Senate holds talks with security chiefs over insecurity
…urges judiciary to fast-track trial of terrorists, oil thieves
The Senate on Monday met with the military and intelligence chiefs to review the progress made in the fight against insecurity in the country.
The Senate also tasked the judiciary on speedy trial of arrested militants, criminals, and terrorists to deter others from such crimes.
The meeting which was a follow-up to a similar one in August was presided over by Ahmad Lawan, the president of the Senate, and attended by other principal officers, and chairmen of security-related committees of the Senate.
Also in attendance were the chief of defence staff, the three service chiefs, the inspector general of police, directors-general of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Department of State Security (DSS) and commandant general of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps. The acting comptroller general of the Immigration Service was represented.
Lawan at the meeting expressed satisfaction with the progress being made in the fight against insecurity in the country by the armed forces and other security agencies.
He said before they went for the annual summer recess, members of the National Assembly had concerns about the security situation which they felt the Senate must engage with the security agencies.
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“I am happy that after that meeting, till today, we have seen remarkable difference in the fight against insecurity by our armed forces and other security agencies and we are proud of that.
“We pray that this continues because we have seen the initiative and it is for us to finish the job. When Mr President spoke of ensuring that we return to normalcy by December 2022, I’m sure he had in mind what you have been doing recently.
“While we fight the insecurity in the country, sometimes we capture bandits alive. Those who have made every effort to steal our oil at an industrial scale, I’m sure some of them may not be that lucky to escape.
“We want to see trials of people who are caught because when that happens, citizens will know that nobody, no matter how high that person is, can go scot-free if he or she decides to get involved in these criminal activities.
“Of course, I will appeal to our courts – judiciary – once we have cases like this, we must give expeditious consideration, because these are the issues that, today, are militating against our stability and even against our democracy.
“We lose so much of our oil. As at the last count, the report was that we export just little above 900,000 barrels. And that is just about 50 percent because it is supposed to be 1.8 million barrels per day and that is halving our revenues and our resources for development.
“So I want to appeal to the judiciary to give special consideration once a suspected oil thief is taken to court. We must prosecute them. It is not enough to just take away whatever they have stolen and say go and sin no more.”
Lawan also appealed to the security chiefs to take them (lawmakers) into confidence during the closed door session.
“We are responsible people. There are things that we know are very sensitive but some things are treated better when we are on the same page so that we also don’t legislate blind folded or without the necessary background information.
“Where there are requests or requirements to enhance the capacity and the competence for armed forces and other security agencies, I think we should consider that as a priority as well,” the Senate president said.