The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday again failed to approve President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for the extension of state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states even after meeting with service chiefs for over five hours.
Though the Senate said that the extension of emergency rule was not tabled for discussion in yesterday’s meeting with the service chiefs, lawmakers, however, stated that the military insisted on a state of emergency to effectively carry out the war against insurgency.
Recall that the Red Chamber had begun debate on the request for the extension of emergency rule last Tuesday and Wednesday before resolving to get a proper briefing from heads of all the security agencies in the country.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen Kenneth Mininmah, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosun and the director-general of Department of State Services, Ita Ekpeyong, were present at the meeting. The inspector general of Police (IGP), Abba Suleiman, was absent. His representative, a Deputy Inspector-General, Operations, DIG Sotonye Makama, was earlier sent out by the senators, who insisted that Mr. Suleiman appeared in person.
Speaking after the security briefing, Senate President David Mark described discussions during the meeting as “robust”, with the focus being on the challenges and progress made by the Nigerian Armed Forces in the fight against insurgency.
Mark, however, announced that the invasion of the National Assembly by police last week and related matters would be discussed today in an open session, and thereafter, mandated the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Enyinnaya Abaribe, to brief journalists on the discussions held behind closed doors.
In his briefing, the senate spokesman said the interaction “was very, very frank and very detailed”, adding however, that Senate did not discuss the request of Mr President.
“We discussed the constraints of the Nigerian army in dealing with the insurgency. We also looked into the budgetary provision for them and what has been done so far in containing the insurgency and I can tell you the Senate was very, very impressed by the response from the military and, like I said, the military has shown itself to be capable of dealing with the insurgency.
“The fact that they are capable of dealing with the insurgency means that the Senate will do all it needs to within its power to support the military so that we can bring this insurgency to a quick resolution.
“We also found from their briefing that we have some problems which have to do with the troop levels and the level of equipment and, of course, all the other ancillary problems where you have to fight an asymmetrical war – not a formal conflict, and we are very glad that that the military is at this moment gearing up itself to be able to deal with this asymmetrical conflict in the north east of Nigeria. As of today, we can assure Nigerians that the military is up to the task of dealing with this matter”.
Sen. Abaribe, however, revealed that “the question of state of emergency was not what was on the table today (yesterday) and we are going to also wait until it is brought to the floor of the Senate before we discuss it”.