•Directs relevant agencies to fish out perpetrators
•President to submit supplementary budget on security, says Lawan
•Adopt new strategies to fight insurgency, banditry, Niger Senator tells security agencies
Deji Elumoye in Abuja and Laleye Dipo in Minna
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed worries over the increasing influx of illegal weapons into the country, even as he condemned the recent killings in both Anambra and Ebonyi States, which claimed some lives, including three policemen.
Buhari, who immediately directed security agencies to fish out the persons behind the attacks and make them face the consequences of their action, however, sympathised with a former Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, who also survived a recent attack at his hometown in Isuofia, Anambra State.
In a related development, the country’s security agencies have been advised to adopt new strategies to fight insurgencies and banditry now prevailing in parts of the country, the Senator representing Niger East Senatorial district in the national assembly Senator Mohammed Sani Musa has suggested.
Musa made the suggestion against the backdrop of the massacre of 7 security operatives in their Allawa security base in the Shiroro local government of Niger state on Thursday.
This is as the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has disclosed that President Buhari would later this month submit a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to request for more funds to tackle insecurity across parts of the country.
Buhari, in a statement yesterday by his Media Assistant, Garba Shehu, condemned a deadly attack that took place on Monday night in the three communities of Egedegede, Obegu and Amuzu in Íshíelu Local Government Area (LGA) of Ebonyi State and promised that the perpetrators of the “heinous attack” would not be spared.
The president also extended his sympathies to families and friends, who had lost their loved ones, and to every member of the communities in Ebonyi State traumatised by the despicable acts of wickedness.
In his message of sympathy to Soludo, Buhari stated: “I strongly condemn the cowardly terrorist attack on an outstanding Nigerian, Professor Chukwuma Soludo. Our prayers are with him and the families of the security operatives, who lost their lives trying to defend innocent citizens assembled for a peaceful meeting”, he said.
Expressing concern at the influx of illegal weapons, the President reassured Nigerians that ongoing efforts, which had led to the record recovery of illegal weapons and arrests of a large number of arms suppliers would be intensified.
According to him, the federal government would continue to empower the police and the armed forces in their brave struggle against terrorism, banditry and kidnapping”.
Senator Mohammed Sani Musa
The federal Lawmaker lamented that the nation was losing too many of its trained personnel to bandits and even the Boko Haram elements which requires that the top echelon of the armed forces should re-strategise to protect our soldiers and policemen.
He said it will not be out of place if the military and other security forces force out the bandits and other criminals from their hiding places in the forests since they have turned the forests to their abodes from where they unleash mayhem on innocent and peace loving Nigerians.
Musa described as shocking and totally unacceptable the massacre of these security men by these lawless and blood thirsty bandits saying everything should be done to exterminate them once and for all.
He however said the army and police authorities should reconsider their decision to close the military camps at Allawa and Bassa as a result of the Thursday incident.
Closing the camps is not the solution to the problem since chopping off the head has never been the solution to persistent headache, what we should do is to devise new methods of tackling insurgency and banditry.
Closing of the camps will open the communities to more attacks by bandits he said.
Musa commiserated with officers and men of the Nigerian Army and those of the police as well as the families of the deceased security operatives who lost their lives in the attacks by these bandits and pray to God to grant the souls of the departed eternal rest and their families the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Meanwhile, Lawan, who made the disclosure while speaking to journalists in his home town, Gashua, Saturday, all of which were captured in a statement by Ezrel Tabiowo, Special Assistant to President of the Senate, said the National Assembly would stop at nothing to ensure that normalcy and security were restored to states faced by challenges such as kidnapping, insurgency, banditry and militancy.
He said: “About the issue of security, I think the National Assembly has done quite a lot in that area working with the Executive arm of government and, recently, on Monday or so, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and I met with Mr. President, and the center of our discussion was the security of the country.
“How do we engage the security of this country? It has been a nagging issue, but it is not an issue that cannot be solved. With the appointment of the new Service Chiefs, we have seen newer strategies and Mr. President and the National Assembly will be working to provide more resources in the supplementary budget, which the presidency will submit sometime maybe this month to the National Assembly.”
According to him, “We (National Assembly) are prepared to give every possible resource to our security agencies to fight and restore normalcy to every part of the country, whether it is insurgency, banditry, militancy or kidnapping.
“We believe that we need to have security before life can be better, because you can’t do anything or attract direct foreign investments, even farming becomes impossible in some states, because of the level of insecurity.
“So, security is key. It is essential and a necessity that we have to restore normalcy in this area and, Mr. President gave the security chiefs six weeks to restore security in our rural areas, particularly, because the rainy season will come pretty soon – maybe in the next two months and without security in the rural areas, there’ll be no farming.
“And when there’s no farming, our food security will be threatened and our security situation will be further complicated.”
The Senate President, who underscored the importance of unity in national development, said those clamouring for the break-up of the country were in the vast minority, adding also that, those behind the minority agitations were disgruntled elites bent on satisfying their self-serving interest to the detriment of majority of Nigerians.
He added that the unity of Nigeria would continue to be the cardinal focus of the National Assembly by ensuring equity, justice and fairness for every part of the country.
“Nigeria will continue to be one. What we need to emphasise always is equity, justice and fairness to all, for all. I think this is one way to go, probably the only way to go to ensure that everybody feels belonged.
Speaking on the achievement of the government, he noted that, “This administration has done quite a lot in that area. If you look at the spread of federal government projects across the country, you will agree with me that the federal government has not favored any part of the country.
“I think the government is doing quite a lot to ensure that there’s that equitable distribution of projects across the country. I believe that the unity of this country will continue to be our major focus. From time to time, you hear some people talking of maybe establishing their own country or secession.
“I believe that majority of Nigerians believe that they should stay together – and I mean the ordinary Nigerians. These are people who believe in the unity of this country. But the elites is where the problem is. The elites will tell you, no, we have to secede. I believe that we should be fair to the multitude of Nigerians – those ordinary people of Nigeria. What they require is leadership.
“We must give them leadership, a fair leadership. If we have any issues, we should be able to discuss the issues. We should not neglect people when they complain, but that is not likely to be the most popular position of the people from any part of the country. So, I believe that unity of this country is non-negotiable”, Lawan said.