Boko Haram: Again, Senate asks Buhari to sack service chiefs for ‘failure’

The Senate has once again called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the “over-stayed” service chiefs and replace them with new ones with new ideas and solutions.

The upper chamber also urged the president to provide enough state-of-the-art weapons and equipment to effectively combat the insurgents.

The senators also urged the president to immediately initiate probe into widespread allegations of corruption and leakages within the security and put in place measures to foster transparency and ensure all resources meant and deployed for security are actually spent on the needs on ground.

The Senate made the resolutions after a debate on a motion titled “Beheading of 67 farmers in Borno by Boko Haram Insurgents: Need for urgent decisive action” moved by Kashim Ibrahim (APC – Borno Central) at the plenary on Tuesday.

The federal lawmakers impressed on the government to seek collaboration with neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon towards reviving and strengthening the Multinational Joint Task Force and finding a lasting solution to the scourge of insurgency in the Lake Chad region.

They urged the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, recruit at least 10,000 Civilian JTF conversant with the local terrain in Borno as Agro-Rangers under the aegis of the NCDSC to complement the efforts of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

It also tasked the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and NEDC to provide succour and psychological support to the bereaved families.

It also called on the Federal Government to provide proper welfare for security personnel fighting in the frontlines and give prime attention to the compensation and welfare of fallen soldiers as that would boost the soldiers morale and aid their concentration.

As a way of proffering long term solution, the red chamber challenged the Federal and State Governments to adequately address all immediate and remote causes of insecurity in the nation.

These, they said, must include comprehensive packages on education, employment and other social vices.

Read Also: Senate President leads FG delegation to Borno over rice farmers killing

In the lead debate, Shettima lamented that Borno State had been the epicenter of the despicable activities of Boko Haram for over a decade during which a conservative estimate of 40,000 people mostly unarmed civilians were brutally murdered.

He stated that about “2.5 million people were displaced from their homes and farms with property worth trillions of naira wantonly destroyed and over 7 million people mostly women and children plunged into dire humanitarian needs.”

He informed the Senate that the fight to control the border axis of the North-East had claimed thousands of lives (military and civilians).

He recalled that over the weekend, Boko Haram insurgent members beheaded 67 farmers who had gone to a rice plantation at Kwashabe village in Zabarmari District of Borno state.

He observed that the attack was one of the major attacks perpetrated by the devilish group in addition to the February attack in Auno that killed 40 people, the assault in Foduma Koloram village of Gubio that killed almost 100 civilians in last June while another attack in Usman Lawanti left another 40 dead.

Shettima said the spate of the attacks showed the service chiefs had failed, calling for their replacement.

According to him, while Nigerian army’s Super Camp strategy has commendably helped in reducing military fatalities, it has left rural areas, farms and road acutely exposed to attacks;

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

“We cannot as a nation move forward until the lives of every Nigerian is protected and secured as the primary objective of government is the security and the protection of its citizens. Protecting the lives and property of citizens is the primary obligation of government and any government that cannot discharge this basic obligation losses any iota of legitimacy.”

Contributing, Senator Baba Kaita (Katsina North), said thehe time for truth had come.

He said, “Day in, day out, this thing keep repeating itself; something is fundamentally wrong.”

Kaita expressed sadness that 34 people were killed by the insurgence in similar fashion last week in Katsina state.

He demanded probe into spendings of monies released to the military because there wasnothing to justify the huge budget.

“I know the president is doing his best but the best not enough if we can’t see the result. Each time we give money; the more money we give, the more the problems,” he said.

Senator Ali Ndume (APC – Borno South) said the military had not justified the huge budget appropriated to them over the years.

He said, “You gave money to people, they don’t have arms. Up till now people at war front are still sharing arms. Some of them not well kitted, no bullet proof vest, no helmet.

“I have not seen an army carrying new AK47, it is only in Abuja you see them may be guards of honour.”

He lamented that the insurgents had become more emboldened that mount checkpoints for toll collection and ask farmers to pay before they could be allowed to harvest their produce.

“If this government is serious, they can stop Boko Haram in six months. What is the pride (that government can’t hire mercenaries)?

He also lamented poor coordination and synergy among the armed forces.

“There should be a timeline, if they (service chiefs) can’t get the problem solved, they should get out. Army moves, no area coverage by Air Force.”

Ndume demanded federal government to pay compensation to families of victims for failure to protect their lives as stated in the constitution.

He noted that the situation had become worse that security agencies had started advising families to negotiate with kidnappers and pay ransom.

Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC – Ekiti Central) said, “It is time for President to allow service chiefs to go. If the president believes so much in them, he should constitute them into a presidential advisory council.

“Budgeting money to fight to fight insurgence cannot be a routine. If the president will not do so, the service chiefs should honourably resign.”

Also speaking, Senator Adamu Aliero (APC – Kebbi Central) said the service chiefs had outlived their usefulness.

According to him, the country achieved better results when mercenaries were engaged.

Besides, he said the President should have visited Borno state personally on a condolence visit and assess level of damages done.

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, expressed optimism that the resolutions would be accepted and implemented by the executive.

He said, “Enough of excuses, people who have little or nothing to add should be shown the way out. The time has come for the executive and judiciary to find solutions to insecurity. I believe the executive will receive the solution and ensure they are respected and implemented.”

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