Asks police to vacate Akwa Ibom assembly
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate Thursday resolved to investigate the circumstances surrounding the recent killing of 44 Nigerian soldiers by insurgents at a military camp in Borno State.
It also asked the Nigeria Police to withdraw forthwith its officers and men that sealed off the premises of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly in Uyo since Wednesday morning.
The Senate in adjourning plenary yesterday in honour of the 44 soldiers, including their commander, killed by Boko Haram insurgents at the 157 Task Force Batallion in Metele village, Abadam Local Government Area of Borno State last Sunday, ordered its committees on Army and Defence to investigate the killings as well as welfare and wellbeing of Nigerian troops fighting insurgency.
It also resolved to visit officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces at the battle field, particularly in the North-east, against Boko Haram insurgency.
The Senators’ decision was sequel to a motion moved by the Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (Kebbi South) at the instance of the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki via Orders 42 and 52of the Senate Standing Rules.
Na’Allah in moving the motion decried the plight of military personnel in fighting insurgency in the North-east and lamented that the murdered commandant was his cousin.
He, therefore, implored the Senate to observe a minute silence in honour of the slain soldiers and their commandant, pay condolence visit to the Chief of Army Staff and families of the murdered soldiers and conduct thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the killings and welfare of serving soldiers be carried out by the Army Committee.
Contributing, Senator Andrew Uchendu (Rivers East) added that the Senate should “shut down’’ for one whole day, rather than observing a mere one-minute silence to which the Senate concurred to .
His words : “Mr President and dear colleagues, I have no reason to doubt the figure (of the 44 dead soldiers), but if that figure is correct, then this Senate must come out and show massive concern, not just one-minute silence. We must shut down for one whole day in honour of those fallen heroes.”
Other contributors, including the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, bemoaned the hazardous tasks of officers and men of the Armed Forces in fighting Boko Haram insurgency .
The Senate after observing a minute silence in remembrance of the fallen gallant soldiers, passed a resolution urging the federal government and military authorities to adequately equip Army formations nationwide and take proper care of the soldiers’ welfare.
On Akwa Ibom House of Assembly that was invaded by policemen since Wednesday morning, Senate asked the Police High Command to direct its personnel immediately to vacate the Assembly premises.
Senator Albert Akpan (Akwa Ibom North East) had alerted his colleagues about the seal off of the state assembly premises by armed policemen for second day running.
Senators took turn to speak and condemned what they termed invasion of the legislative arm of Akwa Ibom State by the operatives of the Executive Arm.
The Upper Chamber of the National Assembly while describing the invasion as a very serious matter asked the police to immediately vacate the parliament saying the matter should not be politicised.
Saraki said: Although police have responsibility to maintain law and order, it must allow parliamentarians to have access to the Assembly. We must stand on the right side of history by asking police to vacate the Assembly now.”