By Tunde Johnson, Abuja
The Senate says Nigerian security system has failed following the rising level of insecurity in the country and the inability of security apparatus to rise to the occasion.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly said that many lives were being lost in the country to clashes and crimes without a major step by the government to stop the killings.
The lawmakers took turn to analyse the issues affecting the security of lives and properties in the country while speaking on a motion moved by Tijjani Kaura, Senator representing Zamfara-North, entitled ‘Urgent need to look into the killings and arson that took place in Shinkafi Local Government Area of Zamfara State.’
Bukola Saraki, Senate President, in a summary of the contributions by the senators, said the consensus was that the country’s security system had failed.
“Clearly, all the messages that are coming is that there is definitely a collapse of what is either called security infrastructure or national security, with this level of impunity. The impunity being that people all over now illegally carry arms around the whole place. The fact that in the past, many committees had been set up to look at the reformation of the police but as of today, no action has been taken.
“Issues were raised on whether there is the need for what is called state police or community police but the big point is that it is for us to redesign the structure and based on that decide on what the solution is, not the solution before the design.
“Of course, the issue of funding of our security agencies is there too. And we have shown here many times how committed we are and our national approach to major government issues. We must be able to define exactly what we want to do in taking this problem head-on,” Saraki said.
The lawmakers resolved to set up an ad hoc committee of the Senate “to review the current security infrastructure of the country, and in consultation with the security agencies make necessary recommendations on the way forward in the security arrangement.
Setting agenda for the proposed panel, Saraki said, “The purpose of us setting up an ad hoc committee is to take the responsibility of driving the process and the committee will address all the issues.”
He added, “The key thing is that we must find a solution to this. We must take the bull by the horn and drive this process. I believe that the kind of members we will have in that ad hoc committee must be members who must look at it in a nationalistic point of view, drop politics and other issues. I can assure you that we will come up with a way forward and this will not be a report that will just lie (unimplemented); we must come forward, bring it before us here, debate it and work out the way forward.
“This is a commitment that we have all made to the country. The leadership will look at, between today and tomorrow, the composition of the committee. The senators who have the privilege to be in the committee carry a huge responsibility for this country.”
According to Saraki, the problem over the years is that the government has refused to face the problem head-on. “We don’t want to deal with it because it has a lot of issues,” he stated.
He stressed, “It is time now. We cannot continue as a society where people will just be dying on a daily basis and we cannot come up with a resolution. I know it is not going to be easy. I am happy that we have former governors here; we have aspiring governors here; we have long-serving senators who have made governors, they are here too. The three groups should be able to come together.
“Even if we talk about funding, it is here. The new technologies that countries are using require funding. I think that what we need to do now is to take this as a responsibility and make it work. If it requires Constitution amendment, so be it. If it requires extra funding, so be it. Whatever it requires, we must do it.”
The Senate President said members of the adhoc committee would be announced on Thursday when they would also be given a timeframe to present their report.
He added that urgent efforts must be done to curb the growing failures.