Military Involvement In Civil Duties Alarming – Dogara


…Says security agencies must account for funds released to them

BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has said rather than complement civil authorities in maintaining law and order in the country, the Nigerian Armed Forces have now become civil authorities on their own, carrying out routine duties of the police. 

Dogara also said that with the deployment of the Armed Forces to more than 28 States of the Federation in peacetime, it is clear that Nigeria is effectively and permanently in a state of emergency.

The Speaker, who made the remarks at a capacity/ Interactive Needs Assessment Workshop of Security Sector Related Committees in the House of Representatives, organised in collaboration with Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, noted that it is no longer acting in aid of civil authorities but has become the civil authority itself.

The Speaker said that Section 217 of the 1999

Constitution spells out the duties and responsibilities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, which includes – defending Nigeria from external aggression; maintaining Nigeria’s territorial integrity and securing our borders from violation from a Land, Sea or Air; suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the President.

Speaking on the resolve of the National Assembly to ensure that all funds allocated for security purposes are judiciously used and accounted for, the Speaker said; “Related to the constitutional powers of the National Assembly to appropriate funds and thereby allocate funds for security is the power to ensure that such monies or funds appropriated are used in a transparent and accountable manner and for the purpose for which they have been given.

“The National Assembly’s powers of legislative oversight cannot therefore be overemphasized.” He said in line with parliamentary best practices, the House has constituted Standing Committees specially mandated to oversight agencies in the security sector which include the House Committee on Defence, House Committees on Army, Navy, AirForce and House Committees on Police and also National Intelligence.  

He further said; “We realize that a fundamental practice in advanced democracies around the world is that security sector institutions submit to democratic governance and I believe that these Committees are committed to fully exercising their mandate to ensure that not only are these institutions held accountable, but also that that they are strengthened to ensure a secure and stable Nigerian environment that is favourable to investment and sustainable economic development”.

While acknowledging the security challenges in the country, Dogara assured that the House will continue to come up with legislative measures and oversight mechanisms to address such challenges.

According to him; “This past experience which saw a powerful military exercise absolute control and authority over the machinery of government has translated to the current challenge of getting these institution to subject itself to legislative scrutiny.

“The often seen consequence of this is inadequate and inefficient delivery of security to citizens, as well as lack of accountability and transparency as it relates to security expenditure. The House has consequently, recently amended the Public Procurement Act to make the Armed Forces more accountable in procurement matters.”

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