute them into a presidential advisory council on security.

In the motion, Shettima noted that if Buhari refused to sack the non-performing service chiefs, it then meant that he had also failed in his responsibilities as commander-in-chief.

“Whatever it is that the present security chiefs are doing, is not working or at least not enough.

“If the President insists that the security chiefs are doing their work well, then the logical implication of such assumption is that the President himself as the constitutional commander-in-chief of the country has failed in his most rudimentary assignment of securing the nation. I hope the latter is not the case.

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

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, who is from Bornu State, Ali Ndume, said the military should justify funds released  to it because the soldiers at the war front were poorly kitted.

He said, “Soldiers at the forefront of the operations are sharing ammunition.  They are not well kitted. Some of them don’t even have helmets  or bulletproof vests.

“They don’t have new AK-47 rifles at the war front. Insurgents have started demanding levies to allow farmers into farms.

“Boko Haram has started mounting roadblocks. If the Federal Government is serious, we could wipe out insurgency within six months.”

The Senators who contributed at plenary also demanded the return of foreign mercenaries to fight the insurgency.

Ndume said, “In the past, we had intervention in form of mercenaries which we rejected .We should stand up and do what it takes to secure our land.”

The senators also wondered why Buhari did not personally visit Borno State but resolved to send a delegation to commiserate with the beleaguered people

Also, at the plenary on Tuesday, the representative of the President  in the Senate, Baba Kaita, said Buhari had failed in his responsibility to secure Nigeria.

The Senator, who is representing Katsina North Senatorial District, stated this in his contribution during a debate on the motion moved by Shettima.

He also said the excuses for the poor performances of the military were no longer tenable.

Kaita condemned a statement credited to a presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, describing it as irresponsible.

He stated, “I totally believe the President is doing his own best but then doing your best is not enough when we cannot see the result on ground and this is what is happening.

“We cannot be mourning our citizens in and out every day. We cannot accept again the explanation coming from the military, every time there is an attack like this.”

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu,  said hiring and firing of service chiefs remained  prerogative of Buhari.

He said since their appointments were not tenured, they were free to remain in office once the President is satisfied with their performance.

Shehu said this in an interview with one of our correspondents amidst renewed calls for the sack of the service chiefs that trailed the last weekend’s killing of 43 rice farmers by insurgents in Borno State.

He said, “The answer has not changed. The same call was made during the time of Saraki (former President of the Senate.

“We have replied many times and our response has not changed. Service chiefs’ appointments are prerogatives of the President.

“Their appointments are not tenured, so the President can hire and fire. If the President feels satisfied with their performance, so be it.”

The presidential aide had, on Monday evening before the Senate joined in the call for the sack of the service chiefs, said a similar thing in an interview with Arise TV. – Punch.

Posted 02/12/2020 08:10:41 AM


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