James Emejo in Abuja
The House of Representatives has passed a motion mandating all relevant security committees of the House to investigate the killings by armed bandits in Sokoto and report back within two weeks.
It further directed all the relevant security committees to investigate and give audit report on the exact number of manpower in all the security agencies in the country.
It also urged security agencies to increase their presence in the affected villages.
The resolution was sequel to a motion raised under matters of urgent national importance by Hon. Mr. Aminu Shagari (APC, Sokoto) on the dastardly attacks by armed bandits on some villages in Rabah Local Government Area of the state.
Shagari said some villages were attacked on Monday by armed bandits in broad day light, maiming and killing about 32 people and embarked on wanton destruction of properties.
The lawmaker said the attackers, prior to the incident, issued threat letters to the villagers warning them to pay some millions of naira or risk being attacked, adding that the invasion was carried out by about one hundred bandits on motor cycles using AK-47 assault rifles and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) suspected to be petrol bombs.
Shagari further raised concerns that if urgent security measures were not put in place to curb these nefarious attacks, the people will be continuously exposed to unimaginable danger.
According to him :”The inhabitants of the affected villages and the surroundings are now living in perpetual fear of further attacks occurring and as a result, the socioeconomic life of the people has been adversely affected with the attendant humanitarian crises.”
In his lead debate, the lawmaker said areas hitherto safe are now vulnerable to attacks, adding that government has failed in its primary resposibilty of protecting lives.
He said some of the bandits come out in day light with AK-47 rifles to take their girlfriends to the hair salon unchallenged and wondered what the role of security agencies especially the police is.
Hon. Abdussamad Dasuki (APC, Sokoto) drew the attention of the House to the fact that over 79 security related motions had been passed in the lower chamber in the past three years without results.
He said the security agencies must be condemned as they’ve failed to live up to their responsibility of protecting lives of citizens.
“We used to be united in the fact that this government has failed,” he said.
Hon. Dasuki sought an amendment of the motion to include the auditing of the manpower of each of the security agencies to determine the exact number of security personnel in the country.
He argued that a proper audit would enable the country to determine the ratio of security personnel to its population.
“We are a country of over 180 million people but we do no know the exact number of personnel in each of the security agencies,” he said.
His amendment which sailed through would enable policy makers to determine appropriate steps to be taken in respect of manpower for effective security in the country..
Also, contributing, Hon. Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno) recommended the option of Civilian Joint Task Force to complement the efforts of security agencies to flush out the bandits, noting that the model has worked in the Northeast which had been ravaged by insurgency for many years.
Hon. Ahmed Kaita (APC, Katsina), however, warned against the politicisation the issue, arguing that if the leadership is said to have failed, “we are equally part of leadership and if there’s failure we share from the blame.”
He argued that currently the security resources were inadequate to properly secure the country.
Some members instantly interrupted him with a point of order and asked the Speaker to call him to order and restricted his debate to the topic before the House.
Hon. Nnenna Elendu -Ukeje (PDP, Abia) regretted that the killings were moving from the Northeast which had been besieged by terrorism to the Northwest, adding that “Our country is at war with people we don’t know.”
She urged Buhari to “do what a country does when at war.”
Hon. Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu) said the fact that the bandits had written before the attacks were carried out kept people wondering what the police were being paid to do if they can’t secure lives but could afford to deploy 30,000 men in Ekiti State for the governorship election.
Both Hon. Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers) and Hon. Ayo Omidiran (APC, Osun) stressed the need to quickly start a process to establish state police to beef up security.