Some senators have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the service chiefs and appoint new ones.
They made the call on Wednesday as the lawmakers deliberated on a motion on national security challenges and the need to restructure the nation’s security architecture.
The lawmakers set aside the whole of Wednesday to discuss the issue. This, they said, is due to the increasing rate of insecurity across the country.
PREMIUM TIMES has reported on the insecurity across the nation instigated by different armed groups and individuals.
These include resurgent Boko Haram attacks in the North-east and increased cases of killings and kidnappings across the country.
In one of the latest incidents, 13 people were killed in a Plateau community on Sunday.
Amidst the insecurity, the presidency has said Nigerians have reasons to be grateful as the situation is better than it was before President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office.
“We know what the situation was as at 2015 and we know what it is today. Despite the reversals in security, it is still not as bad as it used to be in this country,” Femi Adesina, President Buhari’s spokesperson, said recently.
The debate lasted for over four hours as over 50 lawmakers took turns to make their contributions.
Top among the contributions is a call to the president to dismiss the service chiefs and appoint news ones – on grounds that they have served long enough and are bereft of ideas to tackle insecurity.
Most of them also emphasised the need for state police to be established.
Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers) said at the time the service chiefs were appointed, things were not this bad.
“They have done their bits and their tenure has expired. They are illegally occupying the seat. It will be good for the government to allow the security chiefs to go and bring in new people to add vigour to the fight against security,” she said.
She also urged the lawmakers and other elites to stop using police as private security.
“We are complaining about the police not being enough. I think all of us and Nigerians should actually stop using police as private security. Let the police people go out and do their jobs.”
Adeola Olamilekan (APC, Lagos) urged the Senate to revisit and review the recommendations made from the Security Summit in 2018 and implement them.
The lawmaker called for an amendment to the constitution to allow for state police. This is even as he commended South-West governors on the Amotekun initiative – which he said will create jobs.
Elisha Abbo (PDP, Adamawa) said Nigeria has “never had it this bad” in the history of insecurity.
Like his colleagues, he said the security chiefs have done their best “but have run out of ideas.”
“There’s grumbling within the military. Yesterday’s survivors are today’s victims and today’s victims are tomorrow’s survivors.
“Mr President should change the security apparatus. And if we need foreign help, we should not be ashamed of asking for help,” he said.
For the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, the current personnel strength of 300,000 to police about 200 million citizens and the constitutional structure of the police force is appalling.
He, however, wondered if state governors can cater for state police.
“Assuming we decide to go the route of state police, we don’t want to create a Nigerian police and give it another name. If we create state police today, what are the challenges the police is facing that will not be faced by the community police?
“One of the problems is that we have not created enough resources for them to perform their job. Now, we have state governments who want to create State police.
“These are the same state governments that are not able to pay salaries of workers. If we create the state police, we will go back to the Nigerian police and have the same challenges if not worse,” he said.
For George Sekibo (PDP, Rivers), Nigeria needs to turn back to God.
“Anyone that sows the wind will reap the whirlwind. Today, we are reaping the fruit of what we sowed,” he said.
“This wind by the grace of God will go away. It will not be there forever. It is not a time to lament or blame each other.
“We should go back to God as a country and say we are sorry. I have seen such examples in the Bible. If we confess our sins and ask God to forgive us and help us 2nd Chronicles 20:20.”
After hours of debate, the lawmakers urged the president to declare a national security emergency.
The Senate also summoned the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammad Adamu, to appear before it next Wednesday to brief the lawmakers on the concept of community policing and other security issues.
The Senate also set up a 17-man Ad-hoc Committee to engage the security agencies and report back to the Senate after two weeks.
The senate leader, Abdullahi Yayaya, will chair the committee.
Members of the committee include, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Sabi Abdullahi, Ali Ndume, Aliyu Wamakko, Dauda Haliru, Kashim Shettima and Bala Na’Allah.
Others are George Sekibo, Ibrahim Gobir, Kabiru Gaya, Gershom Bassey, Stella Oduah and Ibikunle Amosun.
Also part of the committee are Abba Moro, Yahaya Abdullahi Yayaha and Suleiman Abdu Kwari.