Senate to meet Tinubu on insecurity

Amidst continued killings by herdsmen and bandits, the Senate on Wednesday resolved to meet President Bola Tinubu “with all the resolutions on the motion towards ending the continued killings of farmers by armed herdsmen in Benue North East and Nigeria at large.”

The Senate declaration was on the heels of a motion, on the continuing killings by suspected terrorists parading as herdsmen and insecurity in Kwande, Ukum and Logo and Katsina-Ala Local Government Areas in Benue North East Senatorial District.

Presenting his Motion under Matters of Urgent Public Importance, the Senator representing the Senatorial District, Emmanuel Memga Udende revealed “that no fewer than 50 persons have been killed in fresh attacks on several communities in Kwande, Ukum, Logo and Katsina Ala Local Government Areas of Benue State by terrorist parading as herdsmen.

“Further aware that the affected communities some of which were attacked as recently as yesterday 5th March 2024 include Tyuluv, Borikyo, Kundav, Ugbaam, Uyam, Udedeku, Yaaiwa, Nyihemba, Tomatar, Menakwagh, Yiase and Agura all in the Benue North East Senatorial district of Benue State.

“Saddened that residents of the villages and communities now find themselves targeted on a daily basis by heavily armed terrorist herdsmen, and the toll continues to be staggering as they bear the brunt, with reports of marauders butchering several villagers, leaving many homes completely burnt down and numerous residents still missing while the perpetrators, however, remain elusive and have not been apprehended.

“Further saddened that this pathetic situation and development has inflicted untold hardship on women, children and the elderly, who are trekking long distances in search of a safe haven and awaiting the intervention of security operatives.

“Concerned that this situation, in addition to the loss of lives and property, has already impacted negatively on the economic lives of the people and the resultant effect of shortage of farm produce is one of the reasons for the astronomical rise in the prices of agricultural produce and inflation in the country.

“Further concerned that despite the public outcry and previous resolutions of the National Assembly as regards the criminal activities of these terrorists parading as herdsmen, there seems to be no visible action on the part of the government to curtail, abate or totally stop the criminal activities of these criminal elements.”

Contributing to the motion, Senator representing Borno South and Chief Whip, Ali Ndume, said the Senate was tired of observing a minute silence while herdsmen and terrorists continue to kill innocent citizens.

He said:” This issue of security, we can’t continue to be coming here every day or at least every week to observe one-minute silence. Then next week we have something like that or more than that; then you say you condemn, we observe one minute of silence.

“The leadership of both houses of the National Assembly on behalf of our colleagues, need to sit down with the President who is the Commander-in-Chief. Our security has the capacity. All they need, as I said, is training, equipment, motivation (TEM).”

Immediate past Senate President and Senator representing Yobe North, Ahmad Lawan, said the security architecture of the country has failed Nigerians.

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He urged his colleagues to dig out reports of security summits held in the 8th and 9th National Assembly and present the recommendations to President Tinubu for implementation.

He said: “Let me first of all console those who lost loved ones and sympathise with our colleague in whose senatorial district this killing took place.

“Mr. President, I recall that one of the resolutions in the series of meetings that we undertook was for the leadership of the Senate to meet the president because we thought that the President, Commander-in-Chief needs to know our perspective, our understanding of the issues on the insecurity in the country.

“Of course, Defence-related committees will continue to do their oversight. But one thing is very clear, this Senate, indeed, the National Assembly since I know it has always given our Defence and security outfits a lot of attention and resources because we believe that within the constraints of our resources, we must do something to improve on funding. That is not to say we are solving the problem because of giving more resources.

“We need to insist on value for money. We give more resources, we want to see better security environment.

“I believe that going forward, we should continue with our oversight, but our services in the Armed Forces and other security agencies must always account for the resources we give them.

“The 8th Senate where I was the Senate Leader, the 9th Senate where I was the Senate President both had national summits on security and we have voluminous, very rich reports, which we forwarded to the presidency at that time and we had series of engagement at leadership level.

“I believe we should go back, look at those reports. Our leadership should engage Mr. President and come up with resolutions that we passed here in this Senate to say this is the way we feel.

“Of course, some of our citizens will say they want to defend themselves, but what is the purpose of government? It means we shy away from our responsibilities because the most important purpose of any government is security. Even welfare is second.

“So, we need to insist on getting better outcomes from our security agencies. I believe that everyone of us here, whether affected now or not, has experiences of insecurity and should insist on getting improvement.

Amongst other resolutions, the Senate urged the Chief of Defence staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and heads of other security agencies to as a matter of urgency deploy security personnel to address the continuing and ongoing attacks by armed terrorist parading as herdsmen on communities in Kwande, Ukum, Logo and Katsina Ala Local Government Areas of Benue State with a view to flushing out the herdsmen, stop the killings and restore normalcy to the affected communities; heighten surveillance and invest in surveillance technology and equipment to detect and prevent future attacks; review the security architecture in the area to forestall the continuous attacks.

The Senate also requested the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to immediately mobilize relief materials for the people displaced by these recent attacks in Kwande, Ukum, Logo and Katsina Ala Local Government Areas of Benue State. It equally mandated the relevant committees of the Senate to ensure compliance.”