The National Assembly Joint Committee on Defence Thursday, held a closed door meeting with the Service Chiefs for five hours over the rising insecurity in the north east, occasioned by incessant attacks by Boko Haram.
After the meeting, the committee resolved to confer with President Goodluck Jonathan on how best to find lasting solution to the security challenge.
This also as the Senate Committee Chairman on Defence, Gorge Sekibo said that the Chief of Defence Staff confirmed one or two cities have been taking over by Boko-Haram sect.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the closed door meeting, Sekibo explained that the Chief of Defence Staff had briefed the two committees on the development in the North East adding that the meeting was necessary in view of the scary stories emanating from the area.
According to them, “We have heard several stories from the media, some of the stories, the local are also contributing to it, the military is countering them and somehow it has become difficult to know exactly what is happening in the country”.
“We’ve been hearing of stories of major cities in those three states being taken over by the insurgents. We’ve been hearing of stories of our armed forces being driven away from those areas. That is really scary!”
“We invited the CDS to get first hand information. From this meeting, it’s not as speculated. We have one or two places that the insurgents have a stronghold, but within few days, the Nigerian Armed Forces will take them back,” he said.
Senator Sekibo added that so far, more equipment have been procured to fight the insurgents, adding that the issue of soldiers’ morale being low will also be soon addressed, saying “Nigerian Armed Forces are capable of handling the situation.”
“We’ll report our outcome to both chambers and we’ll meet with Mr President. We believe that the armed forces will overcome this problem in no time,” he said.
On his own part, chairman House committee on Defence, Hon. Bashir Adamu explained the military only has budget of N300 billion contrary to N1 trillion reported in the media out of which about 75 percent is for recurrent expenditure.
He therefore advocated more funds for the military, especially with the security challenges facing the country, so that they could tackle insurgency head on.
He said as politicians, they would meet President Jonathan on the matter to discuss it extensively so that there would be lasting peace in the north east.
In his contribution, Senator Sani Saleh stated that what the nation was experiencing was a complete deterioration of the situation, so it is incumbent on us to find out why that deterioration.
According to him, “We’re having heard about our soldiers’ mutiny, it is also out responsibility to find out why that is happening”.
“For us to understand why that is happening, we need to go back to the Babangida era. After the 1990 Okar coup, the federal government of Nigeria systematically and comprehensively disarmed the military. All the tanks, all the artillery guns were disarmed and locked up”, he added.