Concerned about worsening insecurity in the country, members of the House of Representatives recently alleged that security agents were aiding terrorists, writes Udora Orizu
At the plenary last week, members of the House of Representatives for the second time in two weeks passed a vote of no confidence on security agencies, accusing them of ignoring distress calls and aiding terrorists to attack innocent citizens.
Day-by-day, insecurity in the country keeps degenerating from bad to worse. No day goes by without news of terrorists attack in various communities across the country. On March 25, 2022, there was a horrific terrorists attack at the Kaduna International Airport, these armed men occupied the runway, hijacked the airport’s flight system and confronted military troops, the evil attack culminated in the death of a security guard of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency. Two days later, terrorists again attacked a Kaduna-bound train carrying hundreds of passengers, killing several and kidnapping others.
Last week, some gunmen attacked a police station at Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State killing four police officers and razing down the station. Same week, no fewer than 70 people were killed when gunmen attacked Kanam and Wase communities in Plateau State. Also 25 people were killed in Guma and Tiortyu local government areas of Benue State.
These recent attacks and senseless killings have called to question the capacity of the security agencies to secure lives and property. The horrific attacks have also called to question the complicity of the security agencies to these killings.
In 2021, Zamfara State elders during its meeting in Gusau, accused security agencies of releasing arrested bandits and their collaborators. A former Senator, Saidu Dansadau, who briefed reporters after the meeting, urged the law enforcement agencies to stop the act, citing it as one of the factors, responsible for the escalation of the insecurity in the state.
Also last year, Zamfara State House of Assembly at their plenary presided over by the deputy speaker, Musa Yankuzo, said security formations in the state often do not respond to distress calls from communities under attack by armed bandits.
In January last year, the Emir of Maru in Zamfara State attributed the lingering insecurity in the state, not just to the lethal weapons wielded by bandits, but to the activities of informants. Islamic scholar, Ahmad Gumi, during an interview on ARISE TV in June claimed that bandits operating in Nigeria were doing so in connivance with some security agents in the country.
Every legislative day in both chambers of the National Assembly, the lawmakers treat a security related motion or bill. They ensure prompt appropriation of funds in the annual budget for the security agencies with the hope that it will help them curb the menace. However despite all legislative interventions, the issue keeps escalating.
Following the terror attacks on Kaduna airport and train, the House of Representatives at the plenary expressed disappointment in the security agencies and federal government for failing in its constitutional mandate of protection of lives and properties. They therefore decided to beam searchlight on the activities of its standing committees on security, to see how effectively they are carrying out their oversight function on security agencies. The committees include, Navy, Army, Air Force, Defence, Interior, Police Affairs, Emergency Preparedness and National Security and Intelligence.
The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase who presided over the plenary session a three weeks ago, while noting that a lot needs to be done to stem the tide of insecurity, however wondered if one report has ever been turned in by Committee on National Security and Intelligence.
He therefore mandated the relevant security Committees of the House to step up their oversight functions as well as conclude the reports of their investigations.
Also, the Chief Whip of the House, Hon. Tahir Monguno frowned at the slow pace which the Committee on National Security and Intelligence carryout assignments.
Monguno said, “With regard to the committee, I can also recalled that the first Bill that was passed for second reading is my Bill, which is the Bill on small arms and light weapons. That Bill was referred to the national security committee, but up till now, there is no report. Up to the extent that had to go and appeal to Mr Speaker, which he had to set up an ad hoc committee. That is the extent the committee has not performed.”
Briefing journalists later, the House spokesman, Hon. Benjamin Kalu throwing more light on the comments made earlier by the presiding officer said
they are putting searchlight on the security committees and if any of them is found ineffective, they will be made to sit up.
Again, disturbed by the recent killings in Benue and Plateau states, the lawmakers condemned the federal government’s failure to secure lives and the lackadaisical attitude of security agencies. Passing a vote of no confidence on security agencies, they alleged that security agents were aiding bandits and other criminals, lamenting that huge security funds were not being justified. They also alleged that the security chiefs were benefitting from insecurity in the country because of the huge funds being allocated to the defence sector.
The lawmakers who made this known while contributing to two separate motions of urgent national importance on the recent massacre in the two states which led to the death of over hundred people and destruction of properties, demanded that in the best interest of the nation, President Muhammadu Buhari should sack the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.) and the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd.).
Chairman House Committee on Navy, Hon. Yusuf Gagdi (APC, Plateau), had while moving the motion on the terror attack in Kanam, Wase L.G.As, of Plateau State; was of the view that before people are killed one of the operational commandant must be responsible, who allowed that thing to happen, hence those who neglected their responsibility to the people must be held responsible.
According to him, “Who’s responsible is the question. We have governors, we have National Assembly members, who’s reap for the safety, security of lives and properties of the people of this country. Without fear of political misrepresentation, it’s Mr President. We must ask ourselves questions, insecurity issues will never be discussed correctly if you don’t detach political affiliation from it. Is Mr President aware of what is going on in this country. Before people are killed one of the operational commandant must be responsible, who allowed that thing to happen. Who are the various security agencies that are supposed to protect the lives of the people, of course, the armed forces, call them.
“We both vote money to these agencies every year and we provide supplementary budget to them. We must hold someone accountable, there must be someone somewhere that have neglected his responsibility. Either the President doesn’t hold the services accountable for protecting the lives of citizens of Nigeria and the services commandant too for not responding to security report and distress calls and allow Nigerians to be killed like animals. This is not acceptable. We must hold somebody responsible for failing in the discharge of the duties to Nigeria people.”
In his contribution, Hon. Bamidele Salam (PDP, Osun) lamented that information and earlier warnings given to security agencies and not acted upon, hence the lawmakers should to root of the matter to find out why.
He opined that there also appears to be absence of government from executive level, and the parliament must rise up to that responsibility.
He said, “We have come to a situation in this country where evil is perpetrated and no one is held accountable for the perpetration. We are the privileged class, we move around with convoys and security men, we are being paid to occupy this position of privilege by the sweat and taxes of some people. The part of this motion that touched me was the reference that there were early warning signals, information given to security agencies about the plans by some terrorists to attack innocent persons and this information were not acted upon by the security agencies. Is it that they feel the information is not important or that there are people they can’t touch, we must get to the root of this matter. This has to come to a stop, it appears there’s absence of government from executive level, the parliament must rise up to that responsibility.”
Also, Hon. Fatuhu Mohammed (APC, Katsina) said despite budgetary allocations, security agencies appears to be unwilling to do their job.
According to him, in his Daura constituency no security agent is willing to come out and do their job rather all they do is ask for money.
He advised his colleagues to step up on their oversight function so as to checkmate security agencies excesses.
On his part, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), who presided over the plenary session made reference to a situation when a soldier who was supposed to be stationed in Zamfara was given pass to his Wase community in Plateau and was caught distributing uniforms to bandits.
While accusing security agents of being adamant, the Deputy Speaker said they are part of the worsening insecurity.
He said, “This situation is not about politics, anyone that wants to politicize this is making a huge mistake. In my own community, we had a soldier who was supposed to be in Zamfara given pass for consecutively six months, giving uniform to the bandits. Till this moment he has not been taken to court. I want you to understand the complicity of security agencies in this matter. Why would you give your personnel six months pass? Even when we raise motions it’s sufficient for securities to act but they are adamant. Drastic actions must be taken against some officers.”
In his final remarks, the Deputy Speaker, Wase appealed to security agencies to do their job, and as well the several House Committees on security to ensure proper oversight, with timely report submission.
“Security agencies should do their job. House security Committees should also do their job, do your oversights, turn in your reports. We are about to go Easter break yet no reports yet. Accountability is a must. Have reflection on our actions and do the right thing. Security Committees should come back alive, track the money sent to all these security agencies,” Wase added
As alleged, if this heinous acts being meted out on innocent citizens by terrorists is being aided by some security agents who swore to protect lives and properties, the Federal Government and the legislature then have to take serious measures in addressing informants’ activities by these agents and ensure the culprits are brought to book. They must also follow up on the money appropriated, to ensure it’s well utilized and not misused or stolen.
Every legislative day in both chambers of the National Assembly, the lawmakers treat a security related motion or bill. They ensure prompt appropriation of funds in the annual budget for the security agencies with the hope that it will help them curb the menace. However despite all legislative interventions, the issue keeps escalatin