Senate Canvasses Special Funding for Security


Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The level of insecurity in the country was x-rayed wednesday as the Senate engaged the nation’s security chiefs led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonishakin, in a four-hour close-door security dialogue in Abuja.

The session, which lasted from 12.30p.m. to 4.30p.m. was presided over by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and had in attendance the Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Lawal Daura and representatives of the three service chiefs and that of the Inspector-General of Police.

Speaking at the end of the security briefing, the senate president said the meeting was convened due to the growing public concern about the activities of Boko Haram insurgents, kidnappings and other security challenges facing the country.

According to him, the essence of the security briefing was to fashion out how best to address the growing security challenge once and for all.

On the part of the Senate, Saraki promised that all outstanding security bills before it would be addressed with utmost dispatch “with a view to strengthening the nation’s security apparatus.”
He said the Senate observed the issue of underfunding of security agencies and agreed that there is need for special funding for them to be able to carry out their mandates.

“We have therefore given the security agencies two weeks to present their needs to the Senate so that we can look into these urgent security desires.

Saraki further said the Senate and the security agencies expressed their commitment towards ending the unfortunate trend of killings across the country “especially through effective coordination of the security agencies.

“Senate also resolved to find ways to strengthen that aspect of security through constitutional means.”

According to the senate president, “We have agreed to work together in addressing the security challenges and we expect changes and actions to be seen in this area in a couple of weeks.”

Shedding more light on the special funding request by the security agencies, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Information, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, told journalists that since the 2018 budget had been passed by the National Assembly, such financial commitment would have to come in form of supplementary budget proposal from the executive.

According to him, we would expect that such request for special security funding would be in form of supplementary budget which we expect to receive from the executive arm in a matter of weeks.
“Let me assure you that the legislative arm would be willing to work together with the executive in surmounting these serious security challenges,” the Senate spokesman further said.