Lawan: International Politics Undermining Nigeria’s Fight against Insecurity

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Ahmad Lawan

Military Kills Scores of Bandits in Zamfara

Deji Elumoye, Kingsley Nwezeh and Udora Orizu 

President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, has attributed the major challenge facing the country’s bid to tame insecurity to international politics.

According to him, international politics has slowed down efforts at acquiring sophisticated weapons needed by security agencies to effectively protect lives and property.

Lawan spoke with reporters at the weekend in Abuja ahead of the first anniversary of the Ninth Senate on Thursday.

He spoke just as the military announced yesterday the killing of scores of bandits in Zamfara State.

Lawan explained that efforts to buy equipment for the Nigerian armed forces are usually frustrated by international politics as the requests take longer than expected, unlike when another country makes similar requests from some foreign governments.

According to him, the country’s security system is currently overstretched and the country needs more resources to tackle insecurity.

He said: ”To some extent, we are suffering from international politics. I know that in our efforts to try to buy spare parts for their jets, maybe we write to a certain foreign government and it will take six to nine months while another country will write to the same government and maybe get it in one or two months.

“So, something is not right; but that’s to say that it’s now one of our challenges that we will continue to engage with countries that we feel don’t understand what we are doing here.

”Also, we need more resources for the security. By resources, I don’t mean just money; we need more personnel for the armed forces; we need more personnel for the police, Nigerian Immigration Service and almost all the agencies and paramilitary agencies as well, and then of course, the resources in terms of equipment, machinery and then training.”

Lawan also canvassed mutual respect among the three arms of government.

He stated that the legislature should not succumb to the desires of the executive, but rather they should cooperate.

He added that the legislature must be given its due respect by the executive arm of government, saying the separation of powers principle only tries to ensure that there’s efficiency in service delivery to the people.

”The principle of separation of powers is what establishes and sustains the government, especially in democracies that believe in that. I believe in it strongly, the legislature should always be there to provide the legislative intervention, but here I also believe that separation of powers should always be considered alongside checks and balances; that’s what made the separation of powers more effective in terms of ensuring that there’s good governance,” he stated.

Shedding more light on the executive-legislature relationship, Lawan said the two arms of government had constituted a special joint committee, that works behind the scene, towards ensuring effective and efficient consideration of some legislations.

”The Senate leader, House of Representatives leader, the senior special assistant to the president in both chambers of the National Assembly are members. The Office of the Attorney-General has a representation and the relevant committee chairmen of the two chambers are members too,” he added.

He stated that part of the committee’s tasks is to review bills that could cause misunderstanding between the two arms of government and resolve the disagreements to hasten the passage of the legislation.

”That gap between the legislature and the executive that will not be resolved or narrowed easily has created so much loss to the country. It’s our challenge,” Lawan added.

On the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the Senate president said the bill was not yet before the National Assembly, adding that the executive has been discussing with the legislature on what they are doing about it.

He expressed optimism that the bill will be submitted this month, adding that contrary to what happened when it was submitted in previous sessions of the National Assembly, the current Senate will adopt a different approach by bringing the executive and legislature together to work on the bill to expedite its passage.

On the criticisms trailing the recent loans approved by the legislature for the executive, he said: “We approved the loans to ensure that our infrastructural development continues.’

”The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us our weaknesses in the area of our health facilities, and we are looking at opportunities going forward. We are not supporting the executive arm of government in a very frivolous way; we are very mindful, patriotic in the way and manner we endorse these requests and we are also very meticulous. “Our committees on domestic and foreign loans have gone through all the papers to ensure that there’s justification for those loans and in fact in the Senate, we only passed the request for $5.513 billion, there was $1.5 billion request for states, we couldn’t see the justification and we said no we’re not going to grant that so it’s not everything that was requested that was accepted by the Senate.”

Military Kills Scores of Bandits in Zamfara

Scores of bandits were killed at the weekend in Zamfara State as the military launched air strikes on two camps of bandits in Tsibiri and Manya in Zurmi Local Government Area of the state.

The air interdiction was executed by the air component of Operation Hadarin Daji and Operation Accord, which covers North-west and North-central.

A military update on the war against banditry said the air interdiction mission at Tsibiri, which is located 15Km East of Zurmi, was executed on the heels of credible Human Intelligence (HUMINT) reports indicating that the camp, with its clusters of thatched huts nestled close to a group of trees, was being used by the bandits to house their fighters and store their weapons and ammunition.

“Accordingly, two Nigerian Air Force attack helicopters were dispatched to engage the location, scoring accurate hits on the target area leading to the destruction of the structures and the weapons and ammunition stored in them as well as the neutralisation of bandits in the huts and surrounding bushes,” the update, signed by the Coordinator of the Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, said.

The attack helicopters later conducted an air strike on another camp South of Manya, which also resulted in the killing of more bandits, including some of their leaders, as they gathered for a meeting at the location.

In another encounter during blocking operations against inter-state movement of bandits and troops of Operation Whirl Punch under Operation Accord killed two bandits while others fled with gunshot wounds at Tabani and Tashan Bawa, a border area between Sabuwa LGA in Katsina State and Kuyello District in Birnin Gwari LGA of Kaduna State.

Items recovered include one AK 47 rifle and two mobile phones.