Reps summon Buhari over killings by herdsmen, bandits
The House of Representatives on Thursday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to appear before it and address Nigerians on the spate of insecurity across the country.
The lower chamber of the National Assembly said failure by the President to explain the issues raised by the legislative house would confirm the opinion of Nigerians that the administration had failed in its responsibility to protect lives and property. This is part of the resolutions passed at the plenary when the lawmakers unanimously adopted a motion moved by the lawmaker representing Gwer-East/Gwer-West Federal Constituency in Benue State, Mr Mark Gbillah.
The motion was entitled, ‘Resurgence of the incessant and annual massacre of innocent Nigerians across the country by alleged bandits and killer herdsmen, the gradual occupation of affected communities by these attackers and the lack of adequate rehabilitation and relief materials.’ Adopting the motion, which was not debated, the lawmakers resolved to “request that the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to address the House and the entire nation within 48 hours.”
Buhari is expected to make some explanations to Nigerians on “his inability and the inability of his administration, since inception, to declare the killer herdsmen as terrorists, to enable the Armed Forces to take commensurate action against them. “The inability of the Armed Forces under his watch to stop the recurring death of scores of innocent Nigerians annually from systemic attacks by killer herdsmen and alleged bandits, and the gradual occupation of the affected communities by these herdsmen despite countless assurances and statements by him, promising to stop these attacks. “His selective and ineffective responses to the killing of Nigerians by herdsmen, especially when they occur in certain parts of the country like Benue State. “The immediate measures he intends to employ as the Commander-in-Chief to provide the Armed Forces, including the police, with the required resources (equipment and welfare, etc) to confront and dislodge the killer herdsmen from their known hideouts, establishment of permanent presence in immediate proximity to affected communities and provide a timeline within which these attacks by killer herdsmen and alleged bandits will be curtailed, so Nigerians can return to their ancestral homes and means of livelihood.”
The House further resolved to constitute an ad hoc committee to interface with the Presidency regarding the queries, while it would engage with the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Chief of Defence Staff and service chiefs, state governments and relevant stakeholders. The engagement, the lawmakers resolved, would be done “in a public hearing to determine permanent solutions to the killing of innocent Nigerians by killer herdsmen and alleged bandits, including the complicity of any Nigerian or group in the perpetration of these killings and land grabbing.”
Be ruthless with kidnappers, Buhari orders service chiefs
However, the President on Thursday said he had directed heads of security agencies in the country to clear the bandits killing innocent citizens in Zamfara State and neighbouring states immediately. He also ordered that kidnappers operating in all parts of the country should be given a similar treatment.
The President had met with service chiefs and heads of other security agencies behind closed doors specifically to address the Zamfara nightmare and the rising kidnapping incidents in the country. Thursday’s directives came five days after Operation Puff Adder, a security joint operation targeted at tackling banditry in Zamfara and kidnappings along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway, was launched.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin, spoke with journalists on what transpired at the meeting. He stated, “The security meeting we just had with Mr President today (Thursday), was to review the strategy that we are adopting in confronting security issues in Zamfara State especially and other places nationwide. “This review of strategy is to address all the issues, including kidnapping, banditry and other associated issues confronting the nation and we are coming out with a revised strategy to handle those challenges.”
Olonisakin said Buhari gave specific directives on what to be done in the days ahead. He explained, “Yes, the marching orders are for us to deal with this issue immediately and ruthlessly and ensure that all those bandits are immediately dealt with and all those issues that are bordering on our security are properly addressed.”
The PUNCH recalls that daring bandits lately had a free reign over Zamfara communities and in neighbouring Katsina State, killing villagers and setting houses ablaze without resistance. A shaken Zamfara State Governor, Mr Abdulaziz Yari, in his series of Save Our Souls trips to the Presidential Villa, to seek help, had disclosed that the sophisticated weapons used by the bandits were such that the police command and the army in the state could not match them.
Travellers now safe on Abuja-Kaduna Highway, IG claims
But the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, assured travellers that the Abuja-Kaduna Highway was safe for them to use. Adamu, who spoke after Thursday’s security meeting, claimed that the dreaded road became safe after security forces had several encounters with suspected kidnappers.
The IG said as a result, many kidnappers were either arrested or wounded in gun battles between them and security forces. “I want to assure Nigerians that the Kaduna-Abuja Road is now safe. We have cleared the road; we have arrested a lot of kidnappers and in confrontation with some of them, some were fatally injured. “So, the road is cleared. Our patrol teams, the combined security services that are patrolling the road, are constantly there, 24 hours,” he claimed.
Senate seeks freedom for Leah Sharibu
On its part, the Senate on Thursday asked the Federal Government to expedite action on the freedom of Leah Sharibu, the pupil of Science Secondary School Dapchi, Yobe State, who has been in captivity of the Boko Haram insurgents since February last year. The senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, drew the attention of his colleagues to Leah’s plight, through a point of order on Thursday, stressing the need to urge the Federal Government to expedite action on rescuing the girl.
Sani said, “Fourteen months of Leah Sharibu in the captivity of Boko Haram insurgents and five years of the yet-to-be-released Chibok girls call for national concern and urgent need by relevant authorities to do all within their powers in getting them released. “What perhaps may be the most important strategy to be adopted in getting Leah and others out of captivity is the option of dialogue with their abductors. “It has worked in so many other places where similar abductions took place like Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nations being terrorised by the Talibans. “Though government cannot be said not to have taken actions in getting Leah and others released, there is the need for it to redouble and expedite action in that direction.”
Sani’s motion was not subjected to debate because it was raised under self-explanation but the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in his remarks, said all efforts must be made by the Federal Government to get Leah and others released.