House Pledges Assistance to Service Chiefs to End Insurgency

  • IG briefs Senate on concept of community policing

Chuks Okocha, Deji Elumoye, Adedayo Akinwale and Udora Orizu in Abuja

Less than one week after the House of Representatives urged President Muhammed Buhari to remove service chiefs for worsening insecurity, the lawmakers wednesday promised to work with the military helmsmen to end the war against Boko Haram insurgents and other criminal elements in the country.

This is coming as the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, yesterday briefed the Senate on the concept of community policing as well as the force’s fresh strategy to tackle the country’s security challenges.
Mohammed also rallied the lawmakers for support against insecurity.

The House had last week called on the president to remove the service chiefs following the worsening security challenges confronting the country since 2015 when they were appointed.

However, after a closed-door meeting with the service chiefs and the IG, the House said that while it had suggested their removal, it was left to the president to relieve them of their duties.

Before the meeting went into a closed-door session, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, told the service chiefs that Nigerians were on the necks of their representatives over the security situation in the country.
The meeting involved the joint House Committees on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff.

Gbajabiamila said that while the service chiefs were doing a lot, the anxiety among Nigerians was enough reason for the military commanders to redouble their efforts, challenging them to take the battle to the criminals.

He said: “I thought I should be here to encourage everybody that we’re all on the same page. We all know the situation in Nigeria today, we can’t hide from it, we can’t shy away from it, and we cannot pretend that it doesn’t exist.

“We spent practically the whole day on Wednesday (January 29) discussing the security situation in Nigeria as expected. Simultaneously, the Senate was doing the same thing without us comparing notes.

“So, it was a natural reaction to what was going on in the country today. Back home, our constituents are on our necks. People are dying every day; they are dying callously in ways that you can only find in countries without security forces. But we know that you guys are doing a lot.
“We must think outside the box; we must take the battle to these criminals whatever they are. Like I said at the State House the other day, Nigerians are anxious, but I do understand the limitations of the Armed Forces.”

The speaker said the House would continue to engage the armed forces to find a lasting solution.

Briefing journalists after the closed-door meeting, the House Committee Chairman on Defence, Hon. Babajimi Benson, said that the meeting went well, as they were able to get first-hand information on what was going on and what the issues were.

Benson said: “We were to a large extent satisfied with what they said. Like I said, we are also going to table what they said before parliament. We are going to discuss; we are going to have a very robust discussion on how to assist, to end this war. It is Nigeria that is at work…how to end this at the shortest possible time.

“Military issues are not things we should discuss in public but they raised a lot of issues that we must all sit down as Nigerians and discuss. One of them is that there is probably an international dimension to what we see. There is ISIS, there is ISWAP.

“These are things that we need to discuss in a very classified manner. But what we want Nigerians to know is that we are committed to them 100 per cent, to see that we assist the military and the Armed Forced and ensuring that this matter is put to an end within the shortest possible time.”

Asked if the House was making a reversal of its earlier call for the sack of the service chiefs, Benson stated: “It is not a U-turn but the most important thing that Nigerians want is the security of their lives and for their properties to be protected. That is the meeting we are having today. Sacking the service chiefs is not…we can suggest, but it is a function of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces; the buck stops at his table.

Asked if neighbouring countries are fuelling the security crisis in the country, he revealed that it was part of their discussion, stressing that there could be some truth in the claim.


IG Briefs Senate on Concepts of Community Policing

Meanwhile, the IG also yesterday briefed the Senate on the concept of the community policing as well as the force’s fresh strategy for solving the security challenges in the country.

Briefing journalists on the outcome of his meeting with the Senate, the IG said the meeting focused on the concept of community policing and how to combat crimes with everyone being involved.

He further said crime prevention involved people in position of authority doing their jobs including providing employments for the unemployed, adding that every criminal has a reason for committing crimes.

According to the IG, “We met today and briefed them on the concept of community policing. If you can remember, last year we sensitised the whole country on the need to adapt community policing in the country.

“The concept is to give policing back to the community and let the community take the initiative in identifying the problems that are there, that can lead to the commission of crimes and then we work with the community to solve the crime.

“We believe that everybody comes from the community as you all know in a community we know who and who is there, do taking policing back to them will help in reducing crime to the barest minimum”.

He further said: “So, I have explained the concept of community policing to Senate which involves partnership with communities and there are various community.

“You can have a traditional institution as a community, national union of road transport as a community, you can have the media as community and various forms of community that we need partnership with.

Clarifying, he said, “What we are saying essentially with the community policing is that fighting crimes should not be left to the law enforcement agencies alone; it should not be left to the security agencies alone.

“Everybody should be on board, what are the things that lead to the commission of crimes; are those issues to be dealt with by the law enforcement agencies and security agencies? No, there are other arms of governments that will need to deal with it. State governments, governor’s local government chairman should take up their responsibilities.

“People that are committing these crimes have reasons that make them to commit the crimes. If it is lack of employment or education or those issues that would require interventions by the government; those state government should take responsibilities.”

Also speaking on the outcome of the meeting with the IG, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, said: “The IG answered questions bordering on national security challenges, banditry, assaults on our major roads across the country, illegal circulation of fire arms and efforts on encouraging synergy between the federal and states governments by distinguished senators.”

He also said that the Senate also resolved to support the Nigerian Police through legislative interventions, saying that the police force must find a way to be more operationally proactive to protect the lives of the citizens.