The Nigerian Senate has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency declare a National Security Emergency to address the escalating challenges of insecurity faced by the country.
The call was made moments before the upper chamber adjourned plenary on Wednesday, and after an exhaustive debate on a motion on the urgent need to restructure, review and reorganize Nigeria’s current security architecture.
This was even as the upper chamber constituted an Ad-Hoc committee to immediately engage the National Security Adviser, Mohammed Babagana Monguno, and heads of Security Agencies with a view to curbing the rising spate of insecurity in the country.
Among heads of security agencies that the Ad-Hoc committee is expected to have an interface with are the Chief of Defense Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; and the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.
The composition of the Ad-Hoc Committee draws membership from the ranks of the Senate Leadership and Chairmen of relevant Committees on Security.
The members are: Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, Chairman; Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (Member); Deputy Chief Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi; Ali Ndume, Chairman, Committee on Army; Aliyu Wammako, Chairman, Committee on Defense; Bala Ibn Na’Allah, Chairman, Committee on Airforce; and George Thompson Sekibo, Chairman, Committee on Navy.
Others are: Ibrahim Gobir, Chairman, National Security and Intelligence; Haliru Jika Dauda, Chairman, Committee on Police; Kashim Shettima (Member); Kabiru Gaya (Member); Gershom Bassey (Member); Stella Oduah (Member); Abba Moro (Member); Ibikunle Amosun (Member); Yusuf A. Yusuf (Member); and Suleiman Abdu Kwari (Member).
Earlier, the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, who sponsored a motion on the need to review the country’s security architecture, lamented the recent upsurge of security challenges accompanied by the devastating loss of lives and properties.
The lawmaker, while calling on the Executive arm of government to implement the new national security strategy unfolded in December last year, advised that same must be operationalized in a manner that takes critical review of the nature, structure and disposition of security institutions, particularly the Police, Civil Defence, Intelligence, Customs and Immigration.
Abdullahi added that, “the various local, state and regional responses to these security challenges by way of self help initiative such as Civilian Joint Task Force, Hishba, Yausakai, Yanbanga and more recently, Amotekun, are mainly expression of people’s desperation and disappointment with the failure of the state security architecture to protect them”.
The lawmaker further stated that “the current structure, operational strategies, personnel training and disposition of these critical institutions has been outgrown by our contemporary security challenges.”
Abdullahi, however, said “measures and structural reforms are necessary in order to arrest the rapidly deteriorating internal security environment.”
Some Senators who took their turns to speak on the floor during the debate which lasted over three hours, called for the removal of the Service Chiefs who they faulted for running out of ideas on developing strategies needed to address Nigeria’s escalating security problems.
Other lawmakers, however, threw their weights behind the introduction of Community and State Policing as a remedial alternative to addressing the spate of insecurity in various states of the federation.
Senator Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi Central), while supporting claims that the Police force is overwhelmed by the country’s new security challenges, called for an amendment of the Constitution in line with providing for Community or State Policing to compliment the efforts of security agencies.
Accordingly, upper chamber mandated the Ad-Hoc committee to 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 to tackling the myriad security challenges faced by Nigeria.
It also urged the committee to produce a draft implementation modality and blueprint on the ways and means of tackling the current security challenges for the consideration of the upper chamber.