Nigeria News
Senate Committee Summons Service Chiefs, Says Insurgency is Embarrassing
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 Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice Marshall Alex Badeh
By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

Concerned by the escalation of terrorist acts and unrestrained destruction of lives and property in the North-east, the Senate Committee on Defence Wednesday summoned the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice Marshall Alex Badeh, and Chief of Army Staff, Major General Kenneth Minimah, to appear before it on Friday.

The summons which was provoked by last Monday’s gruesome killing of 49 school children by a suicide bomber in Potiskum, Yobe State, is expected to among others, witness the senior military officers giving account of their stewardship especially on why state of emergency rule and high appropriation for security have not yielded any desired result.

The summons is also coming on the heels of an alarm raised by the Deputy Governor of Borno State, Mr. Zanna Mustapha, in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, last week that given the ease with which Boko Haram insurgents had been capturing territories in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, the three states would soon be history.

Disclosing this yesterday, Chairman, Senate Committee on Army and Defence, Senator George Sekibo, said the service chiefs had been summoned by the committee to provide it with vivid account of the security situation in North-east and why senseless killings and wanton destruction have worsened under emergency rule.

Sekibo who also said the meeting would present the service chiefs with the opportunity to get the senators acquainted with the challenges confronting them in the terror prone states, added that the tragic news coming from North-east despite the huge assistance provided to the military so far is embarrassing and offensive to all Nigerians.

He also said the meeting would be thorough when compared with previous meetings adding that the situation is more worrisome in view of the closeness of 2015 polls and scheduled primaries, saying the situation implies huge difficulties awaiting conduct of elections and primaries in the area.

“I know as a Senate that we have done whatever we need to do to support the Armed forces to combat the battle and bring insurgents to their knees. I also believe that virtually all the directives the Senate has passed on to the president, he has also honoured them including the recent $1 billion loan that was requested for. I believe that in addition to the $1 billion through the office of the National Security Adviser, they will also be providing funds for the purchase of military equipment but for us to wake up and hear that we are being overrun in some areas is embarrassing.

“I believe that we cannot stay here while we have not heard from the service chiefs. That is why we have summoned the service chiefs tomorrow by one o’clock. We want to hear from them, to know areas they have problems and whatever the problems will be, we want to advise them to properly open up because Nigerians are tired of asking the same questions. We want to ask questions different from what we had been asking. I believe everyone is worried especially after the last bombing in the school in Yobe State.

“The elections are coming so fast in the next few weeks. People are going for primaries and we are worried whether our colleagues in the North-east can go for primaries. Where will they start from? I believe that after the meeting tomorrow, some of these questions will be answered. Between the last declaration of state of emergency till now, Mr. President heeding the voice of National Assembly, has procured some equipment and one of the issues we are going to have tomorrow at the meeting is to have an inventory of equipment we have on ground. We also want to be sure that we have competent manpower. How did the insurgents get their equipment? How did they get them through the border?” Sekibo asked.

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