Sectional Agitations, Crime Top Agenda as House, Service Chiefs Meet

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James Emejo in Abuja

The House of Representatives Tuesday engaged service chiefs in a closed-door executive session for about four hours at plenary over the security situation particularly the rising cases of kidnappings across the country.

After the meeting, which was chaired by the House Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, it afforded the various security establishments the opportunity to present their stance on the issues.

It was gathered that while the lawmakers empathised with the security agencies on their efforts and challenges, an agreement was further reached to boost funding for security as well as strengthen the House oversight functions.

Neither the leadership of the House nor the heads of security agencies obliged to speak to journalists in spite of the persistence.
The service chiefs specifically said they do not have the authorisation to speak on the issues discussed.

However, the Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulraman Dambazau (rtd), briefly said discussions centred on doing more to ensure the lives and property of Nigerians are well secured.
He said security issues are often classified and would not sgive details.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, said he was not authorised to speak on the issue.

Nevertheless, the House Chief Whip, Hon. Ado Dogowa, said the current agitations in the South-east and North as well as other parts of the country were discussed.
Also discussed were the issues of herdsmen attack, grazing among others.
But he would not give further insights as this could undermine security efforts.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Public Safety and Intelligence, Hon. Aminu Sani Jaji, described the interface between the House and service chiefs as normal, stressing that it provided an opportunity to get first-hand information on the matter.

He said going by their submissions, “the security agencies are doing their best and the National Assembly is doing its best in the issue of funding and oversight.”

He further promised that within a short while, the current security challenges will abate.
The meeting was attended by the Minister of Defence, Brig-General Mansur Muhammad Dan Ali (rtd), Minister of Interior, Abdulraman Dambazau (rtd), the service chiefs, the Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, and the Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.

It followed an earlier resolution by the lower chamber last week to summon the heads of security agencies in the wake of the spate of kidnappings in Kaduna, Lagos and other parts of the country.

The service chiefs reportedly made presentations to lawmakers to convince them on the measures so far adopted in tackling the grave security challenges facing the country.