By Sanni Onogu and Bolaji Ogundele (The Nation)
Senate President Ahmad Lawan yesterday described the level of insecurity in the country as “frightening.”
Lawan said that in spite of the fact that the Muhammadu Buhari administration had invested so much in security than its predecessors, the situation was affecting Agriculture, direct foreign investments and crude oil production.
He noted that insecurity which hitherto was common in “ungoverned spaces” in the country had crept into where “the government is quartered’, an apparent reference to the Federal Capital Territory(FCT).
Lawan stated these before a meeting between the leadership of the Senate and security chiefs went into a closed session.
The Senate President said: “ This Senate particularly and indeed the previous sessions of the National Assembly generally, have shown serious commitment and partnership with the Executive arm of government.
“As far as I can remember, there has never been an administration in this country, especially since the Fourth Republic started in 1999, that invested so many resources in the security of this country like this present administration.
”We believe that as a National Assembly, we have always met this Executive at the right position, at the right time, most especially when it concerns investment in the security of life and property in Nigeria.
“We have also, in our individual capacities as committees of the National Assembly and in fact, as a National Assembly, shown concern about the security situation.
”The security of any country cannot be100 percent satisfactory but of course, there is a level at which no country can be comfortable with insecurity.
“Ours has lingered. We had hoped that by this time, the security situation would have been far better and Nigeria would have made more progress not only in the area of security but also in the area of the economy which is tied to the security situation.
”I believe that all security agencies and armed forces have been doing their best but apparently we have to do more to achieve what we desire.
“There are, of course, several arguments whether the resources available to our Armed Forces and our security agencies are enough or not.
”Definitely not enough. I don’t know of any country where there is enough really. But even within the scarcity that we have, this administration and this National Assembly have always prioritised the security of our country.
“This particular session of the interaction between us is to look into where we are today and probably this current position where we are is most frightening because it is like there is nowhere to hide and nowhere to go.
“Insecurity is everywhere. And it is coming to the point of dislocating the security situation where the government is quartered. We will review all strategies and see what more we have to do.
“Our population is largely peasant. Most of our people are in the rural areas and they live their lives by going to farms. In many parts of the country today, that is a Herculean task.
“My belief is that we can do better to secure the rural areas. The so-called ungoverned space. At least for our population who go to farms to earn their living.
“Where our agricultural productivity is drastically going down, that will complicate the security situation because the most ordinary Nigerians care more about what he or she or what the family will eat. And of course, all other things are secondary.
“We have problems with our economy to some extent because of insecurity. No foreign direct investment or not as much as we would ordinarily attract to our country.
“The level of oil theft is of industrial scale today and many of the oil companies, especially the oil majors don’t feel the environment is secured enough for them to continue with their business. Our oil will be useless if there is no room for us to export and earn revenue.
The government may find it difficult to provide services if something is not done.
”Our crude is stolen at such a high scale and that means our revenue is drastically going down.
”I hope that our discussions will give us the opportunity to consider other things or other areas or ideas that we didn’t have before.”
Chief of Defence Staff, Gen.Lucky Irabor, appreciated the Senate leadership for convening the meeting. He described it as ”an in-house discussion based on mutual concern.”
Irabor said: “I believe there is always room for rubbing of minds to make contributions to the effect that we have a more secured environment where every Nigerian will have a sense of security.”
Fed. Govt: terrorists trying to score psychological point
The Federal Government has said that Tuesday’s attack on the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 12, Bauchi, Audu Madaki, was an attempt by terrorists to score a psychological point.
It also claimed that the successes recorded by the military have not received wide reportage as given terror attacks.
Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed, who stated these, however, told reporters that the government was taking security issues very seriously.
Madaki’s convoy came under terrorists’ attack around Barde and Jagindi axis of Kaduna State.
While Madaki survived with gunshot injuries, his orderly was shot dead.
Mohammed said: “I need further information on the circumstances of the attack. But what I know is that bandits would always want to make this kind of spectacular attack just to score a psychological point.
“I know that the government is taking the job of security very seriously. Over the last couple of days, I have seen that the FCT Police Command has given out telephone numbers for people to call in case of any security breach.
“I know that there have been quite a few successes by the military in overrunning the bandits around Abuja in the last couple of days.
“Regrettably, it’s like when the military is having the upper hand, they are not given the same kind of media coverage as when the bandits attack.”
Mohammed’s Transportation counterpart, Muazu Sambo spoke on the recent suspension of rail services along some routes because of fear of terror attack.
Sambo said: “I would like to state clearly that it is better to suspend a service where there is an imminent threat rather than jeopardise the life of a single Nigerian.