- Pledges greater action, improved welfare for security personnel
BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – No longer at ease with the growing public concerns over Nigeria’s worsening security situation, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday engaged and agreed with the National Assembly (NASS) to adopt and deploy all necessary measures for the safety and security of lives and property across the country.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, confirmed this heartwarming pledge by President Buhari, assuring Nigerians of Federal Government’s renewed commitment to providing all necessary equipment and improved welfare packages for the nation’s armed forces and the police, to enable them operate, perform and deliver efficiently and effectively on their mandate.
According to him, the Presidency and National Assembly are in agreement on the urgent need to tackle and address serious concerns over the deteriorating security situation nationwide.
“Of course, as the leader of this country, he is more worried than anybody else about the situation. So, we are on the same page that we should be able to do whatever it takes to ensure that the security agencies are able to perform better than they are doing now”, Senator Lawan said.
Addressing State House correspondents after a closed door meeting between the president and the NASS leadership, Senator Lawan said: “We met with Mr President over the security issues in the country and other matters of governance. The recent security challenge this country is facing requires that we work very closely.”
He said the meeting discussed all issues of security, including the performances of security agencies in addressing the menace of insurgency, banditry and kidnapping in the country.
The Senate President said; “We had debates in both chambers of the National Assembly last week and resolutions were taken and we have come to discuss with Mr President on the way forward; What we feel about some of these security challenges and also to ask him what he thinks we should do.
“We discussed everything as far as the issue of security of this country is concern.”
On whether sacking the Service Chiefs from office would solve the nation’s pressing security challenges, Lawan said: “You see, in matters of security, of course as leaders, we are supposed to lead, but when it concerns security, every single citizen matters in this.
“So, it is for all of us, citizens and leaders, to ensure we are playing our part as it is necessary. But I believe that the time has come; we have reached a tipping point that everybody in Nigeria is concern about the security situation and therefore, we are all prepared and that is why we have come to meet with Mr President as leaders of National Assembly on behalf of our colleagues, to discuss the way forward.”
Insisting that citizens participation remains critical and crucial in tackling the security challenges, Senator Lawan also stressed the need to provide better welfare conditions for the security agencies to enable them achieve impactful outcome in the fight against insurgency and criminality in the country.
“It is also critical that because we are dealing with human beings, you are asking the military, the police to go and fight insurgents, kidnappers and bandits, you also need to do something for their welfare.
“How do they live? Where do they live? What is the condition of the schools for their children? So, these are issues that are very important and could have very impactful outcomes when we are able to do the right thing and we will do them”, he said.
For the Senate President, “The question of security is uppermost in his mind and he opened up to us and you must understand that some communications are privileged, but suffice to say that the President is concerned and he intends to do something about our challenges.”
Also giving his perspective of the meeting, Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, hinted that the National Assembly had resolved to establish a committee for the periodic review of security issues in the country.
The Speaker, who expressed optimism that Nigerians would begin to see positive changes given the progress made in their discussion with the President, said; “We are talking, even just right now, we have gone on to set up a committee that will periodically review the issue of security.”
He explained that the review meeting which could take place “maybe once a month or once in six weeks, will involve the two arms of government and the party.”