•Banditry becoming an industry, says Lawan
Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Senate yesterday concurred with the House of Representatives’ confirmation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
Others confirmed are Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Alao, Chief of Air Staff.
The confirmation of the nominees followed the consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Defence during plenary.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Aliyu Wamakko (APC, Sokoto North), in his presentation of the report, said the Joint Committee on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force screened the four nominees and was satisfied with their qualifications, exposures, conduct, characters, experiences and general performances.
During the consideration of the report, Senator Jibrin Barau described the nominees as capable in tackling head-on the challenges presented by the insecurity in the country.
The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, said the change in military leadership became imperative in view of the heightening insecurity and banditry in the North-east, North-west and North-central.
He said: ”Mr. President, we are in very perilous times with insurgency in the North-east and banditry in the North-west and North-central most especially. For so long, and indeed so many times on this floor, and on the floor of our sister chamber in the House of Representatives, there were serious agitations for changes to be effected in the military leadership of the security agencies.
”Mr. President took his time and finally acceded to this request and agitation. In doing so, the president took his time to seek out the very best in the arms services. Mr. President, the intellect, the achievement and the exploits of these nominees are very well documented in this report.”
The nominees were, thereafter, confirmed by the Senate in a Committee of the Whole.
Shortly after the confirmation, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, said banditry had become a thriving industry with many people benefitting from it.
According to him, the rising case of kidnapping by bandits is unacceptable and asked the service chiefs to stop it.
He urged the service chiefs to unravel those behind insecurity and assured them of the parliament’s support in the discharge of their duties.
He said: “A situation whereby a group of people will go to a school and take over 300 students away on motorcycles is not acceptable. Kidnapping without a trace is not acceptable. Something has to be done because apparently, this is becoming an industry. Some people are benefiting from this and we have to unravel who these people are and fight bandits and insurgents until we rescue our country.
“Let me also advise the service chiefs that there must be inter-agency cooperation. The army and the air force are supposed to have complementary roles. We promise them, and indeed Nigerians, that we will support them in whatever way the parliament can.”