Three North East Senators want review of military strategy
The Nigerian Senate on Thursday approved the extension of the state of emergency in three north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe.
The Senate’s approval follows a proposal for the extension of the emergency rule, first declared in May, by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The House of Representatives is, however, yet to debate the extension which would lead to another six months of emergency rule, starting from November, in the affected states.
Mr. Jonathan declared the state of emergency in the three states on May 14 to curb the violent activities of the Boko Haram terrorists there. Several hundreds of people, including secondary school students, have been killed by the insurgents in the states despite the emergency rule.
After the Senate’s approval, a group of Senators from the North East urged the Federal Government to review its strategy of military engagement in the operation against insurgency in the region.
The Senators made their views known on Thursday when they spoke at a joint news briefing in Abuja.
The Senators are Bello Tukur (PDP-Adamawa); Ahmed Zanna (PDP-Borno); and Ma’aji Lawan (APC-Borno).
Their reaction came shortly after the Senate approved President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for a six-month extension of the emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.
Mr. Tukur said despite the security challenges, the military should relax the restrictions of movement on people living within the affected areas.
The Senator specifically called for the dismantling of check points to enable residents resume their normal activities while the military conducts its operations.
He also said there was the need to boost the number of personnel involved in the operations.
Mr. Tukur called for adequate funding of the operations to cater for the welfare and other needs of the security agents.
“Well it (extension) has been approved by the Senate but so far one would say there are still some challenges and the challenges are well known.”
“Probably challenges that have to do with those areas where the insurgents are still not yet contained, especially in the neighbouring States of Borno and Yobe.
“But again even in Adamawa there are still some challenges, especially, those challenges that have to do with civilian JTF.
Mr. Tukur suggested that check-points in the townships, especially the capitals, should be relaxed to enable people go about their normal businesses.
“The number of personnel that are involved in the operation are not enough. Probably the services need to look at that.
“Funding for men in the field needs to be improved,” he said.
In his contribution, Mr. Zannah said although he was in support of the extension, he urged the military operations to be extended to the remote areas of the affected states.
He said the military personnel should be provided with adequate arms and equipment to effectively dislodge the insurgents and restore normalcy in the affected areas.
“Considering the situation in Borno, we don’t have any option than to approve the extension. But the operations will only succeed only if there is will.
“And this is why they have not been able to accomplish what they were posted there to do.
“The military don’t ever leave the vicinity of major cities. They should go into the bush to pursue the militants.
“So, may be they (military authorities) should review their tactics and give more arms and better equipment to the soldiers to pursue those insurgents.”
“Then it will be better for us and then they will surely succeed,” Mr. Zanna said.
Also speaking, Mr. Lawan said the extension of emergency rule would help to return the three states to the path of peace and normalcy.
“This further extension will ensure that normalcy is restored completely to the three states in the shortest possible time such that Mr. President will not need to extend it any further or even lift it midway into this extended period,” he said.
In a reaction, Hope Uzodinma (PDP-Imo) commended the Senators from the North East for understanding the need to support the resolution for the extension of the emergency rule.
“It is very necessary and colleagues from the three states involved agreed with us that there is the need for further extension to calm the situation and restore normalcy to the states once and for all,” Uzodinma.
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